Train accidents are infrequent, thank God, but when one occurs the results are often catastrophic. The recent Metro-North accident is an example.
There are a host of complexities that come with the possibility of a lawsuit against a major publically owned railroad line like Metro-North. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority or MTA, chartered by the New York State legislature back in 1965, owns and operates the rail line.
If one were intending to sue as the result of a train accident there are several things that you would need to know.
Regarding a claim against the MTA there is a 90 day limit to file a document called Intention to Make Claim. For Metro-North there is no Notice of Claim provision but you must file a demand for resolution within one year of the accident.
The Statute of Limitations would be one year in the case of injuries other than death and extended to two years in the case of a fatality.
With regard to an AMTRAK accident, because AMTRAK is a Federally owned and operated train line, one would have to bring a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act and that would by law be brought in Federal Court. A person could bring an action in Federal Court in Manhattan, but because often the accident does not take place in New York State, the law of the state where the accident happened is applied and not New York law.
A Federal train worker that is injured on the job is not covered by Worker’s Compensation, they are covered by FELA the Federal Employees Labor Act. It is different than Worker’s Comp because you can sue your employer in this case the railroad whereas in traditional Worker’s Comp you cannot.
Any time an individual is intending to bring a lawsuit, they should make sure that the firm they retain is experienced and knowledgeable in the complicated world of train accident litigation. We hope it never happens but when it does, the law firm of Dansker & Aspromonte stands ready to help.