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All Press Releases for December 04, 2013 »
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Bronx Train Derailment Kills 4, Injures More Than 60 Others

A Metro North train filled with holiday travelers and weekend commuters derailed in the Bronx over Thanksgiving weekend, leaving at least 4 passengers dead and more than 60 injured in the violent crash.
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One of New York's Premier Personal Injury Law Firms

    NEW YORK, NY, December 04, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A Metro North train filled with holiday travelers and weekend commuters derailed in the Bronx over Thanksgiving weekend, leaving at least 4 passengers dead and more than 60 injured in the violent crash. The lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy offer their perspective on this horrible tragedy below.

Most importantly, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and those close to them. A catastrophic accident like this obviously impacts those directly involved. Their lives may never be the same. It also has a devastating impact on their loved ones as they mourn their loss or try to create an environment where the victims who survived can begin to heal physically and emotionally. We wish them all a fast and meaningful recovery.

Also, we would be remiss if we did not recognize the heroic efforts of the first responders. They truly are the best in the world at what they do. This tragedy could have been far worse without their determination. Our brave first responders consistently show up at a scene of horrors when others are running away.

The M.T.A. has a recent history of frightening mishaps. Sunday's tragic crash follows a series of seemingly senseless problems on the Hudson line. How many calamaties need to occur before the infrastructure is safely secured? Will consumer confidence ever truly return?

In May of 2013, a passenger train in Bridgeport collided with another train resulting in more than 50 injuries. Weeks after that, a track foreman was killed when he was struck by a train. Over the Summer, in a location that is very close to this weekend's derailment, a freight train derailed. Lastly, in September 2012, a power outage resulted in weeks of failed operation. Can anyone truly be confident in the Metro North infrastructure and operation?

What are a injured passenger's rights? A passenger that is injured on a train can bring an action for their personal injuries, medical expenses and lost wages. In order to be successful, an injured passenger must establish that the wrongdoer, presumably the M.T.A and Metro North in this case, failed to make reasonable efforts to keep them safe or that the train was operated in an unsafe way. This would involve proving either that the rails were not safe and that the M.T.A. knew or should have known that there was a problem or showing that the operator did not act reasonably under the circumstances. This is an undertaking that requires skill, experience and determination. Anyone seeking to protect their rights should do so as soon as it is reasonable under the circumstances. Many things change over time during an investigation as critical as this one.

What will be crucial in this investigation? There are many things to scrutinize. This is a list of some of the things to look for:

The black box. It will show data about the speed of the train leading up to the derailment. This may be the best evidence of what caused this accident. Many people talk about the black box, few actually understand how it works and what it can show. The lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have used black box data in train, car and truck accident investigations.

The N.T.S.B Investigation. The agency entrusted with the responsibility of this investigation is an authoritative voice when it comes to train accidents. Their investigations are thorough, revealing and usually lets you know who is at fault and why. They have a history of telling it like it is; no matter who it hurts.

The statements of the train operator. William Rockefeller, a 46 year old, has been operating trains for 20 years. He claimed the accident was due to brake failure. Time will tell if his version of events remains consistent and whether it stands up when compared with all the other data. If he is accurate, there will be an extensive analysis conducted by the N.T.S.B that will point us in the right direction so we will know how and why this happened. If he failed to provide a precise rendition of what happened, he will have a great deal of explaining to do and may have some criminal exposure.

Was this turn near the Spuyten Duyvil Station a safe one? There is some history of past problems with trains making this turn. A seasoned investigation of the design at this turn may be revealing. Were there prior complaints from operators? Any M.T.A. studies conducted about the safety of this turn? Any internal recommendations about the appropriate speed while making the turn? Answers may also be found after a experienced investigator examines the number and the scope of prior accidents at or near this location.

This is a tragedy. How the M.T.A. and Metro North move forward plays a major role in how our society functions. So many people depend on the safety and relaibility of our infrastructure. Right now, consumer confidence has to be at an all-time low. Rightly so, the M.T.A. needs to get this right and do it soon so people will feel comfortable traveling. As for the helpless victims and their loved ones, we hope what they endured compels the M.T.A. to act and act fast, making sure this doesn't happen again.

Block O'Toole & Murphy is one of New York's premier personal injury firms. They have a team of accomplished, experienced lawyers that have a track record of success in handling serious personal injury cases, including more than $700,000,000 in verdicts and settlements. They have successfully represented train accident victims in the past, including a $3,925,000 result for an injured man. Equally as important, they are a law firm that cares about the people they represent and make it a priority that every client feels like their case is the only one in the office. To learn more about these attorneys, please see For a free consultation, you can call them at 212.736.5300.

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