Some people in Arizona may have heard about a woman who fell down a set of subway steps and died in New York City while carrying her baby's stroller. The station did not have an elevator. The child was conscious when police arrived, but the woman was not.
The accident highlighted the problem of accessibility in New York subways for parents, people with luggage or other items and disabled people. Only about 25 percent of the 472 subway stations throughout the city are accessible. Often, in stations that do have elevators, they are broken. The MTA has said that it will increase its rate of elevator installation so that by 2025, no one will have to travel more than two stops without reaching a station that has an elevator.
In 2017, the organization Disability Rights Advocates filed state and federal lawsuits with the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York as the main plaintiff. According to the suits, which are ongoing, the MTA is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York City Human Rights Law in its failure to make subway stations more accessible. The executive director of CIDNY has pointed out that even people who do not use walkers or wheelchairs may be vulnerable to accidents as they may still be unsteady on their feet.
Premises liability law operates on the assumption that property owners or property managers have an obligation to ensure that guests on the property are safe from harm. In a case like this one, it might be possible for certain family members of the woman killed to bring a premises liability lawsuit against the MTA, the city or whatever other entity is responsible for ensuring the subway is safe. For example, the lawsuit may be filed on behalf of the woman's infant daughter.