New York City is well-known for its subway system, which is made up of the largest number of public transit subway stations in the world. According to Subway Ridership Statistics presented by The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), more than 1.6 billion passengers rode the NYC subway system in 2011 alone. 5.2 million passengers rode the subway on an average weekday. The majority of these passengers experienced no problems and instead enjoyed safe trips to and from, work, school and tourist attractions. The MTA has worked hard to improve the overall safety and cleanliness of the subway system with good results. For some passengers, however, their subway experiences will end in disaster. According to a March 2012 report, 147 passengers were struck by subway trains in 2011, an increase of 15% from the previous year.
The worst New York subway accident to date occurred on the 28th of August, 1991 when a southbound No. 4 train derailed while traveling over a switch just north of Union Square. Five people were killed and 200 more were injured in the incident. Motorman Robert Ray was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison based on findings that he was intoxicated and driving the subway at more 40 miles per hour in a zone where he should have been traveling 10 mph.
Not all subway accidents involve derailments and the injury of dozens of people. Some incidents involve a single person falling into the path of a moving train or even tripping and falling at a station, on a car or on the platform. Accidents that occur on subway cars may also be considered in this category of personal injuries, as may assaults or attacks on the subway, at the subway station or on the subway platform. The type of accident or injury may vary, but a victim may experience catastrophic injuries that require emergency medical care, hospitalization and even continued treatment or physical therapy. Some incidents result in the wrongful death of the victim, leaving families without parents, spouses, children or other loved ones.
Types of Subway Accidents
Subway accidents are not limited to subway collisions alone. Instead, a variety of accident types may occur on or near a subway, including:
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Door accidents (doors closing on riders);
- Train derailments;
- Assault; and
- Electrical injuries.
These accidents can lead to severe injuries, including amputation injuries/loss of limb, head injuries, brain injuries, broken bone injuries, bone injuries, electrocution, and internal injuries.
Who Is Liable for a Subway Accident?
Liability for a subway accident depends both on the type of subway accident that occurred, as well as who was at-fault for the subway accident. Common causes of the accident types listed above include:
- Operator error;
- Improper maintenance or repair;
- Lack of security;
- Unsafe walking conditions; and
- Computer system failure.
A subway accident attorney can help you to determine who was at fault for your subway accident, and how to prove negligence to hold the at-fault party liable for damages. If filing a claim against a government entity, the laws for recovering damages may vary depending upon your state. For this reason, working with an attorney is essential.
Violence on Subways
In addition to representing victims of subway accidents, the legal team at Napoli Shkolnik, PLLc assists those who have been victims of violence on New York subways. Sexual assault, mugging, robbery and theft are all types of cases that we take on. In cases of this kind, our goal is to determine whether the Transit Authority was negligent in promoting the safety of subway passengers. Although the Transit Bureau has 2,500 officers employed to keep the subways safe, they cannot be everywhere at once. The MTA has also installed pay phones and talk-back boxes on subway platforms, but these phones may not work or riders may not know how to use the boxes to seek help.
Victims of violence on subways may be entitled to financial compensation for medical care, emotional trauma and lost earnings they have experienced from their attacks.
Subway Collisions & Injuries: Proving Liability
The plaintiff in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit involving a subway accident will have the burden of proving the liability (legal responsibility) of another party or parties in order to hold them accountable in civil court for their wrongdoing. This makes it all the more important to work with a competent attorney who is not only knowledgeable in handling cases of this kind but who has the resources to properly investigate the incident and build a compelling case on your behalf. Whether the at-fault party is the Transit Authority or another individual, agency or company, you will need sufficient proof of negligence or wrongdoing.
Take Action to File Your Claim Today
States’ statutes of limitations govern the time limit that you have for filing a claim after a subway accident. For claims against the state, the limit for filing a notice of claim may be as short as 60 days, depending upon the state in which you live. For this reason, it is imperative that you meet with a subway accident attorney as soon as possible. At Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, our attorneys are available to speak 24/7, and want to hear from you today.
Find out more about filing a lawsuit for injuries sustained on a NYC subway. Contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC today.