Archive for May, 2013

Metro-North Train Accident Injures 72 People; Broken Rail May Be a Factor

The Metro-North derailment and crash that injured 72 people on May 17 remains under investigation, and officials are examining a fractured section of rail as a possible cause. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived a day after the accident and planned to be on the site between 7 to 10 days. According to media reports, the investigators will look at the brakes and performance of the trains, the condition of the tracks, crew performance and train signal information, among other things.

Our Bridgeport train accident attorneys know that railroad accidents can often lead to very serious injuries and result in significant legal complications. That’s why it is important for any passengers or train employees who were injured in the collision to contact a personal injury lawyer serving Bridgeport, Fairfield and all of Connecticut. Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli promptly to learn about your legal options. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1

According to a report in Newsday, Anthony Bottalico, the general chairman of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, said the cars involved in the crash (called M8 models) were introduced in 2011. However, the tracks on sections of the New Haven Line are older jointed rails, which Bottalico said are bolted together and prone to cracking. He said most modern railroads, including the rest of the Metro-North system, use “ribbon rail,” also known as continuously welded rail.

Condition of Rails Considered in Metro-North Train Accident Investigation

While it’s still early in the investigation, the condition and age of the rails may be a key factor in determining liability. A day after the crash, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener told the Washington Post that a broken rail is being studied to determine if it is linked to the accident. He said he wasn’t sure if the accident caused the fracture or if the rail was damaged before to the crash.

The Metro-North train, which was headed east from New York, derailed on May 17 and was hit by a train headed west from New Haven, according to media reports. At the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. We understand this was a devastating and frightening accident for all involved, and fortunately no one was killed. As of May 19, nine of the injured remained in hospitals, according Newsday.

Fortunately for people living in Connecticut and New York who rely on Metro North, significant train accidents are fairly rare occurrences. The last major train collision involving Metro North occurred in 1988. A train engineer was killed in Mount Vernon, N.Y., when one train with no passengers rear-ended another train, railroad officials told Newsday.

If you were injured in the Metro-North train collision in Fairfield/Bridgeport, protect your rights. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or complete the online contact form to reach the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. We have several office locations in Connecticut, including one at 376 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, 06511.

Connecticut Traffic Accidents and the Risk of Driving with Pets

For children, families and seniors, a pet can be an important part of the family and a daily companion. Many seniors who live on their own outside of nursing homes or residential communities have pets and studies have even shown that having a dog can extend your life for as long as seven years. Unfortunately, however, new data shows that bringing your pet in the car can be very dangerous. This is true for people of all ages, but especially for senior citizens.

Our New Haven, CT accident attorneys know that bringing a pet in the car with you can be a distraction, especially if the pet is on your lap or is unrestrained in the vehicle. Now, a recent study shows that a pet in the car with you can significantly increase your accident risk.

Pets are a Dangerous Distraction

Highway safety advocates advise that it is dangerous for a driver to look away from the road for more than two seconds. This means that anything in your car that causes you to look away for longer than two seconds will increase the chances of a traffic crash occurring. Cell phones are one of the most common distractions and a lot of attention is paid to talking and texting as a primary cause of preventable traffic collisions. However, having a pet in the car can also cause you to look away for at least two seconds.

For seniors, any type of distraction in the car that causes an increase in cognitive or physical workload can be risky because older drivers have slower response times and cognitive performance than younger drivers. This means that while a pet in the car can be risky for anyone, the situation is even worse for a senior who will take longer to focus again after being distracted and who will be slower to respond if something unexpected happens on the road.

To get more information on how a pet in the car might affect a senior’s car accident risk, researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham interviewed more than 2,000 seniors who lived on their own rather than in a nursing home or assisted living community.  NBC News reported that a total of 691 of the seniors who were interviewed had pets, and more than half with animal companions said they took their pets with them at least occasionally when driving. When pets went along for the ride, they usually sat either in the front passenger seat or on the back seat.

These pet co-pilots unfortunately had a major impact on whether a senior would be involved in an accident In fact, the crash rate for seniors who had a pet in the car was around double the accident rate of those who had no pets or who said that they never drove with pets.

This data shows that seniors need to be very careful when traveling with animals. Restraining the animals properly in the vehicle could be one important way to reduce the accident risk.

Most people–including 83 percent of the seniors surveyed–agree that riding with an unrestrained animal is dangerous. Yet, only 16 percent of those who traveled with their pets said they used restraints. If more seniors would crate or otherwise secure their animals when driving, then there may not be such an increase in the accident risk associated with traveling with a four-legged member of the family.

Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli, by calling  1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or 100 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105.