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Who’s Liable for NYC Public Transportation Accidents?


Millions of New Yorkers rely on the city’s subway and bus systems for public transportation each day. Unfortunately, when a bus, train, station, or platform is not well-maintained, dangerous conditions can occur that lead to slip and falls, trip and falls, and other types of accidents. If the negligence of the MTA is to blame for the accident, the entity may be held liable for the victim’s damages in a personal injury lawsuit.

When Is the MTA Liable for an Accident?

Of the many potential hazards in New York City’s transit system, trips, slips, and falls are among the most common types of accidents. Like any other property owner, the MTA has a duty to keep the premises within its control in a reasonably safe condition. If the MTA had written notice of the dangerous condition at least 15 days before the accident and failed to warn about it or remedy it, the agency may be held accountable for any injuries that arise as a result.   

The MTA is responsible not only for the trains and many of the buses that travel through the five boroughs, but also for the MTA bus stations, train stations, and subway stations across the city — as well as various other locations. Slip or trip and falls can occur on property owned and maintained by the MTA due to a variety of conditions, including:

  • Potholes, depressions, and cracks in the sidewalk or floor
  • Defective sidewalk grating
  • Failure to remove snow and ice
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Poorly maintained surfaces
  • Malfunctioning escalators
  • Lack of signage

If you can establish that the MTA’s negligence caused the accident that led to your injuries, you may be entitled to recover your economic and non-economic damages in a personal injury action. This can include your unreimbursed medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs in connection with the accident, and the pain and suffering you experienced due to your injuries.

Filing a Notice of Claim

When pursuing a claim against a city entity such as the MTA, it’s crucial to be aware that there are strict statutes of limitation in place. These time frames are different from those that apply when bringing a lawsuit against a private property owner. Significantly, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days from the accident. Failure to do so can forever bar you from bringing a lawsuit for your damages.

Once the Notice of Claim has been filed, the MTA has 30 days to request a hearing at which you will be asked a series of questions about the accident. After the hearing, the MTA may make a settlement offer — if it is not acceptable, you can proceed with filing a lawsuit to recover the full extent of your damages. While there is generally a three-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury action, the deadline is shortened to one year and ninety days for accidents involving an entity, agency, or authority of the City of New York, such as the MTA.    

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the MTA or another city agency may feel daunting. It’s best to have a skilled personal injury attorney by your side who can guide you through the process and fight for your right to fair compensation. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have over three decades of experience helping NYC bus accident victims obtain the monetary recovery they deserve for their injuries. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.