How Safe Are New York Subways?
Since November of 2020, four people have been killed or injured by being pushed onto subway tracks in New York City. In the latest incident, just last month, a crazed man pushed a commuter off the platform at a station in Harlem and then jumped onto the tracks himself. The attacker was killed when he made contact with the third rail.
When a person is pushed or accidentally falls onto the track at a subway station, the greatest danger is not necessarily the electrified third rail. The MTA reported 158 incidents in 2020 in which people were struck by subway cars after jumping, being pushed, or falling onto tracks.
When is the City Responsible for Subway Accidents?
While city employees cannot prevent all assaults, suicide attempts, and accidents, they do have a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect subway riders. For drivers, reasonable care includes watching out for people or debris on the tracks so that there is enough time to apply the brakes and possibly avert a disaster. Drivers must also take precautions not to start a car until all passengers have exited and entered completely, in addition to making sure the track is clear before leaving the station.
Poorly maintained stations with loose or missing tiles can also lead to falls. If the city fails to exercise reasonable care by failing to maintain facilities, or if its employees cause an injury through negligence, a claim may be made against the city for damages. A personal injury case against the city is different from a case against a private individual or company; there are strict time limits and procedures that must be followed.
When an accident is caused by the intentional or negligent act of an MTA employee, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident or injury. If the Notice of Claim is not filed on time, or if the proper forms are not completed, any right to sue the city for damages will be lost.
Seek Legal Advice
Navigating the process of filing a claim against the city can be difficult and intimidating. If you or a loved one is injured in a subway accident, seek legal advice immediately. Call the law firm of Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C. at 212-227-4000 for a free case evaluation. Visit our website here for more information about us, and to learn how we have helped thousands of New Yorkers get the compensation they deserve.