The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Man Hit By Subway in NYC, SEPTA Raises Rider Awareness

On Monday, many New Yorkers at Times Square had to endure the unthinkable. They had to watch a man get pushed onto the subway tracks, watching in horror as the man stared at the train that would inevitably crush him to death.

Millions of Americans use the subway system. Philadelphia's subway system is praised as one of the simplest and easiest subways in America. But that doesn't necessarily make SEPTA the safest transit system.

Not by a longshot. Nine people have died from being struck by SEPTA trains in 2012, writes Philly Magazine.

In September, two pedestrians in two separate incidents were struck by SEPTA trains. Are Philadelphia transit officials doing enough to prevent these incidents? What liability could SEPTA face, in a worst-case scenario?

The New York incident was a tragedy and a crime. Ki-Suck Han, a 58-year-old man, was pushed into the pit at a Times Square subway station on Monday. But despite the incident being a deliberate act, it shows how unsafe the subway systems can be.

And in the cases of passenger deaths, it also shows how steep the liability could be for SEPTA and other transit authorities. After all, if a death is caused by the neglect of a duty by the transit officials, then there could be a wrongful death lawsuit at hand.

The duty owed by SEPTA to its passengers is essentially to make sure that platforms and trains are free from all foreseeable dangers. And being pushed into the subway is a foreseeable danger.

Many recent SEPTA deaths have not been suicides. They've been accidental. In response, SEPTA has started placing warnings and has increased its efforts to inform SEPTA passengers on the dangers, says Philly Magazine.

But is this warning sufficient? And would such a warning have worked to prevent Han's death?

Unlikely.

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