A Metro train accident can result in significant property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. When so many people are affected by a Metro train accident, they all have one question -- who can be held liable for their property damage, injuries, and losses that they have incurred as a result?

Common Causes of Metro Train Accidents

A Metro train accident may involve a derailment, a collision with another train, vehicle, or with a fixed object. Passengers and bystanders may also be hit or crushed by Metro trains. These accidents may arise from any number of causes, including:

  • Human error, including carelessness, distraction, fatigue, or intoxication
  • Track problems, including defects, improper installation, or unrepaired damage.
  • Train equipment malfunctions, which may result from design/manufacturing defects or from inadequate or improper maintenance.
  • Signal problems, including electrical problems or software errors that cause the system to fail to give signals or to give wrong signals.

Investigating a Metro Train Accident

There are numerous local, state, and federal agencies involved in the operation of Metro trains and the track systems that they run on. Transit authorities and governments may all point the finger at one another for causing a Metro train accident. As a result, it may become necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of a Metro train accident to determine the true cause of the accident and identify the party or parties that can be held responsible for damage and injuries caused by the accident.

Steps in an investigation of a Metro train accident may include:

  • Surveying the accident site, taking photos and video of details of the scene.
  • Conducting a mechanical, electrical, and software analysis of all equipment involved, including train locomotives or cars, track switches, and signal equipment. 
  • Reviewing data from the train’s electronic control module, or “black box”.
  • Interviewing witnesses, including train engineers and conductors, passengers, and bystanders.
  • Reviewing accident reconstruction reports drafted by federal agencies such as the FRA or NTSB, by the transit agencies’ own inspectors, or by private accident reconstruction firms hired by interested parties. 

Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Metro Train Accident?

If the evidence from the accident can be pieced together to determine how the accident occurred, it is usually possible to identify the party or parties that were responsible for causing the accident. In many cases, more than one party bears responsibility for the damage and injuries caused by a Metro train accident. Potentially liable parties may include:

  • Train engineers and conductors
  • Transit agency employees
  • The transit agencies themselves
  • State, local, or federal governments
  • Owners of the track or station where the accident occured, which may be the transit agency, a state government, Amtrak, or a private railroad company
  • Companies responsible for constructing and maintaining track, trains, and equipment such as signals and switches
  • Manufacturers of equipment involved in the accidents, including locomotives, train cars, track, switches, and signals, or manufacturers of defective components used in those equipment.

Determining liability for a Metro train accident is critical because bringing a claim against governments or public agencies involves following strict notice rules; failing to follow these rules can result in the loss of your claim to compensation.

Contact a Rochelle Park Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Train Accident Case in New Jersey

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a train accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm represent clients injured because of train accidents in Jersey City, Union City, Bayonne, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey. Call (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.