Bronx Derailment Victim Seeks Compensation for Injuries With the Help of Attorney Michael Lamonsoff
Denise Williams, a dentist and retired Army colonel, injured in the Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx Sunday, has filed notice of claim against the commuter railroad. Her attorney is Michael Lamonsoff. Williams, who was on her way to a convention, suffered spine, collarbone and rib fractures after she was pinned inside an overturned car for about an hour, according to Lamonsoff.
“While she was … pinned down,” Lamonsoff told CNN Wednesday of his client, “there was a guy that, a chef who has cerebral palsy, he sat with her and prayed with her because they didn’t know if she would live or die and she was praying to live.”
The notice of claim is a necessary step before legal action can be filed against the railroad. It will be accused of negligence in the case, according to Lamonsoff. Due to state law, the suit will be filed against the railroad, not the engineer, William Rockefeller, who allegedly nodded off as the train sped into a sharp curve.
“Bottom line is the guy was going 82 mph in a 30 mph zone,” Lamonsoff said. He accused the railroad of being slow to implement positive train control technology, which combines GPS, wireless radio and computers to monitor trains and stop them from colliding or derailing.”
In 2008, Congress ordered rail lines to adopt the technology by December 2015. “We have GPS on cars, they should have GPS on the trains,” he said. “They have been stonewalling, they have until 2015, they have asked for extensions, they haven’t started any upgrades.”
Reuters News Service, citing a railroad union official, reports Rockefeller told federal investigators he “zoned out” shortly before the crash. Reuters also cites an unnamed source as saying the train had a safety system designed to keep its engineer alert, but it was not installed in the car from which he controlled the train.
Four people died and 67 others were injured, eleven critically, in the crash. So far, one other passenger has also filed a notice of claim against the railroad.