What to Do If You Were Injured on the Subway in New York City

A dynamic scene capturing a subway train rapidly accelerating, showcasing the energy and movement of urban transportation.

While taking the subway one day, the train suddenly lurches and grinds to a halt. Many of the passengers, including yourself, are severely injured because of the abrupt stop. Now, you’ve got to visit the hospital, pay medical bills, and miss a few days or weeks of work to recover. Thankfully, there is a way to get compensation for your injuries: filing a premises liability case.

Taking legal action after being injured while riding the New York City subway can be a daunting process. In order to do so, riders must prove that their injuries were caused by negligence. This is why it’s essential for anyone injured on the subway to call a lawyer with experience in premises liability cases and collect as much evidence as possible, including pictures from the scene, witness statements, medical bills, and so on. If riders are able to provide sufficient evidence in straightforward premises liability cases, then they may be eligible for compensation after being injured on the subway.

While it’s never desirable to find oneself in such a situation, having access to legal resources can offer some peace of mind through what can otherwise be a stressful process. The Pagan Law Firm has created this article as a guide for those who have suffered injury in a New York City subway accident. We will discuss:

  • What is the MTA and can you sue them for a subway accident?
  • What are the common causes of subway accidents?
  • What types of injuries can you suffer from in a subway accident?
  • What should you do after the subway accident?
  • Why should you hire a lawyer to help with a premises liability claim or case?
  • And more

Keep reading to learn more about subway accident premises liability claims. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries because of a subway system accident, please contact us and let us help.

What Is the MTA and Can You Sue Them for a Subway Accident?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is the government agency that oversees all operations involved in the New York City public transportation system. The body’s jurisdiction is not limited to just trains, as the MTA is also responsible for managing buses, tunnels, bridges, and other areas revolving around public transportation in a 5,000-square-mile travel area. That includes New York City, Long Island, and southeastern New York State.

To receive compensation for an injury suffered on someone else’s property due to no fault of your own, you need to be able to hold another party liable, meaning their negligence caused the accident to happen. The property owner failed to take measures to keep visitors (or in your case, subway passengers) safe from various hazards that could result in injuries. You’ll need to file a premises liability case against the property owner in order to receive compensation.

So, who is the “property owner” of the New York City subway? The answer is the MTA. They are the agency that’s responsible for all things concerning the subway system, meaning they’re also the ones who have to ensure that passengers are safe from hazardous or dangerous conditions. This includes physical security against criminals and lawbreakers. Passengers getting injured means that the MTA and its sub-agency, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), failed to ensure that the system is safe for all commuters.

Aside from the MTA and NYCTA, you may sue third-party entities that contributed to your injuries, such as engineering companies and manufacturers that made faulty parts or maintenance companies who made insufficient repairs. However, cases that pursue compensation from these entities can no longer be classified as premises liability cases since these entities are not responsible for premises. The subway system is considered someone else’s property – the MTA’s.

Reach out to The Pagan Law Firm immediately if you have been injured due to a subway accident. We have a proven track record of success and will fight to get the compensation you deserve.

Causes of Subway Accidents in the New York Subway System

A New York subway accident can happen because of a single factor or multiple factors, and sometimes cannot be avoided. The following factors are due to negligence, which means you can file a lawsuit with the help of a premises liability attorney.

Poor Maintenance

Given that the subway system has many moving parts, can be exposed to weather phenomena and natural disasters, and is used by millions of people daily, it should undergo regular maintenance. With routine checks, the system can maintain its integrity and remain operational.

Poor maintenance happens when workers fail to check all components and areas that need to be evaluated or repaired. Incorrect or low-grade parts used to replace faulty ones can also create hazardous conditions, which might eventually lead to accidents and injured passengers.


Derailment happens when a train leaves its tracks accidentally, and it’s one of the most dangerous things that can happen in a subway system carrying passengers. While this type of accident can occur because of various factors, broken tracks are the most common cause. Another factor is faulty or broken crossties, which can cause misalignment on the tracks.

When the wheels pass through a defective track, they will disengage from the path, leading the train on a collision course with the surrounding tunnel walls. While derailments are rare events, they can be highly destructive and cause severe injuries and even death.

Defective Parts

Another common cause of accidents on the New York City subway is defective parts. During maintenance or repair work, workers might need to install or replace parts. If these components are sourced from substandard manufacturers, then they might start to cause even more issues, like broken tracks or unresponsive control systems.

The MTA is responsible for finding suppliers that can provide quality parts for repairs, maintenance, and new additions to the subway system. Working with companies that offer low-quality or defective parts makes the MTA liable for injuries caused by these faulty components.

Debris on the Track

Almost half of the New York City subway operates above ground and the tracks are prone to debris accumulation. These objects could range from something as innocuous as plastic bags to large obstructions like rocks and scrap metal parts. Big enough debris can cause delays, deform train wheels, and in rare cases, derail trains.

The MTA is responsible for hiring maintenance workers who can go over the tracks, find any debris, and remove the objects before they cause damage to the train and injure passengers. Should the latter happen, the MTA is responsible for providing compensation thanks to NY premises liability law.


Fires are another issue that may cause injuries to New York City subway passengers. These events are not exclusive to just the trains, happening at the stations themselves or wherever something flammable is present. Being caught in a fire on the subway can result in severe burns and respiratory problems.

The MTA can be held liable if you were injured during a subway fire. As the property owners, the agency is responsible for ensuring that the system has adequate measures to avoid fires and contain them should they happen. If a fire did occur, you’ll need to prove that it was the MTA’s negligence that resulted in your burns and other injuries.

Improper Door Closings

Subway doors are equipped with safety features that help lessen the instances of injuries in case they accidentally close on someone. However, these sensors are not always foolproof. You can still get severely injured with bruises and fractures if the doors suddenly close on you. In some cases, the closing doors can cause you to fall over, which may result in head injuries or sprains.

The MTA hires onboard conductors who are in charge of operating the doors. The agency is also responsible for the sensor systems and the software to operate them. If there are injuries caused by improper door closings, the injured party can hold the MTA responsible for damages.

Computer Failures

Most of today’s subway operations are controlled by sophisticated computer software, allowing for automated processes that are much safer than manual methods. However, computer systems are not infallible, and the errors they make can result in severe accidents.

Computers control many functions, like how tracks change directions, when a train should stop, and what speed it should take, meaning any errors can result in collisions or derailment, which may lead to grievous injuries or even death. The MTA is in charge of implementing these programs and software so they can also be sued in a premises liability case if you’re injured thanks to computer failures.

Broken Stairs and Escalators

Premises liability cases cover everything that happens on the premises, not just on train tracks or other main areas of operation in the case of the New York City subway. Even if you were injured because of hazardous stairs or escalator accidents, the MTA is still liable to pay compensation for your injuries should a premises liability lawyer prove their negligence.

Accidents on the staircases can result from a lack of signs indicating hazards, failure to detect and fix issues, and subpar floor material that doesn’t provide enough grip when wet. On the other hand, mechanical failures in escalators can result in “escalator runaways” that severely injure riders. Poorly installed escalators can also cause limb entrapment.

Snow and Ice Accidents

They may seem innocuous, but compacted snow and ice on the tracks can result in many issues, including derailment. That’s why it’s important for the MTA to send workers and ice removal equipment and ensure tracks aren’t going to fail because of ice or snow.

It’s not just tracks that can become hazardous thanks to icy coverings, even stairs and floors can become slippery.

The MTA is responsible for ensuring that weather phenomena don’t cause injuries for passengers and workers alike. If the conditions are severe enough, the sections of the subway system (or its entirety) should be suspended to prioritize passenger safety. If the MTA fails to take preventative actions against ice accidents, inadequate maintenance, and other concerns, then an injured person may file a personal injury or premises liability case.

Violence and Criminal Activity Due to Lack of Security

Another common cause of injury is violence and criminal activity on the subway system. It may seem as though people’s criminal acts should be dealt with by filing a criminal case, but you can still file a premises liability case against the MTA. That’s because negligent security falls under premises liability law.

Inadequate building security is the reason why people with lethal weapons are able to enter the subway. The MTA, as the property owner of the subway system, is responsible for putting up measures like competent security guards and detection systems. Without these protections in place, criminals will have no difficulty assaulting or harming passengers. You can file a premises liability claim against the MTA for negligent security if you were injured because of these criminal acts.

If you have been injured due to any of the above reasons, it is best to speak with a premises liability attorney immediately. Contact The Pagan Law Firm today to discuss your case.

Types of Injuries That May Occur From Subway Accidents

Due to the factors we’ve outlined above, accidents like slips and falls, train crashes, and electrical accidents can occur. If you experienced the following injuries, contact a New York premises liability lawyer to start filing a claim.

  • Bone Injuries: Broken fingers, legs, arms, ribs, and even spinal columns can all occur during a subway accident. Slip and fall accidents on subway premises are a common cause of bone injuries. Abrupt stops can also cause riders to collide with train interiors and other passengers, which may result in broken bones.
  • Head Injuries: Similar to bones, the head is prone to damage during a subway incident. A train derailment or sudden stops/starts can cause mild traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and whiplash. Severe head injuries can result in cognitive issues, memory loss, and other health issues that affect a person’s way of life.
  • Electrocution: Electricity serves as the power source for the New York City subway system, so it’s not uncommon for passengers to suffer electrical accidents. Exposed wires, the third rail, and other areas or situations can create dangerous conditions that may shock, burn, or even electrocute riders. The MTA must place adequate measures to prevent such injuries from happening.
  • Dismemberment: Losing limbs, or dismemberment, is another type of injury you can suffer after a subway accident due to an unsafe or defective condition. Being crushed in between the platform and the train during a derailment can result in severed limbs. You can also get toes trapped inside faulty escalators, which can result in dismemberment in severe cases.
  • Internal Injuries: A subway accident may cause injuries that are not visible at first. These internal injuries are dangerous if left untreated. You could suffer long-lasting or permanent problems that will affect the rest of your life.
  • Muscle and Ligament Injuries: Similar to your bones, your muscles and ligaments can be injured because of a slip and fall, a train crash, or other types of subway accidents. While muscle injuries are often not as severe as other issues, you could still miss days of work and pay medical bills while recovering, which entitles you to compensation.
  • Paralysis: One of the most severe injuries you can suffer because of a train accident is a spinal column injury. The back can get crushed, resulting in permanent paralysis. Your life will be forever altered because of inadequate maintenance, subpar materials, lack of safety protocols, and other factors leading to the accident and stemming from the MTA’s negligence.
  • Death: In the worst-case scenario, a train accident can result in a loved one’s death. If the departed’s loved ones are able to prove that the MTA’s negligence caused the person’s untimely death, then the agency is under a legal obligation to provide compensation.

Contact The Pagan Law Firm today to speak with an experienced lawyer if your or a loved one has been injured on the subway. Fill out our online contact form to get in touch with us now.

What to Do After a Subway Accident and How to Sue the MTA

Experiencing a subway accident is already a traumatic event. If you get injured, you may be in a state of shock or panic. However, it’s important to have presence of mind after the event and follow certain steps to make sure you will be compensated appropriately.

First, seek immediate medical help. If you have severe injuries, your priority must be to get treatment so you can avoid lasting damage and life-threatening complications. If you’re able, take pictures of the incident site and get the contact details of those who were around to see the incident. Witness statements will be endlessly helpful if your case isn’t a straightforward premises liability case. You should also report the incident to the local police as well as the MTA or NYCTA.

Filing a civil case against the MTA or NYCTA is not as simple as other types of premises liability cases. Even though these entities are the equivalent of commercial property owners in more conventional lawsuits, the MTA and NYCTA are still public authorities so there are special requirements and steps to take in order to bring a case forward.

Among the most important of these steps is filing a Notice of Claim. This document will outline the details of the subway accident, including how the accident happened, the nature of the injuries, and other details. If you fail to submit the Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident, then any lawsuit you’ll submit to a New York court will be dismissed. There is also a statute of limitations of one year from the date of the claim submission for filing personal injury cases.

How a Lawyer Can Help With Premises Liability Cases

The complex process of filing a premises liability case is often daunting, especially when you’re facing giants like the MTA or NYCTA. Thankfully, you can hire experienced personal injury attorneys to assist you. Lawyers at The Pagan Law Firm understand the process involved in filing a premises liability case against government agencies. We can help you:

  • File a Notice of Claim before the 90 days have expired, ensuring that all the required details are included.
  • Bring forth a lawsuit before the statute of limitations ends.
  • Gather evidence and find witnesses that can help strengthen your premises liability case.
  • Serve as your representative in negotiations and the court of law.
  • Provide legal counsel so you’ll know what to do and say as the plaintiff.
  • Help you navigate around the red tape and the savvy techniques used by the agencies’ legal teams to dismiss cases or lower the compensation you’ll get.

The purpose of filing a premise liability case against the MTA is to help you get compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered. With the help of competent personal injury lawyers, you can receive financial compensation for obvious expenses like medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation and therapy, temporary and permanent disability, and more.

Contact The Pagan Law Firm to Help With Your Premises Liability Case

The New York City subway was created to be a safe and convenient way for people to travel around the metropolitan area. While the MTA and NYCTA are tasked with keeping the system safe, acts of negligence may result in accidents and bodily injury to passengers. Lack of warning signs, inadequate security, poor maintenance practices, and other factors all create an unsafe environment where obvious and potential dangers are left unaddressed.

If you’ve been hurt in a subway accident, you’ll need to prove that the MTA was negligent. This process is the only way you can get maximum compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. The premises liability attorneys of The Pagan Law Firm can help. We’ll serve as your legal counsel and will work diligently to help you get the justice you deserve.

Ready to file your premises liability claim? Fill out our online contact form or call us at 212-967-8202 to schedule a free consultation.

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