|Two years after a disastrous train derailment in Bridgeport, Connecticut injured more than 70 passengers, several victims have filed lawsuits against the railroad.
The Hartford Courant reports that more than 32 lawsuits have been filed against the MTA Metro-North Railroad since the accident. State laws mandate that personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date in which the injuries occurred. As a result, the federal court in Connecticut has been inundated with filings over the past few months.
More than 70 people were injured, some severely, when a Metro-North train went off the tracks and crashed into another train on the opposite side on May 17th, 2013. The lawsuits maintain that MTA Metro-North Railroad neglected to properly repair and maintain the tracks that caused the derailment.
Some of the passengers involved in the suits have suffered serious injuries “permanent in nature,” according to personal injury attorney Joel Faxon. Faxon’s clients, Elizabeth and Peter Sorensen, sued the railroad a week after the accident. Elizabeth suffered serious fractures to her legs, arms, and pelvis, and as a result had to undergo surgery several times. She also suffered from brain trauma, having been tossed around the interior of the train car when it crashed.
MTA Metro-North Railroad has already settled some of the lawsuits levied against it, but according to Faxon, that is not enough. Faxon feels the railroad is “actively trying to settle the cases” because it realizes it has a weak defense. The joint bar that caused the derailment, for instance, was cracked. Though the bar was replaced a few weeks before the crash, it was not inspected and maintained in accordance with railroad standards.
“You can’t have a train that doesn’t have a track,” he said.
In addition to the lawsuits involving the 2013 crash, MTA Metro-North Railroad is facing another lawsuit regarding an accident in February that lead to the deaths of six people. The family of Ellen Bordy is suing the railroad for improperly maintaining the rail crossings. Brody was struck and killed by a train as she was trying to cross the tracks in her SUV. Five passengers on the train were killed as well.
“This horrific accident was not the fault of Ellen Brody,” said Philip Russotti, the family’s attorney. “It was due to a confluence of circumstances existing at the crossing which failed to meet standards of railroad crossing signage throughout this country, and which obviously prevented Mrs. Brody from having the knowledge necessary to protect herself.”
Russotti is just one of the approximately 150,000 personal injury attorneys practicing in the United States today, according to a report by IBIS World.