A personal injury accident occurs when a person suffers some type of harm or injury, as the result of another person’s negligent or intentional actions. A personal injury can damage the plaintiff’s (i.e. the person that was allegedly harmed) emotional health, physical health, or both. Mental health issues typically include emotional pain and anguish sustained by the accident, but often must be supported by visits to a psychiatrist, etc.
A physical injury can include an injury to the plaintiff’s organs, limbs, muscles, bones, or other parts of their body. It is important to note that the injury which is sustained by the plaintiff does not have to manifest immediately, as some injuries may develop over time.
After an accident has occurred, an injured person can file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Such actions will be civil court proceedings, and will allow a successful plaintiff to collect compensatory damages for their injuries. When a person files a personal injury lawsuit, it is filed in the civil court in the jurisdiction in which they were injured. Criminal actions may also be filed separately if the incident which led to the plaintiff’s personal injury was also criminal in nature.
Personal injury actions may be categorized in one of three ways, each of which will have a separate set of elements which the plaintiff must prove in order to make a successful claim. These three broad categories of personal injury actions are:
As mentioned above, personal injuries may also occur intentionally, including cases in which a defendant deliberately injures a plaintiff. However, the most common personal injury cases are due to an individual’s unintentional actions or inactions. If an unintentional injury is the result of the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff can initiate a civil lawsuit based on those negligent actions.
What Types of Injuries Can Occur While Using a Subway Train?
There are many different types of injuries that may occur while using or visiting a subway station. Some of the various risks and injuries that may occur include but are not limited to:
- Slip and fall cases;
- Injuries associated with collisions with other subway cars or objects;
- Injuries resulting from being caught in subway doors or entrances/exits;
- Injuries resulting from the sudden stop of a subway car;
- Electrocution from the train tracks or other objects present at a subway station;
- Harm resulting from the negligent repair of the subway station or other unsafe/unsanitary conditions;
- Injuries caused to patrons that are related to poor lighting or other types of harmful obstructions at the station;
- Injuries related to fires, smoke, or explosions on the subway car itself or at the station; and/or
- Wrongful death claims in which a person was killed as a result of the actions or inactions of the subway operator or owner.
It is important to note that the subway operator usually cannot be held liable for the actions of third parties. Third parties include other passengers or people present in the subway station. This means that subway operators will generally not be liable for injuries associated with thefts, robberies, assaults, batteries, and other types of crimes caused by a third party.
However, the subway station might be held liable if these crimes listed above resulted from a lack of reasonable security measures. For example, if a security guard was present but did not intervene to provide safety.
How Do I File a Complaint for a Subway Injury?
Most subway operators will employ their own team of investigators and attorneys to deal with a passenger’s injuries. Oftentimes investigations are conducted in order to relieve the subway company of their liability for an injured party. However, when an individual is injured upon a subway or at a subway station, there will often be a damages report created by either the subway operator, the police, or both.
As such, if you have been injured at a subway station, the first thing to do is to ensure that you obtain a copy of the injury or police report. Next, you should also seek to obtain any surveillance video that may have caught the accident. After this, you should submit a complaint to the subway operator or local department of transportation of the city providing a report of your injuries.
Additionally, you should also keep all copies of medical bills, medical reports, and prescription costs. Then, if the subway operator or city’s insurance does not adequately cover your personal injuries, you may seek to initiate a private lawsuit against them in civil court.
Who Is Liable for Injuries Sustained on a Subway Train?
Subways, trains, and stations can be either publicly or privately operated and owned. In either case, the subway operator or station owner will typically have their own team of investigators and/or lawyers if injuries occur as a result of the operation of the subway.
Once again, the laws governing subway accidents can vary widely by region, but it is often possible for a subway operator or owner to be held liable for injuries caused to their passengers. In most subway accident cases, the subway operator themselves can also be held liable according to a negligence theory.
What Is Negligence In Personal Injury?
As noted above, the most common legal theory under which a subway operator may be held liable is the theory of negligence. Although the exact elements of negligence may differ by state, generally speaking, in order for a plaintiff to be successful in their negligence claim, the following legal elements must be proven:
- Duty: Duty refers to the level of care that a reasonable person would apply under similar circumstances. In the case of subway operations, this means that the defendant (i.e. the subway operator or station owner) should have acted, or not acted, in a certain way.
- For example, a subway operator or owner has a duty to pay attention to the operation of the subway, as well as reasonably prevent dangers to passengers;
- Breach of Duty: Once duty has been established and proven by the plaintiff, the plaintiff must then show that the duty owed to them was breached.
- To expand upon the previous example, if a subway operator fails to keep proper lookout and causes harm to a passenger by striking them, then that will likely constitute a breach of duty;
- Causation: Next, the plaintiff must specifically show that the defendant’s actions or inaction was what actually caused their injuries to occur. Importantly, no other intervening actions must have caused the plaintiff’s injuries;
- Proximate Cause: The injuries that resulted to the plaintiff must have also been foreseeable.
- For example, it is not foreseeable that an individual would be sleeping on the subway tracks;
- Damages: Finally, a plaintiff will have to prove that they suffered an actual injury with quantifiable damages.
- Quantifiable damages means a plaintiff will have to submit evidence of damages such as medical bills, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.
What Can I Recover for Injuries Suffered Due to a Subway Incident?
Legal liability for subway accident injuries varies considerably according to the circumstances of each specific case, the parties involved, the negligence involved, and local state laws. Generally speaking, the injured party will be able to receive damages for their losses, in addition to any future damage associated with their injury.
The following are some of the most common examples of damages that are awarded in personal injury matters:
Medical examiners and experts are often necessary in order to determine the extent of an individual’s injuries, as well as the basis for the damage award. Punitive damages may also be ordered by the court’s discretion. This means that the plaintiff can request punitive damages, but ultimately it is up to the judge to determine whether or not the gross negligence of the case is serious enough to warrant such punitive damages.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Subway Accident?
If you have been injured during a subway trip or at a subway station, it is in your best interests to immediately consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you determine what your best legal options are in terms of obtaining recovery for your injuries.
Your personal injury attorney can also help you understand your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific laws. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.