Recently, 12 riders got hurt when an MTA bus slammed into a Bronx subway pillar. This was the result of an MTA driver suffering a medical episode.
While it’s rare to get injured on the bus or subway, this accident helps demonstrate the fact that you can get injured even if you are on public transportation. Drivers are sometimes negligent or are undertrained and underqualified. Some transit drivers still violate the law and drive under the influence. Busses, subways, and subway tracks are sometimes undermaintained. There are over 6,000 bus crashes in New York City every year.
Crashes aren’t the only source of accidents. In addition, there are ways to get injured in and around the subways, such as getting caught in the doors or slipping onto the tracks.
For example, in a recent case a New York City subway rider died after getting stuck between the platform and the train. Getting wedged between the platform and the train happens a great deal. Doors close very fast on NYC trains, and drivers are in a rush to get to their next destination. In addition, New York has failed to add “gap fillers” to most subway platforms which would prevent many of these accidents.
What to Do After the Accident
You should treat a bus or subway accident exactly like you’d treat any other accident, even if you think the accident is big enough to make the news. While getting medical attention should always be your biggest priority, you should take photos if you can.
It’s also a good idea to get the names and numbers of other, uninjured riders who can serve as witnesses.
Of course, if you are too injured to take either of these steps then all is not lost. We often have to go investigate cases without this initial information simply because our clients were rendered unconscious at the time of the accident. If you are the parent, child, or spouse of someone who died in one of these accidents then you can count on us to thoroughly investigate the case without post-accident photos and witness statements. We can work a case without these things, it just helps us build an even stronger one to have them if we can get them.
Suing MTA or NYCTA
If you are injured in a bus or subway accident you do have an opportunity to sue these organizations. You must move fast. You have just 90 days to inform the city that you intend to make a claim.
You shouldn’t expect these cases to be easy. New York will fight hard to show why they shouldn’t be held accountable for the accident. For example, when the bus slammed into the pillar it’s highly likely the MTA’s lawyer argued or will argue that because the accident was caused by an unforeseen medical issue, there is no negligence, and the city should not have to pay for the injuries.
The MTA does not purchase insurance. It pays its own claims. You can expect them to fight tooth and nail to lower the value of your claim. You can expect them to try to claim a lack of responsibility. If possible, they may even claim your own errors were responsible for your accident or injury. It takes a very experienced personal injury attorney to handle these cases successfully.
Suing Other Parties
Sometimes third parties are the responsible party. For example, defective and dangerous parts can cause bus or subway accidents. When that happens, the manufacturer may be liable instead. Sometimes another driver is responsible.
When third parties are responsible for the accident, you have a two-year statute of limitations, but it’s still important to move fast. First, it’s usually difficult to ascertain whether a part was at fault on the basis of the accident alone. Second, the MTA or NYCTA may still bear at least partial responsibility for the accident.
Third, you want your lawyer going after the relevant evidence just as quickly as possible. Witnesses tend to drop out of contact over time. Evidence has an alarming tendency to disappear. We need to get our bus or subway accident reconstructionist on the scene just as quickly as possible.
Get Help Today
You can call a lawyer at any point during the personal injury process. You can even call us the minute you’re feeling medically capable of doing so. This will allow us to deal with insurance companies on your behalf, to file claims on time, to secure evidence of negligence, and to help you get full compensation for your accident.
Contact us to schedule a case review today.