How to stay safe on the subway

by Alex

As the busiest transit system in North America, the New York City subway system offers an economical way to get around the city. Most of the time, riding the subway is safe and convenient. There are some precautions, however, that may reduce your chances of being injured on a train.

However, injuries and accidents do happen. If you or someone you know is injured in the NYC subway due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to reach out to Shulman & Hill’s team of personal injury attorneys.

Key Takeaways Icon

Key Takeaways

  • Safety tips for when you are on or near a subway train
  • Frequently asked questions about NYC subway safety
  • Legal resources for if you are injured on or near the NYC subway

Keep a Safe Distance from the Train and Tracks

It is essential for your safety to stand back from the platform’s edge, well behind the yellow line. There are instances where individuals waiting for a train too close to the platform’s edge have fallen onto the tracks due to unforeseeable circumstances.

Do Not Retrieve Fallen Objects

Do not attempt to retrieve a belonging that fell onto the tracks. No matter how valuable it is, it is not worth the risk of being injured. Contact an MTA employee for assistance.

Do Not Lean Against the Subway Doors

A malfunctioning door can open unexpectedly before a train has entered the station. Anyone who is leaning against a subway door that suddenly opens can easily lose their balance and fall to the tracks below. If you cannot find an open seat, use the railings and straps to help maintain your balance.

Watch out for Wet Walkways

Subway stations can have walking surfaces that are wet for many reasons. Either rain or melted snow gets tracked into the platform area, or unaddressed spills get forgotten and threaten passengers’ walking stability. When getting around subway stations, keep an eye out for possible hazards where you step.

NYC Subway Safety FAQs:

How Often do NYC Subway Cars Crash?

There have been less than 70 major train accidents in New York City since 1918, making subway crashes relatively uncommon. However, when they do occur they can result in multiple injuries and fatalities. Today, most subway accidents involve someone slipping and falling onto the tracks.

What Causes NYC Subways to Derail?

A train can derail as a result of speeding and rounding curves too quickly, mechanical failures in a metro’s automated signaling system, operator error, and the elements. Operator errors can include incorrect track switches, falling asleep behind the wheel, or operating a train while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Derailments caused by the elements most commonly affect “ground-level train systems” such as Amtrak and the Metro-North Railroad because these trains use tracks built on top of the soil, which is inherently unstable and vulnerable to water, plant growth, and other naturally occurring factors. The heavier the train is on the soil, the more likely derailment becomes.

What Was the Deadliest NYC Subway Crash?

With a death toll of almost 100 and about 250 reported injuries, the Malbone Street wreck, also known as the Brighton Beach Line accident, remains the deadliest crash in the New York City subway’s history and in the history of the United States. This subway crash happened on November 1, 1918 and involved a derailment in the tunnel beneath Willink Plaza. The causes of the accident included an inexperienced operator, the “serpentine layout” of the track, and the weight of the train cars.

What Injuries Can Result from a Subway Accident?

Injuries that commonly result from subway accidents include:

  • Bone fractures and dislocations
  • Severe head trauma
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries, including whiplash
  • Internal bleeding and punctured organs
  • Electrocution
  • Dismemberment
  • Injuries to ligaments, muscles, and tendons

When Can the MTA be Held Liable for an NYC Subway Accident?

When a subway accident is caused by dangerous unaddressed property conditions or operator negligence, it may be possible to hold the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) accountable for the resulting damages. Passengers who are injured by an accident caused by an operator who was speeding, ignoring signals, or acting similarly carelessly may be able to file a lawsuit. In some cases, the MTA may also be considered responsible for a subway accident if it was caused by a malfunctioning train, a problem with the tracks or signals, and/or dangerous property conditions in the train station.

Can I File a Lawsuit after Being Injured on the NYC Subway?

If the MTA’s negligence caused or contributed to your injuries, you may be able to sue them for damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and relevant lost wages. A local lawyer can help you determine who may be liable for your New York City subway accident injuries and take appropriate legal action on your behalf.

Injured on the Subway? Get in Touch with an Attorney

If you are planning to use the New York City subway system, we hope these tips will help you stay safe and understand your rights in the event you are ever hurt. If you are ever injured in a subway station or on a train, get in touch with the NYC lawyers with Shulman & Hill today.

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