The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) or “The T” is a vital commuting resource in Boston for workers, families and visitors alike. The authority, which is the public operator of most bus, subway, commuter rail and ferry routes in greater Boston, reported in 2014, a record 401 million trips were tallied. That’s more than 1.2 million riders a day. In fact, it is the fourth-busiest subway system in the nation.
This is in line with reports from the American Public Transportation Association, which indicates ridership of public transportation is the highest it’s been in 60 years. The trend has continued even amid falling gas prices, which indicates people are choosing to park their car and opt for public transport.
Claims against the MBTA may include:
- Subway Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Negligent Security
- Assault or Robbery
- Elevator or Escalator Injuries
- Platform Injuries
- Falling on Tracks
- Stairwell and Walkway Accidents
- Premises Liability Claims
- Train Derailments
- Bus Crashes
- Fire Injuries
Take for example the 2009 crash caused by an MBTA operator who was texting, resulting in $10 million in property damage and injuries to 49 people. Most injured settled for $20,000 each, but one woman whose neck was snapped into a metal bar was awarded $1.2 million following a jury trial. The case resulted in the MBTA adopting a new policy banning drivers from even carrying cell phones while at work.
Because claims of subway injury generally involve accusations of negligence by the government or government employees, there are often some special considerations, like stringent notification requirements.
The good news: At least of this writing, there is no $100,000 damage cap for injuries resulting from MBTA negligence. That’s not the case for most other claims against government entities in Massachusetts. In a recent, two-year time frame, news reporters indicated the state had paid nearly $17 million in injury settlements and judgments.
Some state legislators have been trying to enact a damage cap, saying it could save taxpayers some $2 million annually, it would seem the better solution would be to simply ensure the platforms, facilities, drivers and subway cars are safe.Statute of Limitations in MBTA Lawsuits
Prior to July 2009, the statute of limitations – or the window of time in which to file a lawsuit – against the MBTA for injuries was just two years. This conflicted with the general rule for Massachusetts personal injury cases of a three-year statute of limitations.
However, the state legislature corrected this discrepancy by removing the two-year limitation codified in M.G.L. c. 161A § 38. So now, as of July 1, 2009, the statute of limitations for MBTA injury claims is three years.
However, pursuant to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, prior notice of filing a lawsuit still has to be made within two years of the date of the cause of action. That means generally you have two years from the date of the MBTA accident to notify the agency of your intent to file a personal injury lawsuit.
It is generally advised that those who have been injured as a result of such an incident contact a personal injury attorney immediately to begin the process.Causes of Concern
The subway system operated by the MBTA is one of the nation’s largest, and it’s also one of the oldest. That has meant the infrastructure and safety of the vehicles, platforms and facilities is an ongoing issue, exacerbated by the fact the system operates under an annual debt.
But again, reducing the amount of payments to those injured by dangerous conditions or careless drivers does not serve the public interest. Fixing the problems to reduce overall injuries is preferable.
Of particular concern for health and safety officials are the condition of:
- Bus and train stations
- Station platforms
- The inside of trains and buses
- Adequate lighting and security officers
Additionally, driver training and fatigue is an ongoing issue.
Failure to address these problems may result in serious injury and possibly death.
Our legal team will work extensively to ensure our clients receive compensation to cover:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Long-term care and disability
- Property damage
If you have been injured in a Massachusetts subway accident or other incident involving the MBTA, we can help.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL