New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employs around 65,000 people to maintain a total of 842 miles of subway track. Yet, MTA's new president, Andy Byford, has admitted that subway conditions are a disaster.
Subway stairwells can be hazardous if they are dirty, uneven, slippery or distracting. If you've slipped and fallen down a subway stairwell -- you're not alone. Here are a few examples of high-profile stairwell slip-and-fall accidents that have happened in New York City subway stations.
When steps can't be seen
A tragic case involving an elderly Bronx woman, 69, resulted in a $16 million payout after the woman fell down New York City subway steps and suffered severe brain damage.
One defense in a personal injury case is that the lighting was not adequate for the plaintiff to see the hazard that he or she slipped on. In this case, the woman was unable to see a large gash in the subway steps, which led to her fall.
The step that was too high
A video went viral in recent years after a commuter noticed everyone tripping over one particular stair in a Brooklyn subway station and decided to record footage of the falls. In the video, a father holding a small child can be seen almost diving forward up the stairs along with a number of other dangerous close calls.
The video received hundreds of thousands of views within the first week it was posted, prompting the MTA to react fast. No lawsuits were filed, as the MTA immediately blocked off the staircase and began repairs.
The Dexter advertisement
An advertisement promoting the popular television program, Dexter, was plastered across a New York City subway stairwell in 2014. The ad caused an alarmed pedestrian to take a tumble down the steps that resulted in a broken ankle. She sued the MTA, Showtime and the city.
After a snowstorm
You may wonder at the likelihood of winning a lawsuit against the MTA over slipping and falling on icy steps. Personal injury actions have been filed before that alleged the MTA neglected responsibility to clear off icy steps.
However, these lawsuits are not often successful. By law, the MTA is allowed a reasonable amount of time to maintain stair safety in an adequate manner. The morning following a large snowstorm is not likely to hold up as an adequate amount of time for workers to clear the stairwells of all subway stations.
When can you sue the MTA?
Suing the MTA isn't possible unless the organization received prior written notice of the slip-and-fall hazard at least 15 days prior to an accident. Even after receiving notice of a hazard, such as slippery conditions or a step that's too tall, the MTA is allotted a "reasonable" amount of time to address the issue.
However, some exceptions may apply, such as if the MTA caused an unreasonably dangerous condition. An example of this may be if repairs or construction work by the MTA cause danger.
If you need help
Though efforts to design a better subway for New York City have been proposed, major delays caused by construction have made some commuters wary. Without improvement, more accidents are liable to happen.
If you have been injured by dangerous conditions on MTA property, you may be able to take action. Try to gather photo evidence and witnesses at the scene. Next, speak with an attorney about the situation. An attorney will advise whether you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.