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Railroad Accident Lawyer

RR crossing freight trainRailroad accident attorneys serving New York and northern NJ, including Passaic, Hudson, Essex, Morris, Middlesex, and Bergen County.

The force of the average freight train hitting a car is equivalent to the force of the same car hitting a soda can – to say it’s “no contest” is an understatement. This is especially troubling considering that, according to rail safety education group Operation Lifesaver, an individual or vehicle is hit by a train in the U.S. every three hours. In 2013 alone, 2087 highway-rail collisions occurred across the country, with 251 fatalities and nearly a thousand reported injuries.

If you have been injured in a train accident, either as the occupant of a motor vehicle at a crossing, as a railroad company employee, or as a train passenger, you may be entitled to hold the parties responsible for the accident liable in court. Compensation in these cases is often substantial, and can cover a lifetime of medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and in the tragic case of losing a loved one, funeral expenses and wrongful death damages.

New Jersey train accident lawyers with a track record of success

The NJ personal injury lawyers at Eisbrouch Marsh have over 25 years of experience aggressively representing victims of car, truck and rail accidents in the Tri-State area, including Hackensack, Paramus, Bergen County, and all of northern New Jersey.

We have obtained numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients. If you have been injured because of a train accident involving NJ Transit Light Rail, Amtrak, Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road or other train line, contact us today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We will comprehensively review the circumstances of your accident, outline all of your legal options, and advise you as to best and quickest route to justice and fair compensation. State statutes of limitation allow only a small window of time in which to file a railroad accident lawsuit in New Jersey, so call Eisbrouch Marsh today at: 201-561-8366.

Liability for a railroad accident may lie with any or all of the following:

  • Railroad company that operates the train
  • Entity that owns and maintains the train tracks
  • Designers of the train
  • Manufacturer of the train
  • City, town or county responsible for the maintenance of the roads around the crossing
  • Negligent motorists

The railroad company has a legal responsibility to operate their trains safely. Specifically, the railroad is obliged to perform a number of duties which, if breached through negligence, may expose them to legal liability. These duties include properly training its employees, including conductors, engineers and maintenance workers. The railroad company is also responsible for ensuring that all train crew members are healthy and alert enough to perform their duties, and are not under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or excessive fatigue. Additionally, the railroad company may face liability if train crew members failed to follow regulations when sounding the train’s warning whistle, or in traveling over the speed limit.

The company that owns the train does not always own the track. Track owners are exclusively responsible for the proper function of crossing gates and warning lights and eliminating any visual obstacles for motorists.

The designer or manufacturer of a train may be held liable for any injuries, losses or deaths stemming from the malfunction of train horns, computer navigation systems, brakes, car couplings, or crew-passenger communication systems.

Finally, motorists whose negligence or misconduct – such as disregarding crossing gates and transversing the tracks at an unsafe time – causes a train accident may be held liable for damages sustained by train passengers or crew during the ensuing crash.

New Jersey railroad accident statistics

According to government statistics, 96% of all train accidents occur at highway-railroad crossings. Each year since 2006 has seen 2,261 railroad crossing accidents a year and 273 fatalities a year, on average throughout the country.

Recent headline-grabbing rail accidents verify these figures, such as the Metro-North Railroad crash in the Westchester, NY town of Valhalla in February 2015, in which 6 died and many more were seriously injured after a passenger train collided with an SUV in the crossing, causing a catastrophic explosion and sending the electrified third rail tearing through the first train car.

The accident was only the latest in a series of Metro-North train disasters, which left 12 people dead in only a single calendar year. An investigation headed by the National Transportation Safety Board into the failure of Metro-North safety procedures found, according the the New York Times, “lapses in maintenance and oversight” which NY Senator Charles Schumer more bluntly described as a “horror house of negligence.” Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy referred to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Metro-North’s main overseer, as less interested in safeguarding passengers and train workers and “more interested in facilitating the cutting of corners.”

Statistics released by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reveal that in 2013 alone there were 250 highway-rail crossing deaths in the U.S. New York had the dubious honor of ranking 7th highest among all states with 9 railroad crossing deaths that year, while New Jersey ranked 13th with 6 crossing grade deaths.

The total number of railroad accidents in New Jersey from 2006 to 2014 was an alarmingly high 5,395.

Statistical breakdown of NJ train accidents between 2006 and 2014:

  • 171 fatalities
  • 125 trespasser deaths
  • 462 train accident injuries
  • 40 collisions
  • 228 derailments
  • 318 highway-rail incidents
  • 32 highway-rail incident deaths

NJ Transit trains are no strangers to railroad crossing accidents. In a 5 year period, NJ Transit reported 42 accidents involving vehicles or pedestrians that navigated around closed crossing gates. Data shows that there were 2 train-car crossing deaths in 2011 involving NJ Transit, including a crash at the 8th Avenue crossing in Belmar and a collision at the Monmouth Avenue crossing in Spring Lake. In that same year, there were there were three additional non-fatal collisions between NJ Transit trains and vehicles that negligently crossed beyond the track barriers. A total of 11 railroad crossing accidents were reported that year involving NJ Transit trains, with 7 reported in 2012, and 13 in 2013, and 9 in 2014.

Consult with a NJ railroad accident lawyer

Victims of collisions between trains and cars often do not survive the accident, while survivors of these crashes may suffer devastating injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, paralysis, severe 2nd & 3rd degree burns, and more. If you have endured injuries such as these, or the tragic death of a loved one, as the result of a railroad crossing accident or other train-related incident in New Jersey, we invite you to contact the Bergen County personal injury attorneys at Eisbrouch Marsh today for a free case evaluation.

We know that at this difficult time the last thing on your mind is a lawsuit, but we can take the burden of litigation off your shoulders so that you and your family can focus on your emotional and physical recovery. We serve all five boroughs of New York City, as well as Westchester, Long Island, and Passaic, Hudson, Essex, Morris, Bergen and Middlesex counties. We charge no fees unless we obtain a verdict or settlement on your behalf. Call our New Jersey train accident attorneys today at 201-561-8366.

  1. NJ.com, A fatal trend: N.J. train deaths have increased since state launched safety initiative, http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/08/deaths_on_nj_train_tracks_increase_since_state_launched_safety_initiative.html
  2. New York Times, Investigation Underway in Metro-North Train Crash, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/nyregion/metro-north-train-crash.html?ref=nyregion
  3. New York Times, Metro-North and Railroad Regulators Are Criticized on Safety, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/nyregion/metro-north-and-railroad-regulators-are-criticized-on-safety.html?_r=0
  4. Operation Lifesaver, Latest Rail Safety Statistics, http://oli.org/about-us/news/statistics
  5. Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Safety Analysis, http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/default.aspx