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Subway Accidents in Ontario: What you Need to Know

Public transportation is a way of life for many residents of Ontario as well as people around the globe.  Subways are an integral part of public transportation systems and they provide a cost-effective and efficient way for citizens in busy metropolitan areas to navigate through the cities.  While subways do provide an effective means of public transportation, they are not without their downfalls. Sometimes equipment malfunction, operator error or other dangerous conditions result in injuries or even death to passengers of subways.  

The deadliest subway accident in Ontario occurred in 1995 in Toronto when on a subway train ran into the rear of a stationary train. Of the roughly 200 to 300 passengers on the two trains, three were killed and 30 were taken to the hospital with injuries; about 100 more later filed injury claims as a result of the accident. This accident was caused both by an inexperienced operator and some design flaws, therefore making the determination of liability a complex issue.  An incident such as this points out that while subway injuries do not happen as frequently as car accidents, when they do happen, it is usually as part of a significant accident where many parties are injured.

If you are someone who was injured in a subway accident or have a family member who was the victim of such injury, this article is designed to help you navigate the process of properly addressing injuries and damages that have occurred as a result of the subway accident.

What types of injuries and accidents occur on subways?

Often subway injuries involve situations where a collision with some other object occurs (for example), another subway train on the tracks as pointed out above.  In other instances, subway trains derail which can result in significant injuries.

Another type of situation where subway injuries occur is when the operator of the subway causes the train to start or stop suddenly or commits some other type of negligence in operating the train.  These types of situations can lead to falls or other collisions amongst passengers on the subway. Often serious head injuries result from this type of an incident on a subway.

Another common injury may come from the process of getting on or off of a subway.  For example, if the floors in front of the area that passengers board a subway have a dangerous condition or if the on and off ramps are not maintained to ensure the safety of passengers, injuries can often result.

In a very rare case, subway accidents may even result in the unfortunate death of a passenger.

If you are the victim of a subway injury, the first step, of course, is to seek appropriate medical attention, diagnosis, and a treatment plan as needed.

If you are either a victim of such an injury or have a family member who was injured or killed, the next step is determining what can be done in the legal system to address your injuries.

Who is legally responsible for injuries that occur on subways?

The party that is legally responsible for the injury or injuries or death caused in a subway accident will vary depending on who operates the subway.  In most cases, this would likely be a municipality or governmental subdivision that is responsible for operating the subway at issue.

It may also be possible that the manufacturer or producer of the subway equipment is subject to liability if the injuries occur because the subway was designed negligently or had parts that were poorly designed or manufactured.  

Finally, it is also possible that another passenger on the subway could be the cause of an injury depending on the facts of the particular case. For example, if a fellow passenger created a dangerous condition by something that was brought aboard the subway or they conduct themselves in a manner that causes injuries to others.

Determining issues of what type of claims an injured party may have and who is liable for them typically requires consultation with a qualified lawyer who can assess and research the facts of the particular case.

Damages may be sought in a lawsuit through a tort claim.  Tort claims allow for recovery of various items of damage including lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other types of damage, within applicable legal limits.

Regardless of which option is chosen, it is important to consult with a lawyer early in the process to ensure proper navigation of the available options.

How much time do you have to take action?

Most of the time, claims of this nature need to be brought within 2 years of the date of the incident.   

As shown from the items noted above, this is a relatively precise process and injured parties will definitely benefit from receiving competent legal help early in the process to ensure that all deadlines are met in a timely fashion.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer

If you or your family member are the victim of an injury suffered on a subway, it is important to take prompt action to assess the ways in which your injuries can be addressed.  The best way to do this is to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer early in the process.  This can ensure that the best options available to compensate for the injuries suffered can be evaluated.