MTA Lawsuit NYC - New York Car Accident Lawyers
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MTA Lawsuit

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Harmed in an MTA crash or incident? The Sanders Firm car accident lawyers in New York protect your legal rights.

If you have been injured by a public bus, subway, train, or other vehicle operated by the NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority, you may be eligible to seek compensation by filing an MTA accident lawsuit.

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) website, they provide 2.63 billion trips each year to New Yorkers via subways, buses and railroads. Four out of five commuters to New York City’s central business districts take rapid transit service, traveling on America’s largest bus fleet and on more subway and rail cars than the rest of the country’s subways and commuter railroads combined.

With so many residents and visitors using the commuter rail and public buses today, it’s not surprising that accidents happen every now and then. Unfortunately, many of these collisions could have been avoided through proper maintenance of the vehicles or if the driver had been more alert or better trained. In these cases, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims recoup the compensation they are entitled to receive.

For more than four decades, The Sanders Firm has successfully advocated for victims of accidents involving the NYC Transit system. Our New York car accident lawyers are well-versed in the unique considerations and statute of limitations when filing suit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and our reputation rests on dozens of multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements procured on behalf of our clients.

MTA accidents in New York

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes that in 2008, about 24,000 people were injured in bus accidents. The organization also carried out a Bus Crash Causation Study (BCCS) of crashes in 2005 and 2006 in part of the New York City metropolitan area, home to large fleets of various types of buses. Each crash involved at least one fatality or one incapacitating or non-incapacitating injury.

Researchers concluded that a large percentage of the crashes were due to driver error. Bus drivers, in particular, were found to have been guilty of inadequate surveillance, inattention, following too closely, traveling too fast or slow, or failing to provide full attention because of fatigue. In some cases, the accidents were caused by problems with the vehicle, such as a bus fire and brake failure. One accident occurred because of ice on the road.

Our attorneys represent those who have been seriously injured in mass transit accidents throughout the greater New York area, and handle claims involving:

  • Subway accidents — including injuries sustained while waiting, boarding or departing the subway.
  • Train accidents — MTA train crashes or injuries suffered aboard the Metro-North Railroad (MNR), Staten Island Railroad (SIR), Long Island Rail Road (LIRR),  and the AirTrain JFK.
  • Bus accidents —In addition to passengers aboard buses, we represent pedestrians or motorists who’ve been injured in bus collisions.

New York City transit authority may be liable

Our lawyers will carefully review the facts of a case to determine exactly what went wrong. If the bus, subway car, or train was not properly maintained, for example, the New York City transit authority may be held liable for injuries sustained in an MTA accident. Brake failure, defective lighting devices, steering problems, windshield obstructions, axle malfunctions, and more may all be the result of inadequate maintenance and repair.

The MTA may also be held liable if they were negligent in hiring their employees. If they employed a driver without a valid CDL license, or failed to ensure the driver did not go over the 10-hour rule, or otherwise encouraged unsafe driving behavior, they may be required to pay damages. Likewise, if the driver did not have a passenger endorsement on his or her CDL license, or was otherwise found to be improperly trained or certified, the MTA may be legally responsible.

Other potential causes of action against the driver may include:

  • Inactive license
  • The prior license was suspended
  • Failed to obey traffic signs or lights
  • Speeding or made other mistakes such as an improper lane change
  • A history of driving violations

Metro North train derailment and damages sought by victims

In December 2013, a commuter train on New York’s Metro-North Hudson line suddenly jumped its tracks while speeding along a dangerous curve in the Bronx. The train derailment killed four passengers and left dozens of others with critical injuries. Extreme speed likely played a role in the catastrophic accident, and as allegations of negligence ensue, the MTA may be facing tens of millions of dollars in damage awards, based on prior verdicts awarded in similar cases.

If investigators find that human error caused the Metro North derailment, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority may be held accountable under the doctrine of vicarious liability. However, the MTA may attempt to avoid liability if it’s determined that federal law, rather than state legislation, governs the case. Federal law caps damage awards to rail passengers for all claims arising from a single accident at $200 million.

Past judgments have favored victims of  train and bus accidents, as evidenced by the following:

  • $29.5 million was awarded to a Chicago passenger who was injured in a 2005 commuter rail derailment
  • A $1.3 million settlement was negotiated following the wrongful death of a pedestrian who was struck by an MTA bus on a crosswalk

New York car accident attorneys

Taking on a personal injury lawsuit against the MTA can be complicated. There are time limits for when you can file a claim and rules that must be followed. The Sanders Firm understands the ins and outs of the legal process and can help make sure your complaint is heard.

The MTA and other transportation companies must have No-Fault insurance coverage for patients injured in an accident, but this coverage does not provide reparation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or wrongful death. Claims such as these must be brought in a personal injury lawsuit.

The Sanders Firm represents clients in New York, including Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Long Island. We have successfully litigated many MTA cases where victims suffered because of mechanical failures or driver error, and we will do everything we can to hold the appropriate parties accountable. Call us today for a free initial consultation with a skilled train accident lawyer at 1.800 FAIR PLAY (800.324.7752).


  1. CNN, Metro-North train in fatal accident equipped with safety systems http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/04/us/new-york-train-crash/

  2. Reuters, Analysis: Two factors key to lawsuits over New York train crash http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/05/us-usa-derailment-legal-analysis-idUSBRE9B405B20131205

  3. ABC News, MTA announces new safety measures after Metro-North derailment http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=9353733