$1,500,000 Settlement for Client Injured in 2016 Hoboken Train Crash

On September 29, 2016, an NJ Transit commuter train crashed into the Hoboken Terminal during morning rush hour, leading to over 100 casualties, including one death. Our client, a 61-year-old court clerk at the time, was a passenger on the commuter train. As a result of the crash, he suffered injuries to his back, neck, shoulder, right hand, and knee. Represented by Block O'Toole & Murphy, he received a $1.5 million settlement.

Court and County
Hudson County, Superior Court

Plaintiff Description
Plaintiff was a 61-year-old New York County Supreme Court Clerk at the time of the accident.

Description of Case
On September 29, 2016, Pascack Valley Train Line Train #6214 crashed into the Hoboken Train Terminal, located at 1 Hudson Place, Hoboken, New Jersey. Our client was a passenger in the first car of the aforementioned train, and suffered serious, severe, and permanent personal injuries as a result of the crash.

It was Block O'Toole & Murphy's position that the Defendant New Jersey Transit Corporation and/or the train's engineer, Thomas Gallagher, were entirely responsible for the happening of the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board's ("NTSB") investigation into the subject accident revealed, inter alia, failure of New Jersey Transit's engineer to stop the train after entering the Hoboken terminal resulting from fatigue due to undiagnosed sleep apnea, and lack of either a device or safety system that could have intervened to stop the train before collision. As outlined more fully in the NTSB's report, Mr. Gallagher's sleep apnea could have, and should have, been diagnosed under the existing protocols of New Jersey Transit.

Injuries/Damages
As a result of the accident, our client (61 years old) sustained injuries to his neck, back, right hand, bilateral shoulders, and right knee.

With respect to his right hand (his dominant hand), an X-Ray taken on the day of the accident revealed an oblique comminuted displaced fracture deformity of the 1st metacarpal mid shaft with approximately 1 shafts width maximal displacements of the fracture fragments. Our client was further diagnosed with compartment syndrome and advised that he was in imminent danger of losing his hand. As a result, our client underwent immediate surgery at Hoboken Medical Center.

Despite aggressive occupational therapy, our client developed contracture of the thenar muscles, particularly to the thumb, stiffness to the thumb MCP joint, and adhesion of the extensor tendon. On April 24, 2018, our client underwent a second-hand surgery to widen the first webspace by releasing the scarred thenar muscles, release of the thumb MCP joint contracture and release of the tendons which had scarred to the fractured bone.

He continued to undergo occupational therapy and splinting, but unfortunately, he suffered re-contracture of the first webspace. As a result, he has been indicated for further right-hand surgery to re-release the first web space and widen his grasp. Unfortunately, our client suffers from significant pain, reduced strength, and reduced range of motion in his right hand.

With respect to his right knee, he suffered a meniscal tear and chondral flap femoral trochlea. As a result, he required and underwent right knee surgery on April 7, 2017, at Hospital for Special Surgery. With respect to his shoulders, he experiences constant, excruciating, and exhausting pain. He has undergone physical therapy and injection therapy, with no relief.

Although our client returned to his employment as a clerk for the New York County Supreme Court for a short period of time, he has since been forced to retire as the result of his injuries. Our client has young children, and, prior to the accident, had no intention of retiring in the near future.

Not insignificantly, our client was also diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depression, which continues to affect his life on a daily basis.

Settlement Amount
$1,500,000

Attorneys
This case was handled by attorneys Daniel M. Seiden and Daniel P. O'Toole.