A 22-year-old woman died when she fell down a flight of subway stairs in Midtown Manhattan while carrying her baby daughter in a stroller. According to a report in The New York Times, the Connecticut woman fell in the Seventh Avenue subway station at 53rd Street the night of Jan. 28. She was unconscious and unresponsive when officers arrived. The woman was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her 1-year-old daughter was found conscious and treated at the scene. She was reunited with her father and grandmother.
Lack of Accessibility in the Subway System
It is unclear whether the woman suffered from a medical condition or if she was killed from the impact of the fall. A report from the city’s medical examiner regarding the cause of death is still pending. While officials are continuing this trip-and-fall investigation, the circumstances of her death has thrown a spotlight on the lack of elevator service and accessibility issues that have long affected the city’s subway system.
The Seventh Avenue station, on the B, D and E Lines, where this stairway accident took place, does not have an elevator. The Times reports that only about a quarter of the subway system’s 472 stations have elevators, and the ones that exist are often plagued by malfunctions. One survey of subway elevator breakdowns found that each elevator breaks down 53 times year on average.
When the elevators are functioning properly, they are often small and inconveniently positioned at the far ends of stations. This may make them inconvenient and impractical for disabled subway riders or moms pushing strollers. A lawsuit filed against the New York City Transit Authority and/or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, described the city’s subway system as the least accessible in the country and accused the agency of violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The Times reports that Andrew Byford, president of the New York City Transit Authority, has promised to add more elevators to the subway system by 2025 so that no rider would be more than two stops away from an accessible station.
Falls and Injuries
There are number of reasons why falls occur on public roadways or locations such as the subway. Some of the most common causes include uneven pavement, defective pavement such as cracks or gouges, broken stairs and poor lighting. It is unclear in this case whether the woman tripped and fell or if she slipped on something that was spilled on the stairway. Any slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall investigation should look into all possible causes.
These types of fall-related accidents may result in serious, catastrophic or even fatal injuries. Here are some examples of injuries that may occur in slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents:
Traumatic brain injury: When an individual falls down the stairs, he or she is likely to hit his or her head. This may result in brain injuries ranging from concussions to skull fractures or bleeding in the brain. Such injuries may require extensive treatment, rehabilitation and lengthy hospitalization.
Spinal cord damage: Fall-related accidents tend to result in spinal injuries, which may cause paralysis. This is a catastrophic injury and can lead to lifelong disabilities.
Fractures: Broken bones are a common consequence of falls. Fractures of the hip, elbow, knee, wrist and ankle may occur as a result of slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents.
Internal injuries: In severe fall cases, internal organs may also become damaged. These types of falls may even result in death.
In such cases, the agency in charge of maintaining the roadway or structure can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused. Injured victims can seek compensation to cover damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. If you have lost a loved one as a result of a fall-related accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for your losses as well.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys with the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recovered $1,700,000 for a woman who slipped and fell and received no hospital or medical treatment for one month after the accident.
Please call our offices TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496) to discuss your slip-and-fall case or trip-and-fall injury or accident case. WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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