Who Is Liable if I Slip and Fall on the Subway?

During normal times, between 4 and 5 million people ride the New York City subway every day. Slip and fall accidents in the stations, on stairs, and platforms are an unfortunate consequence of the size of the system and the number of people who pass through it.

When those accidents happen as a result of negligence on the part of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the New York City slip and fall lawyers at Douglas and London help accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries. Damages claims against the MTA and other New York City authorities are more challenging than lawsuits against private parties. However, we have the knowledge and experience to meet those challenges.

When is the MTA Liable for Damages in Subway Slip and Fall Accidents?

Like all property owners and managers, the MTA has a duty to keep its premises safe for its travelers. That duty, however, has limits. For example, a New York City subway patron who is injured as a result of a crime or some other intentional act will not be able to recover damages. However, if the MTA had clear knowledge of or control over the circumstances that caused the injury, they would be liable. Any person who suffers an injury on any MTA property should promptly consult with a personal injury lawyer to verify the potential for recovering compensation.   

How Can You Make a Successful Claim Against the MTA for a Subway Slip and Fall Injury?

The MTA manages or controls hundreds of subway stations. It is not reasonable to fix every problem or dangerous condition immediately. However, a claim for injuries in the NYC subway system will be more likely to succeed if the MTA had prior notice or control over dangerous conditions. Yet despite this knowledge, they did nothing to remedy it within a reasonable amount of time. We can investigate an accident to determine if:

  • the MTA received written notice of a hazard more than 15 days before an accident
  • the MTA’s employees or contractors performed faulty or inadequate repairs or left construction equipment or debris in pedestrian walkways
  • the MTA was aware of frequent criminal activity at a specific station but did nothing to increase security or ensure subway passenger safety at that station.

As with all slip and fall cases, an accident victim’s opportunity to recover damages will depend on the specific facts of the case. The skills and abilities of a victim’s lawyer to investigate and describe those facts is often the most significant element in a successful claim.   

What Are the Time Limits for Filing a Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuit Against the New York City Subway?

Unlike slip and fall lawsuits against private parties, a notice of claim must be filed against the MTA within 90 days. The MTA then has 30 days to investigate it. The victim cannot file a lawsuit to recover damages until after that 30-day period. The individual must then file their lawsuit within one year and 90 days.

The failure to file a notice of claim or to start a lawsuit before this deadline will be grounds for dismissal of any lawsuits. Given these requirements and short deadlines, a victim in a New York subway accident should contact a lawyer as soon as possible, even if they later decide not to pursue this.

What Damages Can a Subway Slip and Fall Accident Victim Recover?

If an accident victim can show that the MTA did not use proper care to prevent an accident or to warn about known hazards, they can recover compensation. This could include actual and anticipated medical expenses, costs of rehabilitative therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The MTA might attempt to settle this quickly by offering to reimburse immediate medical expenses and nothing else.

Subway accident victims should always consult with a lawyer before accepting any settlement offers to verify that they are receiving the full amount of damages that they are entitled to receive.

Call Douglas and London for a free consultation

if you have sustained in a slip or trip and fall accident in a New Your City subway station, we can help. Contact our New York City personal injury lawyers as soon as you can to make sure that you do not miss your opportunity to recover the compensation you deserve.


  1. www.nyc.gov: Personal Injury Claim Form. https://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/personal-injury.pdf
  2. www.ny.us: Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.mtaig.state.ny.us/cFaqs.html#9
  3. www.nyc.gov: E-Filing: File a Claim. https://comptroller.nyc.gov/services/for-the-public/claims/e-filing/