Jury Awards Bronx Grandmother $16M for Subway Slip and Fall
In one of New York’s largest personal injury awards of 2014, a jury ordered the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) to pay a 69-year-old woman $16 million for a fall she suffered at the Graham Avenue subway station in Brooklyn. On December 12, 2008, Maria Alcantara, a native of the Dominican Republic, was returning home from her job at a packing plant, where she had worked for 18 years, when she fell on the stairs. She sustained a broken hip and a head injury that had her hospitalized for several days. Later, she began to experience seizures due to bleeding of the brain. Loss of motor control left the formerly active, hard-working woman bedridden and unable to speak.
Critical to any slip and fall accident case is a showing that the defendant knew or should have known about a dangerous condition, and failed in its duty to cure the condition to make the area reasonably safe for visitors. In this case, the plaintiff’s attorney was able to show that in October 2008, a full two months before the accident, defendant NYCTA had documented a gouge in the landing where the plaintiff, Mrs. Alcantara, later fell. NYCTA contended at trial that the gouge had been repaired, but plaintiff’s attorney presented photographs demonstrating that it had not been fixed.
The award in this case serves two purposes: it provides adequate funds for care for Mrs. Alcantara, and it sends a strong signal to NYCTA to improve its maintenance operations or face financial consequences. Subway riders are exposed to many risks within the transit system, but the city has a duty beyond playing recordings that warn riders to “watch the gap.” NYCTA must be vigilant in discovering and repairing hazards that inevitably arise due to wear and tear in a system that serves an estimated 5.6 million riders per day.
If you or a loved one was injured while riding the NYC subways, Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson can help. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced slip-and-fall attorney, call 888.746.8212 or contact us online.