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Subway Accidents in New York – How Often Do They Happen?

The subway and New York are practically synonymous, and for a good reason: it’s impossible to think of one without the other. New Yorkers have been getting around the five boroughs by subway since 1904, just six years after they were consolidated into a single city. And like everything else in New York, the sheer scale of the modern subway system is staggering. It’s the world’s most extensive mass transit system by the number of stations operated, at 472, and the busiest in the Western hemisphere, with 1.72 billion rides annually — and roughly 5.6 million every weekday. Thousands of cars roll down 245 miles of routes operating 24 hours per day. If New York is the city that never sleeps, then the New York City Subway is the transit system that never sleeps.

Unsurprisingly, with the sheer number of people riding the subway every day, injuries and deaths are an all too common occurrence.  A subway train weighs 360 tons and has a top speed of 55 mph, the electrified rail carries 625 volts, and the entire system relies on signals, switches, and track equipment that can be as much as 80 years old. Less dramatically, the cars can lurch dangerously, the stations are perilously slippery when it rains, and the crowds are continually jostling.

Subway Injuries: By the Numbers

According to the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s 2018 annual report, there were 2.97 rider injuries per million customers that year. While an injury rate of 0.000297% seems small, given that 5.7 million customers ride the subway every weekday, that figure translates to 17 per day. At the annual rate of 1.72 billion riders, that translates to about 5,100 injuries. Even if the MTA were able to reduce injuries to their target rate of 2.82 injuries per million rides, that would still be more than 15 per day and 4,850 per year.

Some potential causes of subway injuries include:

  • Lurching subway cars
  • Slippery station platforms and stairs
  • Obstructed pathways
  • Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
  • Car doors closing too quickly
  • Burns and smoke inhalation from track fires
  • Falling or being pushed onto the tracks
  • Falling between carriages
  • Assault due to insufficient security

According to a 2016 article in the New York Post, roughly 160 are struck by subway trains per year, 50 fatally.

Additionally, a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that between January 1, 2003, and May 31, 2007, there were 211 subway train-related deaths

Our New York Subway Accident Lawyers Can Help

Subway injuries are a serious problem for New Yorkers and can result in steep medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses — expenses that may have been caused by the city’s negligence. But if you or someone you love has been injured in a subway accident, you’re not alone. The experienced subway accident attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP can help you demand justice by seeking the maximum compensation possible. Contact us today by calling (212) 779-0057 or filling out our online contact form, and we’ll begin fighting for you.


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