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Woman Hurt by Falling Equipment at Harvard MBTA Station

In May 2023, a woman standing on the Red Line platform of the Harvard MBTA station was injured when a utility box fell from a column and struck her. People hurt in this type of incident, which occurs in an area controlled by the MBTA but doesn’t involve an actual train, bus or other vehicle, have the right to file a lawsuit against the MBTA.

After the incident, the MBTA inspected all stations and discovered that the utility box that fell and struck the woman had been obsolete for a decade and similar boxes were in place at many stations. “The box … was part of a pilot program led by MIT Lincoln Laboratory and funded by the Department of Homeland Security, to house sensors capable of detecting and identifying biological agents,” the MBTA said in a statement. “The boxes have served no purpose since the pilot program ended in 2013.”

If you have been hurt in an accident while riding in an MBTA vehicle or while you were on their property, you should be aware that the MBTA is a public entity owned by the state, which means there are specific deadlines and rules to follow when pursuing a claim. Before you can file a lawsuit against the MBTA, you must send a letter of presentment. This letter should lay out the details of your claim and must be received within two years of the incident.

Once the MBTA receives your presentment letter, they have six months to respond to the claim in writing. Most claims are denied within that period. Sometimes the agency never responds. If no response is given within six months, it is treated as a denial. You can then file your personal injury lawsuit against the agency.

If you choose to proceed with a lawsuit, it must be filed no later than three years after your injury. You should also be aware that Massachusetts law limits your recovery to a maximum of $100,000, unless you prove “serious bodily injury,” in which case you could receive more than $100,000. This is true whether your case involves a bus accident, subway accident, train accident, falling equipment or a slip-and-fall on MBTA property.

Claims against public entities such as the MBTA require the attention of an experienced attorney. A missed deadline or procedural violation could prevent you from collecting the damages you need to pay for medical expenses and other costs associated with your injury.

The lawyers of Feinberg & Alban PC have a long track record of helping people injured in all kinds of accidents, including those involving the MBTA. If you need advice, please call our Boston office at 617-232-5950 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.

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