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Hoboken Train Crash Victims Tell NJ Transit They Plan to Sue

by Jon Schuppe /
People are treated for their injuries outside after a NJ Transit train crashed in to the platform at Hoboken Terminal Sept. 29, 2016 in Hoboken, N.J.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

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A first wave of Hoboken train crash victims has come forward to put NJ Transit on notice they plan to file lawsuits against the agency for their injuries.

Three sent notices to NJ Transit on Monday, with dozens expected to follow in coming weeks.

More than 100 people were hurt Thursday morning when the commuter train slammed into the platform of the Hoboken station. A woman on the platform was killed by falling debris.

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Rosemarie Arnold, a lawyer representing several of the victims, told NBC News they all described a crowded train and many people standing in a vestibule as it approached the station. The collision sent them flying.

One was Anthony Prieto, 27, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, who was standing in the vestibule of the second car and was tossed at impact, Arnold said. Another rider landed on top of the investment marketer, who was heading to work in New York. Prieto broke his nose, lost vision in an eye, and hurt his ankle, she said.

Another, Jennifer Van Dam, a 45-year-old massage therapist from Hackensack, New Jersey, was also heading to work in New York, Arnold said. She was standing in the first car, and in the crash suffered injuries to her back, chest and right knee. She also broke an ankle and developed a blood clot in her left thigh, Arnold said.

A third victim, Denny Panakal, 45, of Emerson, New Jersey, was on his way into work at financial firm Morgan Stanley and was seated in the first car, Arnold said. He lost consciousness when his head slammed into the seat in front of him, Arnold said. His neck is still hurting him, she said.

"They're still completely shaken up," Arnold said of her clients, adding that the list is growing by the day. "They can't sleep. They just can't believe it happened. They all say it was surreal."

The notices are the first step in the process of seeking monetary damages from NJ Transit. If the claims aren't resolved, then the victims will be permitted to sue.

Representatives for NJ Transit did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the filing.

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