Subway Accidents in New York City

Subway Accidents in New York City

It is an unfortunate fact of life that accidents happen, sometimes very bad ones. Bad things happen to good people. Just last month, on February 15, 2016 a man was trying to board a subway train when it appears as if he did not make it onto the train. At the same time it seems as if his clothes got caught and the train conductor received a signal that the doors closed all the way.  When the train started to go, he was allegedly dragged by the train and passed away from injuries sustained as a result of this mishap.  It is reported that there were 2.96 injuries per 1 million customers in 2013, which is actually rather high considering that the New York City transit saw over 1.654 billion customers use its subways alone in 2012.

There are other measures for the Long Island Railroad or the New York City Transit buses.  Two of the five Metropolitan Transportation Authority train derailments in 2013 accounted for approximately 200 injuries in total.


Suing a Government Entity


Whenever you sue a governmental entity in New York, you must do certain things to perfect your right to file suit. Failure to timely accomplish these necessary prerequisite acts can bar you from being able to file suit against the state/city. The first necessary prerequisite is that you must file a notice of claim with the state/city within 90 days of the accident. You must also wait at least 30 days from filing your notice of claim before filing your case in court. You then have one year and 90 days from the date of accident in issue to file your lawsuit in court against the state/city. A court may allow a party to serve the notice of claim on the government more than 90 days from the date of the accident but it does not have the jurisdiction to extend the time beyond one year and 90 days to file suit against the governmental entity. You may file your notice of claim with the Secretary of State in Albany, but this is not the only manner in which you can satisfy the notice of claim requirement.


New York Court of Claims


The New York Legislature instituted a court of special jurisdiction to deal with such governmental claims. The name of the special court is the Court of Claims. Assuming that all notice of claims were properly filed, the matter proceeds largely in the same manner as any other negligence matter. There must be a duty, breach, causation and damages. As applied to a subway rider:


  • The subway owner owes a duty to the rider as a business invitee. That means that the subway must exercise reasonable care to running the trains and performing upkeep on the property.
  • The subway owner must breach that duty by not exercising reasonable care when running the trains or performing upkeep on the property.
  • The failure of the subway owner to exercise reasonable care must be a cause of harm to the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff must be able to establish that he/she suffered damages as a result of the failure to exercise reasonable care.


If you or someone you know were injured in an accident on the subway, you must act immediately. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC at 212-391-1000 without delay.