The MBTA, or Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, is the central or official mass transit system for the commonwealth. There are other regional transit authorities as well. However, the MBTA is the main authority that controls and regulates public transit including buses, ferries, subways, commuter rail and trains.
Like any other entity, the MBTA has a duty of care to persons using the transit system to ensure that they are using safe modes of transportation, that bus, ferry, and train operators are trained, and that the facilities where passengers wait, or use are free of hazards. When a person is injured on mass transit vehicle or in a station or facility owned and operated by the MBTA or the regional authority, then a personal injury lawyer should be retained to investigate the accident and determine if there is liability.
Accidents happen every day on the mass transit system. These include:
- Bus accidents—the operator ran a red light, made an unsafe lane change, or stopped suddenly without warning. In some cases, the braking or steering system failed due to a defective part or negligent maintenance, a faulty tire blew out and the operator lost control, or the operator was under the influence, was distracted, or was not properly trained.
- Platform accidents—slip and fall accidents are not uncommon on subway or commuter train platforms. The MBTA has a duty to ensure that ice and snow are removed or to post signs warning persons of a slippery surface. A high platform needs stable guardrails, and a clearly painted or textured yellow line must alert riders that they are close to the edge.
- At times, a train is negligently set on the wrong track that can lead to disaster. When a passenger car approaches a railroad crossing, the gate may malfunction, or warning signals may not operate and not alert the driver of an approaching train leading to tragic results.
- Escalator and elevator accidents from malfunctions or falling objects.
- Ferry boats—operators have negligently or as a result of lack of situational awareness crashed into piers, docks, jetties, and other seagoing vessels causing passengers to fall into icy, turbulent waters or to be tossed about on the ferry and resulting in serious injuries.
Because the MBTA and its regional partners are public entities, any claim for injuries must be presented under the Massachusetts State Tort Claims Act (MTCA). Notice must be given within 2-years of the accident and claims filed within 3-years. There is generally a cap on damages of $100,000, however this does not apply to compensatory damages against the MBTA. Most cities, including Boston, have instructions and forms for filing claims.
However, most claims against public entities including the MBTA are rejected. It is in your best interest to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case as soon as possible. Although you may attempt to present a claim to the MBTA, giving a written or recorded statement to a representative may harm your case by inadvertently admitting to certain things or omitting others. Never talk to anyone about your case until you are represented by an attorney who can advise you on how your claim will be proceed.
Examples of Injuries from MBTA Accidents
Injuries in an MBTA accident can be severe:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken limbs
- Torn ligaments
- Spinal injuries
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Permanent disabilities
In serious injury claims, victims may have to undergo multiple surgeries and be unable to return to work or to their usual occupation.
Damages in MBTA Accidents
Damages in any injury claim depend on the nature and extent of your injuries. These may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Damages need to be proved by medical providers, testimony, and documentary evidence. Medical experts, forensic economists and rehabilitation experts are sometimes needed in serious injury accidents and wrongful death claims to prove medical, quality of life, and economic losses.
Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer at Tetzel Law
MBTA accidents can present difficult and complex issues that only an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer should handle. Our Attorneys have successfully handled MBTA and other complicated injury claims for decades. Call today at (617) 933-3858 for a free consultation about your injury claim.