NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Sheldon M. Kest, who first started riding transit more than 50 years ago, was seriously injured in the recent New Jersey Transit (NJT) crash and is going to court to hold the agency accountable for safety failures that led to the fatal incident, he and his attorneys announced today after his formal Notice of Claim was filed. His extensive injuries included the partial amputation of his right middle finger, a broken nose, and multiple deep cuts to his head and face.
Mr. Kest, 66, a Tenafly resident and highly experienced information technology manager for a Jersey City-based financial institution, said of the crash and his post-accident legal action, "I need to know, and the public has the right to know, "Why did it happen? How did it happen? And who should be held accountable so it doesn't happen again?" I've been riding trains and transit vehicles for more than 50 years, but I don't know when I'll be able to board another train. Right now I'm anxious even to ride in a car. I continue to struggle with the horrific memories of this tragedy."
Trial attorney Tom Kline, of Kline & Specter, P.C., one of the two law firms jointly representing Mr. Kest and his wife, Lynda, said, "It is distressing but understandable that as the accidents, injuries and deaths increase, the public's confidence remains shaken in rail operators, nationally and locally."
Andrew R. Duffy, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, co-counsel in the case, added, "There is no excuse for operating that train at more than twice the speed restriction entering the station (10 MPH), and there is no excuse for the NJT's deadly deferral of Positive Train Control (PTC) that every industry operator, expert, and government regulator has known for decades prevents these accident and saves lives."
Mr. Kest, a Brooklyn native who received his undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science at CCNY, was a regular commuter on the NJT train, boarding at the New Bridge Landing Station near the home he shares with Lynda, his wife of nearly 40 years. The couple has two sons and a young grandson, who Mr. Kest has been unable to visit since the incident.
"Our grandson lives only minutes away, but I'm just not ready for him to see his Papa in this condition," he stated. "How do you even start to explain to a child what happened, how I lost part of a finger, and got so bloodied and cut up? But much worse, how do you explain how somebody innocently standing on the train platform would never again see her child?"
Mr. Kest is continuing to see several different doctors – including plastic and orthopedic surgeons and a neurologist - for his post-incident treatment. He is also hoping that at some point he can resume work and having a good night's sleep.
"I was always a sound sleeper, but not anymore," he recounts. "Now I get up several times during the night, reliving those horrible moments in the first car of that train."
Besides seeking justice through the courts, he is hoping to meet the good Samaritans that came to his assistance.
"Given my recent knee surgery, there's just no way I could have hoisted myself through that window. I don't know what would have happened without those guys lifting me up," he said. "I look forward to the day when I can find out their identity and thank them in person."
The law firms, that have catastrophic personal injury practices, filed the first passenger lawsuits after the Amtrak Train No. 188, May 12, 2015 derailment in Philadelphia, and together they represent nearly 30 passengers-victims in that tragedy. In addition, they represent the family of one of the two Amtrak rail workers killed in the Train No. 89, April 2016 crash near Chester, Pennsylvania. Attorneys Kila B. Baldwin, of K&S, and Michael A. Budner, of SMBB, are part of the legal team.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/seriously-injured-passenger-files-to-hold-new-jersey-transit-accountable-for-safety-failures-leading-to-fatal-hoboken-crash-300342752.html
SOURCE Kline & Specter, P.C. And Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C.