Public Transit Accidents
Whether you are a motorist, bicyclist, pedestrian, or passenger, an accident involving public transit is a very real threat in New York City. The New York City Transit Authority is the largest public transportation agency in North America, operating over 6,000 subway cars and nearly 6,000 buses. And NYC Transit is only one piece of the large Metropolitan Transit Authority, which in addition to NYC Transit runs MTA Bus, Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Bus, bridges and tunnels, and more. Then there is the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, in charge of America’s busiest airport system, marine terminals and ports, the PATH rail transit system, several bridges and tunnels, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, and more. Public transit agencies continue to abound, such as Metro North Railroad, Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and many others.
New York City relies heavily on public transit, but the instruments of public transit can prove deadly when operated negligently or recklessly. As noted on our page on Bus Accidents, even a full-size SUV is no match for a 12-ton city bus, much less a speeding train. Transit passengers are also at risk of being injured in a collision, or on crowded platforms and stations, where there is a risk of being trapped in between doors or falling off a platform.
Special Rules for Public Transit Accidents
When an accident involves public transportation, you cannot file a lawsuit without first filing a notice of claim with the appropriate agency. Filing the notice gives the agency time to investigate the accident and offer a settlement. Do not be fooled into thinking this is an easy process, or one that you can accomplish on your own. There are many pitfalls that can spell disaster for an inexperienced person trying to pursue a claim against a transit authority.
First of all, the notice must be filed within 90 days of the accident. The notice must be in writing and must meet certain specificity requirements as to when and where the accident happened, the nature of the accident, and the injuries which resulted. The precise components of the notice differ depending upon the size of the municipality involved.
This notice must be properly served on the appropriate agency. As noted above, the number of different transit agencies is legion, and it is not often obvious which agency is responsible. Filing a claim with the wrong agency can be disastrous to your case, causing you to miss the deadline for filing with the appropriate agency.
Keep in mind that there are agency employees who do nothing but handle these claims day in and day out. They are experts in the procedural rules and in investigating claims and making determinations. In order to preserve your rights and have the best chance at a successful resolution of your claim, it is best to be represented by a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your case. In New York City, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C.