As the investigation into last Friday’s train crash continues, victims are starting to come forward. The first lawsuit against the Metro-North Railroad Company was filed in federal court today.
65-year-old Elizabeth Sorensen of Mystic was on the Eastbound train going from New York City to New Haven last Friday when it derailed and was struck by a train going in the other direction. She was thrown violently around the rail car and suffered severe multiple fractures and brain trauma.
Now she’s suing the Metro-North railroad company for negligence. The New Haven-based law firm Stratton Faxon will represent her, and Stratton conduct its own investigation of the crash, alongside a federal team.
“We’re really here to just keep an eye on the process and be proactive, and make sure there is nothing that is not looked at," says Joel Faxon, an attorney at the law firm.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB have said that the area where the derailment happened was recently inspected by Metro-North workers, and that they had also made some repairs. Faxon says those repairs clearly didn’t do the job.
“It’s not an act of God that causes this. It’s an act of negligence.”
Federal investigators and Faxon’s law firm are focusing on a joint bar, which was used to hold two sections of rail together. The NTSB says it may be of interest but won’t release any information about the cause of the accident for several weeks if not months. Meanwhile, Faxon says, he’s heard from other victims expressing interest in lawsuits.
“As time goes on, there will be additional people who decide that they need to assert their legal rights because they’ve suffered serious injuries.”
Sorensen is the only one of more than 70 people injured in the crash who remains in the hospital in critical condition. According to the lawsuit, she expects to stay hospitalized for several more months.