Can I Sue If I Was Injured in an NYC Subway Accident?

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • You may be able to sue the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for injuries or death in an NYC subway accident.
  • The legal process for filing suit against the MTA can be more complex than in a case against private individuals and businesses.
  • Our accomplished New York subway accident lawyers can navigate your legal claim against the MTA and fight for the compensation you deserve.

You may be able to sue the MTA for injuries you sustained while riding the subway if the harm occurred because of negligence by any of the MTA’s employees or agents. As a public benefit corporation performing an essential governmental function, the MTA enjoys the same protections as government agencies in New York, making a personal injury claim more complex for NYC subway accidents.

With over 20 years of combined experience, our award-winning New York personal injury lawyers are ready to answer your questions, power through the legal hurdles, and fight for you without backing down. Contact us online or call (855) NYC-HURT to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

Who Can I Sue for NYC Subway Accident Injuries?

The New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) owns and operates the New York subway system. However, the NYCTA operates under the direction and authority of the MTA as an affiliate. As a result, the MTA is liable for injuries and deaths that occur on the subway as a result of negligence by any NYCTA employee or agent.

Private Parties You Can Sue for Subway Accident Injuries

In some cases, private individuals and businesses may also be liable for injuries on the subway, including:

  • Subway maintenance and repair companies who perform faulty work.
  • Manufacturers of faulty equipment.
  • Subway passengers who cause harm intentionally or negligently.
  • Construction companies working on or near the subway tracks that create hazardous conditions.

MTA employees are generally exempt from lawsuits because the MTA takes responsibility for the actions of employees. However, there is an exception when an employee causes harm intentionally or recklessly.

When Is MTA Liable?

The MTA has a duty to maintain safe conditions in the subways, subway stations, and subway tracks. The MTA may be liable if you were injured on the subway due to any of the following conditions:

  • Broken tracks
  • Subway driver error
  • Trash and debris buildup in walking areas
  • Excessive gaps in subway entrances
  • Negligent security
  • Malfunctioning signals
  • Broken seats
  • Malfunctioning subway doors

Comparative Negligence Between Multiple Parties

Our experienced New York subway accident attorneys are dedicated to recovering your full compensation by holding every party who caused or contributed to your injury accountable. We will perform a thorough investigation of your New York train accident to identify all of the underlying causes and contributing parties. We often find that more than one party is liable.

The two primary types of damages available in MTA lawsuit settlements are economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are compensation for your verifiable monetary losses, while non-economic damages are compensation for subjective losses, such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

Under New York’s pure comparative negligence law, plaintiffs can recover compensation even if they are primarily responsible for an accident. However, in claims against the state (or multiple defendants who are less than 50 percent at fault), the defendant is only liable for its “equitable” share of non-economic damages. Our attorneys can evaluate the legal nuances of your case and ensure your full non-economic damages are accounted for.

Punitive damages are unavailable in cases against government agencies in New York. However, you may have grounds to pursue punitive damages against a private company or an MTA employee who contributed to your accident if their conduct was intentional or reckless.

What Are The Challenges of Suing the MTA?

When suing the MTA for injuries, you normally must prove that your injuries occurred as a result of negligence by the MTA. This means proving that an MTA employee caused your injury by failing to uphold a reasonable standard of care. This is the burden of proof in most personal injury lawsuits, but that is where the similarities end. In cases against the MTA, you must overcome additional hurdles because of its status as a public authority.

Notice of Claim Requirement

Before you can sue the MTA, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the incident. The MTA may attempt to reach a settlement with you in response to the Notice of Claim. If you accept a settlement, you will not be able to file a lawsuit. If you do not reach a settlement, you can generally file a lawsuit against the MTA, but you must do so no later than one year and 90 days after the date of the incident. If you miss either of these deadlines, you will lose your right to recover compensation from the MTA.

However, you may still be able to recover compensation against any private parties that contributed to your injuries. The New York personal injury statute of limitations normally gives you up to three years to file a lawsuit against non-government parties, such as individuals and businesses. However, if the MTA is primarily responsible, your compensation may be significantly lower if you cannot include it as a defendant in your lawsuit.

We can protect your right to compensation by filing your notice of claim and lawsuit ahead of the deadlines, but it is crucial that you contact us as soon as possible after the incident. Do not wait to take legal action.

Sovereign Immunity

As a public authority, the MTA functions as a government agency. Historically, government agencies were shielded from lawsuits by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. This is no longer the case.

Under Article 2 § 8 of the Court Acts of New York, the state has waived its sovereign immunity, so it can be held liable if its negligence causes personal injuries. This applies to municipalities and public authorities, such as the MTA, though the legal process of suing these entities can still be more complex than lawsuits against individuals and private entities.

The "Special Duty" Challenge

The MTA can be held liable for negligence that occurs in the performance of its duty to provide transportation to the public. However, though the state has waived its sovereign immunity from civil lawsuits, there are a number of legal doctrines that can complicate the path toward establishing liability.

For example, you may have to prove that the MTA owed you a “special duty” in addition to its duties owed to the general public. A special duty may arise in one of the following circumstances:

  • You belong to a group of people who are protected by a specific statute.
  • The MTA took on additional responsibilities beyond transporting you safely.
  • The MTA took it upon itself to manage a safety hazard.

Chopra & Nocerino is a leading personal injury law firm made up of real New Yorkers, and we are deeply familiar with the legal process of suing the MTA. We fight fearlessly against large corporations and government entities on behalf of our clients, and you can count on our skilled team of attorneys to navigate the legal process so you can focus on recovery.

Reach Out to Our Legal Team if You've Been Injured in a New York Subway Accident

If you or your loved one has been injured in the subway, our knowledgeable New York subway lawyers are ready to fight for you. We are a firm unlike anything else out there and have recovered hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients.

There are no upfront costs when you choose our services—you only pay if we win. Contact us online or call (855) NYC-HURT to schedule a free consultation. Para servir mejor a todos los miembros de nuestra comunidad, ofrecemos servicios en español.

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