Hurt on a Subway: Know Who Is Liable


If you've ever ridden the subway, then you know that there is a potential for things to go wrong. Trains could crash into one another, or there could be a defect that results in a single train collision or sudden stop. In any case, there is a risk of the people on board getting hurt.

Whether it is due to a fire, sudden stop, or a problem in the subway station, you need to know your rights when it comes to making a claim. A personal injury can take you off your feet for days or weeks, months or years. The person responsible for those injuries should have to pay for your recovery.

Who is liable in the case of a subway crash?

The first thing to consider is who owns the train station or subway station where the accident occurred. Most rapid mass transit systems are owned by the government. If they aren't, they still may be housed in stations that are owned by the government. You will need to find out if it is a private party or the government who is the owner of the particular subway involved in your incident.

If it is the government that is the owner of the subway, there is another issue. The problem is sovereign immunity. With sovereign immunity, the government cannot be sued unless it agrees to be sued. The good news in your case is that, if the accident happens in New York, the state has waived sovereign immunity. You retain the right to sue the government if and when necessary.

You will need to file a notice of claim before you file a lawsuit if you plan to try to recover compensation from the state or a municipality.

What do you need when you file a claim?

Once you know whom you can hold accountable, you'll want to make sure to provide copies of medical documents, lost wages and other important receipts. Photographs or videos of your injuries or the incident may also help your case. Having some information about the costs you're expecting in the future will also help you know when you're being offered a fair settlement and if it's appropriate to take it at that time. If not, then you may need to negotiate or continue by taking your case to court for a judge to decide on a fair amount of compensation.