Have you ever ridden the New York Subway and were afraid it might derail? Suddenly, you had just watched the Final Destination trilogy, and the scenes were too much imagination for your mind. Injuries everywhere, fire, electricity, combustion, broken glass, and one question on the mind of a Subway accident lawyer: who should be held responsible for these events?
Thank goodness Final Destination is just a movie. Although New York Subway has not been accident-free in its entire history. It would be great to be able to say that nothing serious ever happened on this public mass transit service. However, it is not possible. Accidents have knocked on the door of the Subway on more than one occasion.
Some of the most notable accidents on the New York subway in the last ten years, which attracted much of press attention because of the risk involved, were the following:
● 2014 Harlem Subway Explosion: An electrical fire and explosion occurred in a subway tunnel in Harlem, resulting in power outages and service disruptions.
● 2015 Brooklyn Subway Train Derailment: A subway train derailed in Brooklyn, causing several injuries and impacting service on the F and G lines.
● 2016 Queens Subway Stabbing Incident: A stabbing incident on a subway train in Queens left multiple passengers injured and raised concerns about passenger safety.
● 2017 Bronx Subway Train Collision: Two subway trains collided in the Bronx, causing injuries to passengers and disrupting service along the 1 and 2 lines.
● 2017 Harlem Subway Derailment: A subway train derailed near Harlem, resulting in numerous injuries and service disruptions along the A, B, C, and D lines.
● 2018 Brooklyn Subway Escalator Malfunction: An escalator malfunctioned in a Brooklyn subway station, causing injuries to passengers and prompting safety reviews.
● 2018 Times Square Subway Collision: Two subway trains collided near Times Square, causing injuries and significant delays for commuters.
● 2019 Brooklyn Subway Platform Collapse: A section of a subway platform collapsed in Brooklyn, injuring several passengers waiting for a train.
● 2020 Manhattan Subway Fire: A subway car caught fire in Manhattan, leading to a chaotic evacuation and smoke-related injuries.
● 2021 Bronx Subway Flood: Heavy rains flooded subway stations in the Bronx, leaving passengers stranded and subway lines temporarily suspended.
However, even with the risks implied by a transportation system that has been in use for many years, this system is massively used in the city. Can you imagine New York City being without a subway for a while? What alternatives would there be for all the people who do not have a private car?
Considering that car insurance is relatively auto compared to other states, in addition to the problem of finding parking and the traffic to deal with, many people residing in Brooklyn and New York, in general, choose to use the Subway as an alternative that frees them from these other concerns.
While they are relieved of worries such as finding parking, paying parking tickets, having something stolen from their car if they leave it on a dangerous street, or getting stuck in traffic, they are not relieved of the risk that the Subway will be affected by a technical malfunction. Who can control that? How can that risk be mitigated?
The State of New York, through its authorities, is supposed to look after the welfare of its citizens by providing quality transportation services. Sometimes, though, accidents happen.
Then a new debate begins, that kind of debate in which lawyers specialized in this type of case have conflicting positions: On whom does the legal responsibility fall when an accident of this type occurs? How responsible is the State of New York? How responsible are the drivers? Is there a responsibility for the passengers?
There are several questions. It is not so easy to determine empirically. That is why a detailed investigation of the facts must be made. This investigation may involve different technicians, witnesses, authorities, victims, and citizens, among others.
That is precisely what we do together with our professionals at The Ward Law: investigate. Reaching the truth through the expertise, skill, and passion we put into each and every job we do.
We want to enlighten our Brooklyn community a bit about Subway accidents and how to proceed. This way, you will feel a little safer every time you ride the Subway and know if your case could apply for compensation.
Join us to find out more about this topic.
A Brief History of Brooklyn’s New York Subway
Everything started in the early 20th century when Brooklyn was a metropolis on the rise on its own. Visionary engineers and urban planners took on an ambitious project to build a subway system that would connect Brooklyn's neighborhoods, boost its economy, and promote unity among its diverse residents in response to the city's growing traffic congestion and urgent need for better transportation.
Brooklyn's first subway line officially opened to the public on October 4, 1908, forever altering the borough's landscape. A faster and more effective mode of transportation than the streetcars and elevated railways of the time, the original route, known as the IRT
Eastern Parkway Line transported passengers from Downtown Brooklyn to Manhattan. It was a revelation, and as the years passed, the subway network grew like a sophisticated underground web, extending far and wide to serve Brooklyn's continuously expanding population.
Today, the Brooklyn Subway serves as more than just a means of transportation; it also serves as a window into the borough's diverse cultural heritage. The subway has seen countless stories, dreams, and journeys, becoming a crucial part of Brooklyn's identity. These journeys have taken it from the iconic brownstone-lined streets of Park Slope to the vibrant energy of Coney Island. It keeps changing, adapting, and bringing together people from all walks of life, capturing the spirit of Brooklyn itself—dynamic, varied, and constantly in motion.
Our lawyers are very familiar with the places where they practice. Many of them have spent entire seasons in New York walking the streets and listening to the citizens. Thus, the history of the Subway is, at the same time, the history of the ancestors of many of our professionals. Stories of people who helped build the city of skyscrapers and who have left their mark on every corner of one of the most iconic cities in the world.
It is always important for a lawyer to know the streets of the place where he or she is going to work. That way, he or she will be able to understand the idiosyncrasies of its citizens and thus have a more realistic perspective of the facts. The story of the Brooklyn subway is a story of dreams, man defying the limits of geography, and the human spirit pursuing the quest for freedom.
Contact The Ward Law if you were involved in a Brooklyn subway accident. Don't let it go any longer. Our lawyers know Brooklyn inside out and will be able to design the best legal strategy to defend your interests!
Common Causes of Subway Accidents
If defining the legal responsibility in this type of event is the subject of an in-depth investigation, identifying the most common and repetitive causes that generate these events has also given rise to a great deal of research work. Statistical experts, engineers, lawyers, police, and contractors, among others, have worked tirelessly to identify risk patterns or possible behaviors that lead to these fatal events.
After asking our team to compile and organize most of the causes and make them understandable to the public, we came up with the following list of the most common triggers for Subway accidents in Brooklyn:
● Track Obstructions: Subway accidents can occur when debris, objects, or fallen materials obstruct the tracks. Such obstructions can potentially cause derailments or damage to train components, putting passengers and transit staff at risk.
● Operator Errors: Human errors made by train operators, such as exceeding safe speeds or failing to stop in time, can lead to accidents. These mistakes jeopardize the safety of everyone onboard.
● Signal Failures: Malfunctioning signals, crucial for indicating track conditions and safe distances between trains, can result in miscommunication between trains and operators. Such failures can lead to dangerous collisions and derailments.
● Mechanical Failures: Subway accidents may also be triggered by equipment failures. Brake malfunctions or door problems can compromise the safety and operation of subway trains, posing serious risks to passengers and transit workers.
● Platform Gaps: Inadequate platform gaps can lead to passenger accidents. Individuals may inadvertently slip or fall onto the tracks during the process of boarding or disembarking from trains, resulting in injuries.
● Electrical Issues: Electrical malfunctions, such as power surges or electrical fires, can disrupt subway operations and pose safety risks. These issues can cause sudden service interruptions and create dangerous conditions for passengers.
● Turnstile and Escalator Malfunctions: Failures in turnstiles or escalators can lead to passenger injuries during entry or exit from stations. Malfunctioning access points can contribute to accidents and may require immediate attention.
● Inadequate Maintenance: Poor maintenance practices within subway systems can create unsafe conditions. This includes neglecting maintenance on trains, tracks, or station facilities, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
● Platform Crowding: Overcrowded platforms, especially during peak hours, can elevate the risk of passengers accidentally falling onto the tracks. Such situations require careful crowd management to ensure safety.
● Emergency Brake Activation: Accidental or unwarranted activation of emergency brakes by passengers can disrupt service, lead to delays, and pose safety concerns. Proper guidance on emergency brake usage is essential.
● Pedestrian Accidents: Subway accidents can involve collisions or falls between pedestrians on station platforms. These accidents, often caused by overcrowding or negligence, can result in injuries.
● Trespassing: Unauthorized individuals on tracks or in restricted areas pose significant safety hazards. Trespassing can increase the risk of accidents and disrupt normal subway operations.
● Natural Disasters: Natural events like flooding or earthquakes can damage subway infrastructure, disrupt operations, and compromise safety. Preparedness and resilient infrastructure are crucial in mitigating these risks.
● Security Threats: Threats or attacks on subway systems can cause panic among passengers, leading to injuries or stampedes. Security measures and protocols are essential to address these concerns.
● Communication Failures: Inadequate communication during emergency situations can impact passenger safety. Clear and effective communication is critical to ensuring passengers' understanding and safety during crises.
Subway Safety Regulations in Brooklyn
Other doubts that usually arise when analyzing these cases are: What prevention measures are in place to avoid them? Is there a contingency plan for when these types of fatalities occur? Are the authorities in charge of Subway safety in the city prepared to deal with extreme situations?
We would like to share some of the prevention measures we have found that are in effect in the city of Brooklyn today:
● Platform Edge Barriers: Implementing platform edge barriers or doors can enhance passenger safety by preventing accidental falls onto the tracks. These barriers align with international safety standards and reduce the risk of accidents.
● Operator Training and Certification: Stringent training and certification requirements for subway operators are crucial. These regulations ensure that operators are well-prepared to handle emergency situations and make safety a top priority.
● Emergency Communication Systems: Regulations mandate the presence of effective emergency communication systems on subway platforms and inside trains. These systems allow passengers to quickly report incidents and receive assistance during emergencies.
● Regular Track Maintenance: Strict regulations dictate regular track maintenance to prevent accidents caused by track defects. Routine inspections and maintenance ensure that tracks remain in optimal condition, minimizing the risk of derailments or accidents.
● Crowd Control Measures: Regulations require subway operators to implement crowd control measures during peak hours. This helps prevent overcrowding on platforms, reducing the risk of passengers falling onto the tracks.
● Accessibility Standards: Ensuring accessibility for passengers with disabilities is a key aspect of subway safety regulations. Stations and trains must adhere to accessibility standards to accommodate all passengers safely.
As we see, the regulations are clear, although they are not always followed by the letter by Subway users, and sometimes they are also omitted by the authorities.
If you have been involved in an accident at the Brooklyn Subway while you were on your way to work or while touring the city, do not hesitate to contact us to evaluate your case for free. Contact The Ward Law right now! We are now in our new office in New York.
Don't spend another minute facing these facts. A subway accident can mean facing too many parties who will claim their innocence. You need a solid legal strategy from one of our subway accident attorneys in Brooklyn if you want fair compensation that recognizes your rights. You can only achieve that with the best lawyers on your side, and the best professionals are at The Ward Law Group.