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Indian American student to sue New York City, MTA for injuries, trauma suffered in subway train accident

Melanie Chandan is a student at Hunter College.

By The American Bazaar Staff

NEW YORK: An Indian American student of Hunter College, Melanie Chandan, 19, is set to sue the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City, for suffering physical injuries and trauma riding a subway train which jumped tracks.

The accident happened on May 2, when the Brooklyn-bound F train jumped the tracks in a tunnel near the 65th Station in Woodside, and came to a sudden halt. There were around 1,000 straphangers on board. SIx of the train’s eight cars were knocked off the tracks and 19 commuters were injured, including four who required treatment at a hospital.

Chandan said she injured her knees, arms, head and neck, reported DNAinfo.

In an interview to DNA, Chandan said that the crippling panic attacks she has suffered since the incident are far worse than any physical pain.

“I can’t bring myself to ride the train,” Chandan said. “I even get upset by [hearing] the rumblings of the train.”

Chandan’s lawyer, Rehan Nazrali, filed a notice of claim against the MTA and the city on July 16. The notice is the first step in filing a lawsuit against a government agency.

“It was an ordinary day in New York, and then all of a sudden her ordinary life was turned upside down,” Nazrali said of the derailment, the report said. “It was totally unnerving — something that’s so reliable becomes entirely dangerous.”

Chandan also said she and other passengers were stranded underground for three hours before rescue workers led them out of the train and up to the surface. Since the derailment, she said she hasn’t taken the subway, and now sees a therapist.

Nazrali said Chandan ended up withdrawing from two college classes because of her panic attacks, and couldn’t finish a test.

“She hears noises, sounds and flashes — all those things that go with being a victim of a bomb scene,” Nazrali said. “Her mother will tell you, ‘She’s not the daughter that I knew.'”

According to the New York Daily News, the notice of claim blames the city and MTA for defective brakes and rails and negligent operation of the cars.