If you live in or around New York City, you’ve likely used the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to get from place to place. Millions of people rely on the MTA to get safely to their destinations, but safety is never a guarantee. If you or a loved one are injured on MTA property due to the company’s negligence, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
To learn more, keep reading and discover the details of suing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Or, if you prefer, you can reach out to Schwartzapfel Lawyers directly online or at 516-342-2200 for a free consultation.
What Is The MTA?
The MTA is the largest single transportation network, servicing approximately 15 million people over 5,000 mi.² People who use public transportation rely on the MTA to travel through New York City, Long Island, Connecticut, and southeastern New York.
To this end, the MTA boasts the largest bus fleet in the United States, as well as an extensive inventory of commuter rail cars and subway cars. With this comes the enormous responsibility of ensuring that its travelers get to their destinations safe and sound.
Nonetheless, it’s not possible to prevent all accidents, and so no one person is completely immune to the potential hazards that may arise while being serviced by the MTA.
MTA Injuries and Accidents
Accidents can occur on or around MTA property because of negligence or due to pure chance. For example, someone might be impacted by an MTA bus if they cross the street without looking both ways, or someone might fall onto MTA-owned subway tracks if they get a little too close to the platform.
Depending on the circumstances of your incident, you might suffer injuries that range from minor to severe, including but not limited to:
- Contusions (i.e., bruising)
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
In some circumstances, these injuries might be so financially devastating or expensive that you have no choice but to sue the at-fault party and recover damages. While you may already know you can sue a private individual or company for damages, what happens when you want to sue a government-owned operation like the MTA?
Can You Sue The MTA For Injuries?
Despite being a municipal organization, it is possible to sue the MTA in New York if you are injured because of its negligence or other wrongful actions. Because the MTA is a government agency, you must follow very specific steps in order to successfully sue them and recover damages.
You can only sue the MTA if it is apparent that:
- The MTA was negligent. The MTA has a responsibility to provide safe, secure transportation solutions and infrastructure for passengers. If the MTA was negligent through its policies or employees, it could be liable for any injuries you sustained. For example, an employee may not operate a bus properly, or the MTA might not alert passengers to the presence of an icy patch at a subway station, leading to injuries.
- The negligence of the MTA directly led to your injuries. For example, if you slip and fall in an MTA subway station but don’t suffer any injuries, you probably won’t be able to sue the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The negligence must have directly led or contributed to your injuries, even if you are partially responsible for them.
Note: If you were injured on MTA property for no particular fault of any party, you likely would not have grounds for a lawsuit. For instance, if it’s in the middle of a snowstorm and you slip and fall at an MTA subway station, the MTA may not be held liable for fresh snowfall that shortly after becomes a hazard.
Liability In MTA-Related Incidents
The MTA could be liable for any injuries or incidents that occur on owned property or for the actions of its employees. Here are some examples:
- An MTA employee does not drive a subway or bus properly, leading to injuries
- The MTA doesn’t maintain safe bus stops or subway stops despite allowing them to remain in use
- The MTA doesn’t maintain its vehicles properly, leading to breaks or an incident
In all of these instances, the MTA may be found liable for any injuries sustained in related incidents.
You should, however, that pure comparative negligence rules also indicate that you could be held partially responsible for your own injuries. For instance, if you are hit by an MTA bus, but you should have looked before crossing the street, a court might find that you are 50% liable for your injuries, reducing your overall damages by 50%.
How To Sue The MTA For Getting Hurt
Because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is an official government organization, you can’t sue the MTA the same way you can sue a private individual or company. You instead need to follow these steps.
File A Notice Of Claim
First, you’ll need to file a Notice of Claim. The Notice of Claim informs the MTA that you intend to sue it for damages and gives this organization the opportunity to respond. It’s similar to filing a lawsuit papers or divorce papers to another person in public.
You’ll submit the Notice of Claim to the New York City Comptroller’s Office in person or online. You have (90) days from the date of the incident that caused your injuries to do this. Think of this as an initial statute of limitations you must abide by if you hope to file a lawsuit. If you miss the 90-day time frame, it likely won’t matter what evidence you have or if the MTA is responsible for your injuries.
Wait For An Official Response
After filing the Notice of Claim, you have to wait (30) days for the MTA to issue an official response. At this point, the MTA may either deny responsibility for your injuries or offer you a financial settlement.
Your attorneys may advise you to accept a settlement or not, depending on the strength of your case, the evidence they can collect, and a variety of other factors. If you aren’t sure whether you should accept a settlement, schedule a free consultation with Schwartzapfel Lawyers either online or at 516-342-2200 today!
File Your Lawsuit
Should you choose to go through with the lawsuit, now it’s time to file your claim. You have to do this within one year of submitting your Notice of Claim to the MTA. This is a much shorter statute of limitations compared to the normal personal injury timeline.
Since things can move quickly, be sure to hire experienced attorneys to assist you throughout the process. The right attorneys can help you throughout the lawsuit by performing services like:
- Collecting effective evidence for you. This can be highly important, as the MTA will probably not accept a lawsuit lying down. Appropriate evidence can include video or photographic evidence, medical bills, eyewitness accounts, and more.
- Providing sound legal counsel regarding settlements, arbitration offers, and more. If you aren’t sure what the best decision is for your family and finances, your attorneys can ensure you make the ideal choice going forward.
- Representing you in court. If the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will likely determine whether the MTA is ultimately liable for your injuries. Having knowledgeable attorneys at your side will probably allow you to represent yourself more effectively and ensure that your evidence is presented as compellingly as possible.
Bottom line: You should never go to trial without qualified attorneys on your side. That’s because this is the surest way to maximize the potential damages you could get from the MTA.
Potential Damages From An MTA Lawsuit
If you’re MTA lawsuit is successful, you may recover significant financial compensation and benefits to pay for:
- Legal fees. If you work with the right attorneys, they will likely operate on a contingency fee basis, so you likely won’t need to worry about paying them unless you recover compensation.
- Past and future medical bills that are related to the MTA incident and your injuries.
- Pain and suffering.
- Lost income due to time spent away from work.
- Lost abilities if your injuries resulted in permanent disfigurement or disability.
- Loss of companionship if you are suing the MTA for the wrongful death of a loved one.
- And more!
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
If you’re unsure whether you can or should sue the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, don’t wait until it’s too late. Instead, contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers right away. Our experienced attorneys can provide you with legal counsel, help you gather evidence, and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and recover all the money and benefits you’re entitled to.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!