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Experienced Boston Attorneys Fight for Victims of Subway and Transit Accidents

Determined legal team pursues full compensation

Massachusetts, and Boston in particular, relies heavily on mass transit. While buses, subways and light rail transportation are generally very safe, the combination of heavy equipment and the crush of ridership can result in accidents with serious injuries. If you’re hurt while riding public transportation, you face an uphill battle against a governmental entity determined to reduce your injury claim. Fortunately, you can rely on the experienced legal team at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. to pursue your case zealously to help you obtain the maximum possible recovery.

Recent legal changes affecting accident victims of MBTA negligence

A 2009 amendment to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, MGL c. 258, sec. 2, brought the MBTA under the protection of that law. Now, the MBTA is a “public authority” covered by the Tort Claims Act. This has several implications. The most important is that sec. 2, at first blush, permits a recovery of only $100,000. However, where the MBTA is concerned, the law will allow for a recovery in excess of $100,000 if the claim is for “serious bodily injury.” Another change in the law is that pre-judgment interest can no longer be collected against the MBTA.

A crucial change brought about by the 2009 amendment, and one that is consumer-friendly, is that the statute of limitations against the MBTA has been extended to three years.  This comports with the statute of limitations for almost all injury claims. Previously, the statute of limitations against the MBTA was two years, an anomaly in the law, which trapped many an experienced lawyer. That two year statute of limitations could not be avoided by adding a contract claim against the common carrier. See Thomas v. MBTA, 389 Mass. 408 (1983). Contract claims carry a six-year statute of limitations. In any event, this is no longer a concern. Bear in mind, that under M.G.L. c. 258, notice must be given prior to filing suit. Significantly, the notice must be directed to the executive officer of the MBTA within two years of the accident and prior to filing suit. 

Injury scenarios on Massachusetts public transit

We’ve all seen frightening videos of out-of-control subway trains plowing into stations and causing terrible destruction, personal injury and wrongful death. Major accidents occur when equipment fails or an operator exhibits misconduct. Derailments and collisions can result from:

  • Track fatigue due to poor maintenance
  • Faulty signals
  • Vehicles on tracks at train crossings
  • Operators speeding
  • Operators running signals
  • Operator distractions, such as cellphone use
  • Operator fatigue or intoxication

Robert Feinberg will soon be publishing four video blogs on a recent case involving the MBTA, Fyffe v. MBTA, No. 13-P-186. The Appeals Court set aside a verdict for the plaintiff of $1.228 million dollars. The case arose from a serious collision in 2009 when the operator of a trolley caused a collision because he was texting while operating. It was such a case of clear negligence that the defendant MBTA stipulated to liability. The Appeals Court was so troubled about improper conduct by the plaintiff’s attorney in the course of the trial that it set aside the verdict. While this case has broader applicability than just concerning a common carrier, the plaintiff’s counsel made frequent references to the MBTA’s duties in operating its trains. The plaintiff’s attorney overreached. When trying a case against the MBTA, many proper points can be raised without running afoul of evidentiary rules and judicial admonitions.

While train derailments grab headlines, such devastating accidents are rare. More common mass transit accidents include:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents on station stairways and platforms
  • Falls when detraining or stepping down from a bus
  • Sudden movement or abrupt stop of train or bus
  • Pedestrian or bicyclist struck by bus

There are numerous possible reasons for these types of accidents. Poor maintenance of stations, especially in inclement weather, can allow debris, snow and ice to accumulate, causing preventable falls. General principles of injury law apply in those instances such that the entity in control must have a reasonable opportunity to maintain the property. An operator’s failure to hold a bus or train in position while passengers exit and enter can cause injury. Of course, operator error can result in collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.

A proven law firm working to build your case

Transit accidents are often complicated, and the rules for presenting a claim against a government entity differ from those governing lawsuits between private parties, as we have seen with the MBTA’s relatively recent inclusion in Chapter 258. To succeed, you need capable, experience legal representation. At Feinberg & Alban, our attorneys have an impressive track record in complex injury litigation. We have the resources necessary to take on a government entity and present a compelling case for full compensation.

Take the first step to recover for your transit accident – Call today!

If you or your loved one has been injured  in a transit accident, Feinberg & Alban, P.C. is prepared to serve you in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. Our legal team can provide reliable advice on the best steps for obtaining compensation for your injuries and loss. Call 617-232-5950 or contact us online to set up your free initial consultation. 

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