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Legal Claims Follow in Wake of New York Commuter Train Accident

On December 1, 2013, drowsy passengers on a Metro-North commuter train nearing New York City were jarred awake by screams and tumbling rail cars as the train derailed just north of the Spuyten Duyvil train station. The devastating wreck left four people dead and more than 70 injured.

According to the preliminary report prepared by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), passenger train 8808 originated at Poughkeepsie, with a destination of Grand Central Station in New York City. There were seven passenger cars with a locomotive pushing the train of cars from behind.

In the days after the accident, representatives of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees (ACRE) held a press conference where the following information was revealed:

  • Train engineer William Rockefeller dozed off as the train approached the curve leading toward the Spuyten Duyvil station.
  • NTSB officials estimate the train was travelling at 82 miles per hour in a 30-mph speed zone.
  • The ACRE union representative stated Mr. Rockefeller woke up and responded to the emergency but the derailment occurred six seconds later.

Since that time, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency has received notice of legal claims to be filed. Prior to the derailment, no accident-related passenger deaths had occurred on the Metro-North line.

Legal claims for death and injury caused in the accident will focus on regulatory jurisdiction, human error and mechanical failure. While the engineer admitted falling asleep, safety measures that would have alerted Mr. Rockefeller were not installed in the front car from where he operated the train.

If you or a family member suffers catastrophic injury in a train or other accident, speak with an experienced New York injury attorney for reputable, experienced legal counsel.

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