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Failure to provide elevators may violate public safety laws

Georgia residents who commute via public transportation may have heard that a walk down the stairs at a New York City subway station proved fatal for a 22-year-old mother who was attempting to negotiate the stairs carrying a stroller containing her young child. The young woman was killed during the fall.

Apparently, there was no operable elevator at the station. A lawsuit was recently filed over failure to provide working elevators in many NYC subway stations.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017 by an advocacy group for disabled citizens. The suit alleges that nearly 75 percent of the subway stations in New York fail to provide working elevators, thereby eliminating access for those who cannot use stairs or escalators. NYC currently has more than 450 subway stations, and tens of thousands of commuters utilize the subway system every day.

The suit further claims that failure to provide elevators constitutes a violation of both federal and municipal laws. The federal law that plaintiffs cite is the Americans With Disabilities Act. The state law is the New York City Human Rights Law. Though the suit was filed well before the young woman's death, the subject matter of the litigation is the same: accessibility to public transportation.

Those operating an establishment offered to the general public must take reasonable measures to provide accessibility to all, including the disabled. In another sense, an establishment must not only comply with federal laws but also state and municipal laws that are applicable. When one is injured due to a landowner's failure to comply with safety laws, a claim of negligence per se is a possibility. Those injured on the property of another may wish to seek a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: Jezebel.com, "A Young Woman Fell and Died Trying to Carry Her Baby's Stroller In a Subway Station With No Elevator," Anna Merlan, 1/29/2019

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