Who is Liable in Metro Train Accidents in New Jersey?

By Greg Kohn

Metro trains can cause traumatic injuries and fatalities when they derail or collide with another train, vehicles, or train stations. Victims of metro train accidents often sustain substantial financial losses because of the physical injuries from a metro train accident. Victims also suffer great emotional and mental anguish because of the accidents. Who is liable for these damages? A New Jersey mass transit accident attorney can help you answer this question.

Investigating the Cause of a Metro Train Accident

Determining the party or parties liable for damages sustained because of a metro train begins with determining the cause of the accident. There are many causes of train accidents, and an accident may involve several different factors.

Some common causes of metro train accidents include:

  • Human factors
  • Collisions
  • Equipment failure or malfunction
  • Track problems
  • Derailments
  • Signal problems

It is common for metro companies, government agencies, and other parties to blame each other for the cause of the train accident. Investigating the cause of the crash is a crucial step in building a case for fault and liability. Even though local, state, and federal agencies may conduct investigations to determine the cause of the crash, an experienced New Jersey metro accident attorney conducts an independent investigation to ensure evidence is preserved, and all parties with potential liability for the accident are identified.

Some of the steps taken during a metro train accident investigation include:

  • Interviewing eyewitnesses and other parties involved in the accident
  • Photograph and video the accident scene, train, and equipment
  • Obtaining copies of reports from government agencies, including the NTSB report, FRA report, and reports from local agencies
  • Surveying the collision site and track area
  • Obtain the full history and background of each employee working at the time of the accident or involved in the train’s maintenance or operations
  • Obtain safety records for all parties involved
  • Obtain information from the train’s black box or ECM (Electronic Control Module)
  • Consult a train accident reconstruction expert

An attorney digs deep into the accident and the history of the parties involved to discover who is truly responsible for the metro train accident.

Liability for a Metro Train Accident

Once the cause of the accident is established, we can determine who is liable for damages arising from the accident. Depending on the factors involved in the accident, one or more parties may be named in a metro train accident lawsuit. Parties that may be responsible for a metro accident include:

  • Engineers, conductors, and other employees
  • Railroad and metro companies
  • Government agencies or entities
  • Manufacturers, suppliers, or distributors of trains, parts, and equipment
  • Owner of the railroad tracks or station
  • Entities or companies responsible for maintenance of the train, tracks, equipment, stations, or the areas surrounding tracks, crossings, and stations

Identifying the liable parties is important because you can only obtain compensation for damages from a party who was responsible in some way for causing the metro train accident.

However, it is also important because the laws and rules for filing a claim and lawsuit involving a government agency or entity are different from claims against other parties. In most cases, deadlines are much shorter in cases involving government entities. A New Jersey metro accident attorney can be of great assistance in avoiding errors related to cases involving government agencies or entities.

Contact a New Jersey Mass Transit Accident Attorney for Help

If you are injured in a metro train accident in New Jersey, you may need to act quickly to protect your legal right to receive compensation for your injuries. Schedule a consultation with our New Jersey mass transit accident lawyers today to discuss your options for filing an injury claim.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.