Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Friday, February 17, 2017

Engineer Escapes Criminal Prosecution in Fatal New York Train Crash and Joins Victims List

Q: Is it possible to cause an accident, but also be a victim?

When a train accident occurs and leaves personal injury and wrongful death victims in its wake, people want answers and accountability. Very often, fingers initially point to the engineer when mechanical failures or track problems are apparently not involved.

But what if the engineer is merely another victim?

In December, 2013 a Metro North train took a turn at 82 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, causing the train to fly off the tracks. The derailment caused the death of four people and injured about 70 others. Early indications pointed to the engineer falling asleep at the controls as the cause of the accident.

Since that time, a medical investigation revealed that the 20-year veteran engineer suffers from a previously undiagnosed sleep disorder and that the medical condition known as sleep apnea caused him to fall asleep at the controls. Prosecutors did not proceed with a criminal prosecution.

As a result of the accident, the engineer alleges he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and "severe and permanently disabling injuries” to his left shoulder. Recently, the Pension Disability Medical Review Board ruled that the PTSD renders him unable to perform his function as a railroad engineer. This ruling makes him eligible to receive his $3200 per month for life disability pension from Metro North, which is in addition to his undisclosed sum “federal railroad retirement pension”.

The engineer also recently filed a pending $10 million federal lawsuit against the railroad, blaming the crash on the railroad due to its alleged failure to install an automatic braking mechanism that could have prevented the crash and its resulting deaths and injuries to passengers, including him.

When a person is injured in an accident that was not their fault and was due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions of another person or entity, they may be entitled to recover damages in a personal injury action. Compensatory damages may include such things as medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and even punitive damages, depending on the circumstances of the claim.

If you've been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, it's important to get an experienced personal injury attorney on your side as soon as possible. Do not accept any insurance settlement without an attorney reviewing your case. Insurance companies are in business to save money and may offer you far less than your claim is worth. Since 1998, The Goldstein Firm in Bronx, New York, has helped accident victims and their families recover compensation for their suffering. Contact us today at 718-239-0239 for a free consultation.

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