In a subway system that sees more than five million riders a day, accidents are bound to happen. Earlier this year, one such accident claimed the life of a local pizza maker.
The New York Times coverage of this chilling story of a man pulled into the subway tunnel by a train only reignited concerns about the safety of the subway system and questions about the MTA’s duty of care.
An Unexplained Accident in Grand Central Station
According to the report, the local pizza maker had been heading home to Queens from his job in Manhatten at 7:20 p.m., just after the Tuesday rush hour. He walked down onto the subway platform in Grand Central Station just as a train was pulling away.
Authorities are unsure why or how he came in contact with the subway car, but speculate he may have stumbled into the gap between the platform and train, where he was caught by the lip beneath one of the doors.
Surveillance camera footage shows his body being thrown against a staircase and dragged into the tunnel before his body hit an electrical box and caught the attention of the train operator.
The operator applied the brakes, but it was too late – the victim was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
A larger issue, this man isn’t the only New Yorker who’s met a tragic fate on the NYC subway system this year.
How Common Are New York City Subway Accidents Anyway?
During the same night of the Grand Central Station incident, there were two other unrelated subway accidents in the city. One victim was harmed, another was killed. Earlier this month even, a subway train killed a man in the Bronx.
The New York City Transit Authority, also known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), runs one of the largest subway systems in the world. The MTA includes more than 700 rail and subway stations and nearly 9,000 rail and subway cars. According to MTA officials, more than 189 people came into contact with a moving subway car last year.
Considering the extensiveness of the system and the frequency of NYC subway system usage, it comes as no shock that so many MTA accidents occur annually. However, the MTA has a duty to keep their subway systems safe and free from hazards.
The real question is whether that is happening.
When Is the MTA Liable for Subway Accidents in New York?
As with any business or property owner, the MTA has a responsibility to keep visitors safe from hazards. That means repairing or warning guests of hazards and addressing dangers that arise from things like bad weather, disrepair, and litter.
Transit authorities have a general duty to:
- Maintain subway staircases
- Repair malfunctioning escalators
- Provide adequate lighting
- Clear ice and snow from stairs and platform
- Warn passengers about slippery platforms
- Repair malfunctioning rails and subway cars
However, it can be difficult to file a claim against a government-run service like the MTA. Unlike suing a private defendant, you must follow strict rules and comply with time limits when filing a lawsuit against the New York City MTA.
If you or a loved one has suffered an accident on a New York subway, and believe it could be due to the MTA’s negligence reach out to an experienced New York personal injury attorney for advice (sooner than later).
After being a victim due to negligence by the MTA, it is important to act immediately when filing a claim. Through a subway accident claim, you may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, overall pain and suffering, and other damages.