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College Student Set To Sue MTA Over Queens Train Derailment

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens college student is planning to sue the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over May’s F-train derailment in Woodside, Queens.

As CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport reported, 18-year-old Melanie Chandan, of Jamaica, Queens, claims she suffered injuries to her knee, arms and head in the May 2 accident.

But she said that’s not the worst of it.

“It’s changed me completely,” Chandan said. “And I’m afraid I’ll never get back to the same person I used to be.”

Chandan said she now suffers from debilitating panic attacks and is so traumatized from the accident that she’s longer able to take the subway.

Nineteen people were hurt when the train jumped the tracks, leading to a massive underground evacuation. Part of the rail broke when the train was traveling over it, officials said.

Crews work to re-rail an F train that derailed on Friday, May 2, 2014.  (credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin/Flickr)

Crews work to re-rail an F train that derailed on Friday, May 2, 2014.
(credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin/Flickr)

Chandan has hired an attorney and is preparing to file a lawsuit against the MTA.

The teen said she is now seeing a therapist and is trying to work through her issues.

“I freeze up, and I start to zone out,” Chandan said. “And my whole body starts to hurt, and my chest hurts. I have trouble breathing.”

“Sounds, flashes — all of these things put her into a panic,” Chandan’s lawyer, Rehan Nazrali, said. “She’s disabled.”

Chandan and her lawyer said they want a jury to decide what the monetary damages should be.

“I can’t put a value on it,” said Chandan, who added she would use the money to pay for her transportation to school.

The MTA said it does not comment on pending litigation.

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