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Is it Possible to Sue MTA Transportation in NYC - lady slipped at the subway

Is it Possible to Sue MTA Transportation in NYC?

MTA Transportation Lawsuit

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MTA Transportation Lawsuit

With around two million commuters, residents, and tourists using NYC’s public transit system every day, accidents are bound to happen occasionally. Some of these accidents could potentially be avoided, for example, if they occur due to lack of driver training or MTA’s failure to maintain vehicles and equipment adequately. 

If you experienced an accident and injury on the NYC transit system, you could sue NYC MTA transportation or another responsible party and recover compensation. However, bringing a personal injury lawsuit against MTA, a government entity, can involve some additional hurdles compared to other personal injury lawsuits. An experienced injury lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can help you navigate the legal process and fight for what you deserve. Contact us for free legal advice today.  

What Is the MTA?

The Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) is the largest public transit authority in the United States. The authority provides bus, rail, and subway service in Greater New York. 

NYC residents heavily rely on a functioning and efficient public transit system as most do not own cars and use MTA to get to work, do their shopping, and run their errands. Tourists to New York also depend on MTA’s vast public transit system to see the sights of the Greater New York City area. According to the MTA, annual ridership is approximately 640 million.

Common Accidents on MTA Transportation

Accidents on MTA can happen in various circumstances on buses, trains, at stations, and on platforms. 

Bus Accidents

The NYC area is a bustling place when it comes to road traffic. Bus accidents can have numerous causes, including driver distraction or intoxication, vehicle defects, and other drivers’ dangerous driving. Accidents can also occur due to inclement weather such as ice or snow, or a roadway in disrepair. Common accidents include:

  • Pedestrians and bicyclists getting struck by a bus
  • Passengers falling while getting on or off the bus
  • Passengers getting violently thrown forward due to abrupt braking
  • Collisions of buses with other vehicles on the road 

Subway and Train Accidents

Subways, in particular, can be a convenient and speedy way to get around New York. However, underground tunnels can also prove dangerous. A catastrophic accident in the subway system can cause life-threatening injuries and emotional trauma. Accidents involving subway train derailments, underground fires, or passengers struck by trains can make the news. However, New York City subway riders can also suffer injuries in other minor and major accidents, such as:

  • Slipping and falling while boarding or exiting trains 
  • Falling on slippery platforms, stairs, ramps, and other public areas
  • Getting pushed onto the rails by others 
  • Falling due to a sudden start or stop
  • Getting trapped by closing doors
  • Assaults and attacks at subway and train stations 

If you suffered an injury on MTA transport, and the authority or an employee was responsible, you could sue NYC MTA transportation and receive compensation. That said, you need to act quickly and should consult with an attorney as soon as possible as there are stringent deadlines for filing a lawsuit against a public authority. 

How Frequent Are MTA Accidents?

According to the New York Post, the subway system can be a deathtrap for New York residents and visitors. Disturbingly, violent acts are relatively common, particularly involving subway riders getting pushed onto tracks by others. Figures obtained by The City show that there were at least 720 instances of persons on MTA tracks in 2020. Getting struck by a train is also not a rarity in New York, with more than 180 recorded collisions between MTA trains and persons on the network in 2020.

Injuries in MTA Accidents 

Minor accidents may cause no more than a sprained ankle and some bruises. However, passengers involved in serious collisions, fires, or other catastrophic accidents can suffer life-changing injuries in MTA accidents. According to the American Journal of Surgery, amputations of the extremities can occur in subway accidents. Other injuries in public transit accidents can include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Electrocution
  • Internal bleeding
  • Facial injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Head and brain injuries 
  • Emotional trauma

Unfortunately, not all injuries on public transit are the result of an accident. Assaults and violent robberies on the transport system can leave victims physically and emotionally injured. Victims may face astronomical medical costs for their physical and psychological injuries. However, if your accident or assault happened due to the negligence of MTA, you could receive compensation for your losses and suffering.

Do You Have a Case Against MTA Transportation?

You could have a case against MTA if your accident happened due to negligence or the failure to act, allowing you to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover damages. 

Examples of Negligence by the MTA

In order to recover damages and hold MTA to account for your injuries and expenses, you have to prove that the MTA or an employee was negligent. Examples of negligence can include:

  • Equipment defects and failure
  • Driver error 
  • Hazardous conditions in stations and other areas
  • Lack of driver training and qualifications
  • Poor maintenance of tracks and trains
  • Signal failure
  • Lack of construction safety
  • Lack of adequate security measures

For example, drivers or conductors may be negligent by failing to obey traffic signals and signs, speed limits, or traffic laws. However, the MTA may not be the only responsible or liable party in your case. A personal injury attorney at Morgan & Morgan can analyze your case and determine all liable parties and avenues for pursuing compensation.  

Proving Your Claim

Proving your claim against the MTA or another public agency can be tricky. To recover compensation for your injury or a loved one’s death, you will generally have to show negligence and prove the following four elements of a personal injury lawsuit:

  1. The MTA owed you or a loved one a duty of care 
  2. The MTA breached duty
  3. The breach of duty caused your injury or the passing of your loved one
  4. You suffered damages such as medical costs, pain and anguish, or others

It can be crucial to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side to prove the MTA’s negligence and responsibility for your injury. 

Compensation You Could Recover After an MTA Accident

There is no average settlement for passengers or others injured due to the MTA’s negligence. However, depending on your case and injuries, Morgan & Morgan could help you qualify for the following awards and others:

  • Medical bills and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and future lost income
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Household assistance 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Decreased life quality
  • Disability
  • Loss of limb

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the MTA

According to The City, 63 people died on New York City’s subway system in 2020 alone. If your loved one passed away due to an accident on NYC’s public transit system, you could have a case and receive compensation, such as:

  • Medical costs before death
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Loss of income and benefits from the decedent
  • Loss of companionship

Depending on your case, you could also qualify for additional compensation. If you believe that you have a wrongful death claim, we could help. Consider speaking to our compassionate attorneys as soon as possible. Time limits for filing a wrongful death suit against MTA can be prohibitively short.

Suing a Government Entities Can Be Complicated

If you are hoping to sue the MTA or another NYC government agency, the legal concept of “sovereign immunity” can be a stumbling block to getting what you deserve. Sovereign immunity generally protects the government from getting sued by victims of negligence. While New York City has waived sovereign immunity protection against lawsuits from victims of public transit accidents, some restrictions persist. 

Importantly, if you got injured and want to sue the MTA, you generally have to file a “notice of claim” within 90 days of your accident and injury. Therefore, you have to act very quickly after getting hurt if you want to preserve any chances of pursuing compensation. If you miss the 90-day deadline for filing a notice of claim, you may be unable to sue the MTA.

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What Is the New York Statute of Limitations?

New York’s statute of limitations regarding personal injury lawsuits generally allows victims to file lawsuits for up to three years after their accident. However, the usual statutes of limitations do not apply when suing the government. Moreover, there is an added provision that you must file a notice of claim before you can file a lawsuit. 

You must file a notice of claim to sue the MTA within 90 days of the accident or risk losing the chance to pursue compensation. You may have a good case, but a court could dismiss your lawsuit right away if you fail to file the applicable document. Moreover, you are usually required to file your lawsuit against the MTA within one year and 90 days. 

What Is a Notice of Claim and Why Is It Important?

Sovereign immunity generally protects government agencies from lawsuits. By filing a notice of claim, MTA’s immunity is waived, allowing victims to seek compensation. The notice of claim informs the government agency of your injury or your loved one’s death and usually includes:

  • The victim’s name and address
  • The name and address of the lawyer representing you
  • The facts of the accident, including the date and time
  • Details of the injury 
  • Details of your damages 

It is a good idea to have the document drawn up by an experienced attorney to ensure legal validity. Once the notice is filed, the MTA has 30 days to request a hearing where you will likely have to testify about the accident. You may also have to undergo a physical examination by a doctor determined by the MTA. 

After the hearing, you should be able to commence with filing your lawsuit. Bear in mind that if you intend to sue the MTA, you must file suit within one year and 90 days of your injury. In a wrongful death claim against the authority, you need to file a suit within two years of your loved one’s death.

Do I Have to Go to Court With an MTA Lawsuit?

According to figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), going to court for a personal injury lawsuit is pretty unlikely. The majority of injury compensation claims are settled without going to trial. In most cases, your attorney will aim to negotiate a satisfying settlement with the government agency.

However, settling out of court requires that the parties agree and that MTA accepts responsibility for your accident and damages. If the MTA denies or disputes fault for your injuries, or you have some fault in the accident, your case could move through the court system. In most cases, having a seasoned personal injury attorney by your side can be beneficial. Your attorney can fight vigorously for what you deserve. If a fair out-of-court settlement seems impossible, your lawyer can fight for your rights at trial.

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Case?

If a government authority such as the MTA or an employee is responsible for your accident, consider working with Morgan & Morgan’s determined personal injury attorneys. Holding a government entity to account can involve several additional steps. Without ensuring all documents are filed correctly and on time, your case could simply get thrown out on a technicality, potentially barring you from receiving your rightful payout. 

After getting hurt in an MTA accident, your best next step can be consulting with Morgan & Morgan. We have brought similar lawsuits against government agencies and know how to fight for what you need to move on with your life after suffering an injury. Going it alone can be challenging and overwhelming. While the claims procedure might seem straightforward, making one misstep could put your entire case at risk. Our dedicated lawyers can file the notice of claim and all other necessary legal documents, ensuring you do not miss any critical deadlines.

Contact Morgan & Morgan Now for Help

Experiencing a serious accident on public transportation can be life-changing. Dealing with your injuries while at the same time trying to figure out how to file a lawsuit against MTA can be daunting. It does not have to be this way. Morgan & Morgan’s personal injury attorneys know how to sue MTA NYC transportation and can fight vigorously for justice and compensation on your behalf. You pay nothing unless we win. Get started today and contact us for a free case review.