Connecticut Metro-North Train Accident Lawyer

On February 14, 2023, a Metro-North train came to a “crashing halt,” according to ABC News, after it “ran off the end of the track and derailed in Connecticut….”

Fortunately, only the train engineer and conductor were on board at the time and were not seriously hurt in the collision. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

In June 2023, for instance, a New York-bound Metro-North train collided with a pickup truck in Norwalk. The pickup was pushed several hundred feet, and both vehicles stopped in the Devine Brothers yard located at 38 Commerce Street. The 20 passengers on the train were not injured, but the pickup driver was seriously hurt and taken to the hospital.

Passenger rail service in Connecticut consists of three main lines: the New Haven Line, Shore Line East, and the Hartford Line. The New Haven Line is operated by Metro-North Railroad. Metro-North is an independent subsidiary of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a public authority of the state of New York. The New Haven Line serves customers between New Haven and Grand Central Terminal in NYC, including New Haven, Waterbury, Bridgeport, Danbury, New Canaan, and Stamford.

Although the Connecticut Metro-North Line is usually safe, accidents can happen, with traumatic outcomes for passengers and sometimes for pedestrians and others near a crash. According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), trains collided with 30 pedestrians and nine motor vehicles between 2017 and May 2022.

At Chaffin Luhana, our mission is to win compensation on behalf of Metro-North train accident victims to help make them whole again. When we take on your case, we put our decades of national experience to work fighting for you and your family.

The Connecticut Metro-North Train

Connecticut’s busiest commuter rail service is the New Haven Line (NHL), which operates between New Haven, Connecticut, and Grand Central Terminal in New York City. It consists of the New Haven Main Line and three branch lines in New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury.

The State of Connecticut owns the NHL tracks, and the Metro-North Railroad operates them. According to CTDOT, it has been “the most heavily traveled commuter rail line in the country.” The New Haven Line service carries 115,000 passengers per weekday and makes over 33 million trips per year. Out of those total daily commuters, about 80,000 originate from Connecticut traveling to in-state or New York destinations.

The line also serves as a critical link along Amtrack’s Northeast Corridor (NEC), providing connections between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Stamford, New Haven, and Boston. Metro-North is responsible for the upkeep of the line, including service and maintenance.

CTDOT does have a System Safety Program in place, however, that identifies the staff and/or procedures required to maintain it. Specifically, the plan addresses fire protection, inspection and testing, maintenance and repair of equipment, employee training and qualification, system modifications, configuration management, internal safety management assessment, and the safety certification process.

CTDOT has also implemented a security program in cooperation with Metro-North Railroad, Amtrak, and other federal, state, and local partners. Priorities include increasing public awareness of security issues, improving emergency preparedness, and investing in capital projects that enhance security.

People who ride the Metro-North train expect to be safe while on their journeys. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Recently, there have been several incidents that have resulted in injuries and fatalities.

Metro-North Train Accidents and Fatalities

On May 17, 2013, two Metro-North trains collided in Bridgeport, Connecticut, injuring at least 65 people, including three crew members.

The first train had departed Grand Central Terminal in New York City and was headed toward New Haven, Connecticut. It derailed on the New Haven Line Subdivision 7. It was then struck by a westbound Metro-North train that had departed New Haven and was bound for the Grand Central Terminal in NYC.

At the time of the derailment, investigators found a pair of broken compromise joint bars on the north rail of main track 4. These are used to join two rails of different sizes. Investigators found that they contained “fatigue cracks” that would make them more prone to breakage and that they were mismatched—something that should have been noticed by an inspector.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the derailment was that undetected broken pair of compromised joint bars resulting from, among other things, Metro-North’s decisions to defer scheduled track maintenance.

There have been other accidents on the Metro-North Connecticut lines. In May 2013, a 52-year-old track foreman was killed in West Haven when a student rail controller mistakenly opened a work site to train traffic. In May 2021, a man died after falling from a Metro-North train between Westport and East Norwalk. And in October 2022, a Metro-North train struck a tractor-trailer in Waterbury, injuring nine people.

Accidents like these are not common, but they can be devastating for those involved. Serious injuries can take months or even years to heal, and meanwhile, victims may not be able to work or perform their regular daily duties.

What Causes Metro-North Train Incidents?

There are many reasons why a train accident may occur. The following are some of the most common.

Lack of Maintenance

Rail lines must be consistently maintained to operate correctly. If transit companies miss repair deadlines, that can cause functional errors and increase the risk of injuries to passengers. Poor maintenance occurs when companies or transit authorities fail to check all components and areas, or when they use incorrect or low-quality parts to replace faulty ones.

The rail system has many moving parts and is used by millions of people. Weather exposure can wear down parts of the system if they are not regularly checked and repaired. Snow and ice can build up on the tracks, increasing the risk of an accident.


A derailment occurs when the train leaves its tracks accidentally. This is one of the most dangerous events that can occur on a train. Broken tracks are the most common cause of this type of incident, though faulty or broken crossties—as well as compromised joint bars, as mentioned in the accident above—may also be to blame.

A derailment is highly dangerous because once the wheels leave the track, the train is likely to crash into the surrounding tunnel walls. This can cause extensive destruction and severe injuries and fatalities.

Debris on the Track

Railway tracks are prone to debris accumulation. The MTA and other train operators have a duty of care to remove any objects from the tracks before they can cause damage to the train or injure passengers. If this is not done in a timely and efficient manner, the entity may be held liable for injuries that occur because of debris.

Criminal Activity

Inadequate security may allow criminals to enter the train or train station with deadly weapons. The owner of the railway system is responsible for putting up measures like security guards and detection systems to prevent criminals from harming passengers.

Operational Mistakes

Sometimes, a train operator makes mistakes, as in the incident mentioned above with the student rail controller. He or she may be distracted, inexperienced, or even drunk or high.

Computer Failures

Most train operations today are controlled by sophisticated computer software. This helps automate the system and typically makes it safer. But computer errors can result in severe accidents. That’s because the software often controls things like how the tracks change directions when a train should stop, and what speed it should take.

Poor Station Maintenance

It’s not only the train cars, tracks, and systems that need to be properly maintained. The stations, as well, should be regularly inspected and repairs made if necessary. If the stairs or escalators are hazardous, for instance, to the point that they lead to an accident and injury, that may be a result of negligence.

Slipping and Falling

Though people may end up on the tracks for several reasons, sometimes it’s the result of a slip and fall. If negligence is involved, victims and their families may be compensated for the damages.

There may have been slipping hazards, for instance, that were not properly addressed, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or loose debris.

Caught in Doors

In February 2023, a man exited a train at the Metro Dunn Loring station in Virginia carrying a dog leash. The doors closed with the dog still inside, leaving the man on the platform with the leash tied to him. The train dragged the man down the platform and onto the tracks, killing him. The dog was transferred to police care.

The MTA is responsible for regularly inspecting and maintaining train doors.


Though Metro-North trains rely on different modes of power in different locations, its trains in New York are primarily electric.

According to a study published in the journal, Burns, railway and subway-associated electrical trauma is rare, but when it happens, it typically involves high-voltage injuries.

In the study, among seven subway workers, the mechanism of rail contact that caused the electrocution was unintentional. The worker may have accidentally hit the rail with a tool, touched their hand to it, or fallen.

Negligent Security

The public transit system must maintain a safe atmosphere at their stations and on the trains and tracks. Incidents like theft, assault, harassment, and vandalism make passengers feel unsafe, and if allowed to continue unchecked, can increase the risk of injury and death.

When to Hire a Metro-North Train Accident Lawyer

If you were injured while on a Metro-North train, you owe it to yourself to seek legal assistance.

You have the right to sue the MTA, the State of Connecticut, or the city you were in if you believe they were negligent in your accident. As these are all government entities, you have to do so quickly—within 90 days.

Claims against government entities tend to be more complex than those against private companies. You have less time to file a complaint, and there are many technical legal rules as well as limitations on the types of damages available. Having an experienced Connecticut Metro-North train accident attorney on your side can help increase your odds of winning the compensation you deserve.

If another individual caused the accident, you may also be able to file a personal injury claim against them. Or if a third party was involved—such as the train engineering company that negligently designed the train or the rails—you may also have a claim against them.

Your Connecticut lawyer can help you thoroughly investigate the case so that you make sure you find all possible avenues of recovery.

The bottom line is this: Yes, suing the MTA or a similar entity can be complicated, but if you suffered severe injuries that will significantly impact your life and your future, a Metro-North train accident attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the law to help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

How to Choose the Right Metro-North Train Accident Lawyer

There are a lot of Metro-North train accident attorneys. To help avoid feeling overwhelmed by your choices, follow these steps when making your selection.

Do Your Research

Begin by asking friends and family for recommendations, but then do your research. Start with an online search for a Connecticut Metro-North train accident attorney. Look for those attorneys who specialize in representing plaintiffs in train and personal injury accident cases. Find those firms that have a lot of experience and a track record of good results.

Check the online reviews and look to see if the lawyers are members of respected organizations, such as the American Bar Association. Make sure they have trial experience. Hopefully, your case won’t go to trial, but you want someone who has experience in court if such a step becomes necessary.

Schedule an Initial Consultation

In your search, narrow down your list to the top five or so Connecticut lawyers or law firms. Then call each one and schedule an initial consultation. Most law firms (including Chaffin Luhana) will provide a free initial meeting where you can ask questions and determine whether a) you have a case and b) you want to move forward with that firm.

During that initial meeting, ask the attorney about their general experience, their history with cases like yours, how they handle fees, and who would be working on your case. Get to know the lawyer and their staff. Find out if the firm has additional resources to help secure expert witnesses and appropriately investigate your case.

Trust Your Gut

After meeting with the Connecticut attorneys on your list, decide which one inspires the most confidence when it comes to resolving your case.

Why Choose Our Metro-North Train Accident Lawyers

At Chaffin Luhana, we focus only on plaintiffs like you who have been injured and need help obtaining fair compensation. We have the experience and the resources you need and pride ourselves on providing regular and helpful communication.

Our hard-working team includes former federal and state prosecutors, former state and federal judicial law clerks, former large defense firm attorneys, court-appointed leaders in the national Plaintiffs’ bar, nurse paralegals, and social workers—a team with unique and in-depth experience to guide you through your case.

As national leaders in the plaintiffs’ bar, we have extensive experience that is nationally recognized. To date, partners Eric Chaffin and Roopal Luhana have recovered over $1 billion for their clients. The firm itself has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for individually injured plaintiffs.

Finally, we believe in giving back to our communities. With a mission of “Doing Good by Doing Right™,” we have donated a substantial portion of the firm’s revenues—hundreds of thousands of dollars to date—to charitable causes and issues that impact our clients and local communities. The Chaffin Luhana Foundation has also funded scientific research, donated to dozens of charities, and given away numerous college scholarships.

What Our Clients Have to Say About Chaffin Luhana

Below is a small sampling of the testimonials we have received from our clients:

Over $4 Million Recovery

“I was very pleased with the representation that I received for my case. I had a positive experience with this firm and I would recommend your firm to my family and friends.”

– Judy R., Product Liability Injury Client

Nearly $3 Million Recovery

“I would tell prospective client[s of your firm] to be patient—trust your lawyers, trust that they know what they are doing, even though it is hard for people not in the business to understand all the legal wording and details.”

– Duane B, Product Liability Injury Client

Automobile Accident Victim

“They treat you like family. I was even sent a sympathy card when my mother passed, which was totally unexpected.”

– Debra S., Personal Injury Client

Automobile Accident Victim

“[Chaffin Luhana] definitely delivered. The previous firm told me they couldn’t help me. My mom saw the commercial, and she said try someone else. I called you and within four months, you had it all resolved.”

– Carley H., Personal Injury Client

Find more testimonials here.

Types of Serious Injuries Sustained in a Connecticut Metro-North Train Accident

Serious injuries that may result from a train accident include the following:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Concussions
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Broken Bones
  • Neck and Back Injuries
  • Knee Injuries
  • Foot and Ankle Injuries
  • Amputations
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Wrist and Hand Injuries
  • Crush Injuries
  • Internal Injuries and Bleeding
  • Disfiguring Facial Injuries and Scars
  • Limb Loss and Amputations
  • Burn Injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Bruising/Contusions/Sprains/Strains
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you get a lawyer for a train accident in Connecticut?

If you or a loved one were seriously hurt in a Metro-North train accident, you owe it to yourself to schedule a complimentary consultation with a reputable Connecticut train accident attorney. They can examine the facts of your case and let you know if it would be worth it to you to file a claim.

Should you decide to move forward with your case, your attorney can help you with all of the following:

  • Answering all your questions
  • Obtaining appropriate records, such as the police report
  • Arranging an independent investigation into the case (if necessary)
  • Determining all liable parties and avenues of compensation
  • Handling all communications with the insurance companies and their representatives
  • Negotiating a fair settlement that protects your interest, or taking the case to trial if necessary

Who Can File a Train Accident Lawsuit?

If you were injured or suffered losses in a train accident, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. Eligible parties may include passengers, pedestrians, motorists, and property owners.

What is the average Metro-North train accident settlement in Connecticut?

How much money you may receive in a Connecticut Metro-North train accident settlement depends on many factors, so it is difficult to estimate without knowing all the details. These factors include the severity of your injuries, whether they will continue to affect you over time, your job/salary, and whether your injuries affect your ability to work.

Other factors will matter too, such as whether you have credible and compelling witnesses, photographic and/or video evidence supporting your claim, medical records, a police report, expert witness testimony, and more. These can all strengthen your case and make it more likely that you will recover the compensation you need.

How long does it take for a train accident lawsuit to settle in Connecticut?

Every case is different, so there is no standard timeline for settling a train accident case. Because suing a government entity can be complicated, the process may take a few months up to a year or more. Having multiple parties involved or difficulties with the insurance companies can extend the timeline.

What is the statute of limitations for a train accident in Connecticut?

In Connecticut, the statute of limitations for a personal injury action—such as one involving a train accident—is two years. The date begins on the date of the accident.

There are some exceptions to this rule:

  • Municipalities: If your case involves a municipality—as it often does in a Metro-North train accident claim—you have less time. For cases involving the MTA or the CTDOT, you have 90 days to file a Notice of Claim.
  • Your injury doesn’t show up until later. If your doctor didn’t detect your injury during your first visit because it wasn’t presenting symptoms yet, you may have up to three years to commence your lawsuit. Certain brain and spinal injuries, for example, may take time to make themselves known.

Understand that after a train accident, the public transit company is likely to attempt to fix the problem that caused the accident as soon as possible. Evidence may be removed or destroyed quickly, so it is important to act fast. Your Connecticut attorney can demand that evidence be preserved to protect your legal rights.

What Makes Train Accidents Different from Other Traffic Accidents?

Metro-North train accident claims have unique legal requirements. You and your Connecticut train accident lawyer must first file a notice of claim within 90 days, which includes a start-to-finish account of what happened. If you do not provide the right information at this step in the process, your claim will probably be denied.

Once your claim is approved to proceed, you and your lawyer must mount a strong case that will withstand the defendants’ efforts to deny responsibility. That means consulting with experts to establish who was responsible and gathering the evidence necessary to prove your position.

What to do after a serious train accident?

The actions you take immediately after a train accident can have a large impact on your claim if you decide to file one later. Thus, it’s best to follow these recommendations:

Get Out

If you can, get out of the train or car (if your vehicle was involved) as soon as you can. Walk away from the tracks so that you are clear of any further mishaps that may cause injuries.

Get Medical Attention

Train accidents often involve serious or fatal injuries. Call for medical treatment for yourself or others if you can. Even if you do not think you were injured, it’s important to make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. Some symptoms won’t show up for hours or days. Going to a doctor gives you a medical record you may need if you decide to file a claim later on.

Contact Law Enforcement

Call the police. They can help with any injured parties and will create an official report of the accident, which you will need later if you decide to file a train accident lawsuit.

Gather Information and Evidence

As soon as possible, write down the circumstances of the incident. Include the time and location of the accident, the type of train, and how the accident happened. Take photos if you are able. Include pictures of the area where the incident took place as well as of injuries you suffered.

Don’t Post on Social Media

Anything you post on social media can be used to reduce or deny your compensation. Other liable parties may also try to use it to prove you were at fault or that your injuries are not as bad as you claim.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Contact your health insurance so they have a record of the accident as soon as possible. If your car was involved, contact your auto insurance carrier.

Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney

Train accidents are often complex, and may involve the train company, the conductor, the track owner, another motor vehicle driver, or the train manufacturer. An experienced Connecticut Metro-North train accident attorney will have the knowledge and experience needed to help you collect evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and draft a strong personal injury claim.

What if I was partly at fault for the accident?

Connecticut follows a comparative negligence system in personal injury cases. You can still seek compensation as long as your responsibility does not exceed 50 percent.

If you were 20 percent responsible for the accident, for example, you could still recover 80 percent of your damages.

There may be a dispute over fault in your case. A train accident attorney can present your side in the best light to improve your chances of receiving the compensation you need.

What types of damages will a train accident settlement cover?

In general, there are three major types of damages:

  • Economic: These are the most common and the most easily identifiable damages. They are paid to “compensate” you for economic losses such as: past and future medical expenses; lost wages; impaired earning capacity; property damage; loss of vehicle use; and diminished vehicle value.
  • Non-Economic: These cannot be readily tied to a dollar amount. They include: pain and suffering; limits on activities of daily living; a shortened life expectancy; and mental anguish.
  • Punitive: These are awarded for the sole purpose of punishing the defendant for their conduct.

Settlements consist of both economic and non-economic damages. Specifically, economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses: You can expect to be compensated for any medical expenses for which you have proof. If you have to have more surgeries, treatments, therapies, and prescriptions in the future, the insurance company or court may offer compensation for these as well.
  • Lost wages: If you missed work because of your injuries, you may be compensated for lost wages. If you can’t return to your job in the future, your future lost wages may also be recoverable.
  • Potential earnings: Similar to lost wages, this is a figure representing what you would have earned had the accident not taken place.
  • Property damage: These damages would help pay to restore or replace your vehicle, for instance. If you had other property that was damaged, such as a computer or cell phone, those costs may also be figured into this award.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses relating to the accident: If you have to travel to your medical appointments, you may be able to be reimbursed for mileage, parking fees, rental car fees, and the like. Childcare, cleaning help, personal assistance, and other household services may also be recoverable if you can prove that you were unable to perform these activities while recovering.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering: This refers to any physical pain and discomfort that you suffered during and after the accident. It may include emotional or psychological suffering as well, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Loss of consortium: This is a legal term used to describe the loss of a partner or spouse’s physical companionship, including a sexual relationship. If you or a passenger in your vehicle was injured in such a way that it affects your relationship, you could be eligible for these damages.
  • Loss of enjoyment: If you find that your injuries make it more difficult to enjoy the activities you once enjoyed, or if you can no longer take part in your day-to-day activities, you may be entitled to compensation for these losses.

Your Trusted Metro-North Train Accident Lawyer in Connecticut

The train accident attorneys at Chaffin Luhana serve the Connecticut area. We are passionate advocates for plaintiffs who have suffered injuries in train accidents and stand ready to help you pursue compensation to the fullest extent allowed under Connecticut law.

Call us today at 888-480-1123.