Subway and Streetcar Accidents
As vehicular traffic volume grows in highly-populated urban areas, transit authorities often look for ways to move commuters off the streets (or at least for them to take up less room on the street). Subways, streetcars and light rail systems have been added to the transit mix alongside the more numerous buses that extend the reach of these public transportation networks.
Although subways, streetcars and light rail transit are generally safe, many types of accidents can and do happen. From slips, trips and falls while entering, exiting or riding on these vehicles, to assaults from passengers, to collisions with stationary objects or other vehicles, these public transportation accidents can result in serious injury, disability and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a subway, streetcar or other light rail vehicle, you should know you are not alone. A knowledgeable, experienced and skilled subway and streetcar accident lawyer from Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers can help determine if you are eligible for compensation and damages for your losses.
Subway, streetcar and light rail Systems in Ontario.
Larger urban environments in southern and eastern Ontario have developed or are in the process of developing transit systems employing subway (heavy rail and light metro rail), light rail, and streetcar technology. These communities include:
- Ottawa: The National Capital’s O-Train includes two existing light rail lines (Confederation and Trillium) and two light rail line expansion projects.
- Toronto: The Toronto Transit Commission operates three subway lines (Line 1 Yonge–University, Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth, Line 4 - Sheppard) one existing light metro line (Line 3 Scarborough), one light metro expansion project (Ontario Line), two light rail expansion lines (Line 5 Eglinton and Line 6 Finch West) and 10 streetcar lines (Queen, Kingston Road, King, Dundas, Carlton, Lakeshore, Harbourfront, Spadina, Bathurst and St. Clair).
- Toronto: Toronto Pearson International Airport operates one Terminal Link People Mover line.
- Kitchener-Waterloo Region: These closely linked cities share one Ion light rail line.
- Peel Region: One light rail line (Hurontario) is under construction.
- Hamilton LRT: One light rail line (B Line) is under construction.
Types of subway, streetcar and light rail accidents and injuries.
A study of subway-related trauma injuries encountered at a Level 1 Trauma Centre in Toronto revealed more than three-quarters were due to self-harm. Fifty-one patients presented to emergency departments after being hit by a moving subway train between 2010 and 2018. Thirty-nine were due to self-harm, 10 were unintentional injuries, and two were due to assault. Ten patients did not survive their initial presentation. Of the remaining patients, 12 (29%) went directly to the operating room, and 17 (41%) were transferred to the intensive care unit. Overall mortality was 29%.
Although the report concluded that most of these injuries were due to self-harm or alcohol-related, in addition to intentional assaults, other injuries can be caused by negligence on the part of the transit authority, operator or other passengers. In rare cases, negligence and/or mechanical error can lead to catastrophic damage. Three people died, 30 people were taken to hospital and more than 100 personal injury claims were filed in Toronto’s worst subway accident in 1995.
While Toronto’s subway system and other light rail systems are separated from street-level traffic, other light rail and streetcar tracks share the road with other vehicles and pedestrians and may experience collisions which can lead to serious injuries for both riders and others alike. Some other common subway, streetcar and light rail accidents include:
- riders being hit by vehicles when entering or exiting the vehicle.
- doors closing too quickly on a rider.
- slips and falls on the vehicle itself or platform/transit shelters.
- falls or trauma sustained when bracing oneself during a sudden stop.
- injuries from hazards (on poorly maintained vehicles, platforms or tracks).
- physical altercations between passengers.
Common injuries from these types of accidents include:
- traumatic brain injuries.
- whiplash, sprains and strains.
- spinal cord or other nerve damage.
- cuts, bruises, scarring.
Compensation and benefits for injuries.
Anyone involved in a collision involving a motor vehicle in Ontario who sustains an injury is eligible to receive Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS). Depending on the severity of the injury, these benefits can include medical and rehabilitation costs, attendant care, income replacement, non-earner benefits, housekeeping and childcare expenses, death and funeral benefits, and replacement of some damaged personal items. Amendments to the Insurance Act prevent transit riders from claiming SABS benefits when their injuries result from an accident not involving a collision with another vehicle or object. In such cases, compensation for damages is limited to tort claims.
An application for SABS can be made through your own motor vehicle insurance provider or the provider of a motor vehicle driver involved in the collision. Minor injury guidelines provide a list of approved treatments that can be obtained prior to receiving approval from the insurer. Designed to speed treatment and spare healthcare resources, funding for recognized minor injuries treatments are limited to $3,500. Accident victims with more severe injuries are eligible for significantly higher limits.
Anyone seriously injured in a subway, streetcar or light rail accident in which they were not at fault or only partially at fault can make a claim for damages against the at fault or negligent party/parties. It is important to know that while generally you have two years from the time of the accident/injury to file a claim for damages, if a claim is made against a municipal government or transit authority, notice of claims are required to be filed within 10 days.
A claim for damages and compensation for a serious personal injury can include both pecuniary damages and non-pecuniary damages. Pecuniary damages are costs, expenses or anticipated future losses that can be calculated in monetary terms. For example, if your injury prevented you from returning to work or required you to miss significant time at work for rehabilitation purposes, you could claim lost income as part of your damages. If your injury was so severe that you may not be able to work again, your claim could calculate anticipated future earnings that would be lost.
Non-pecuniary damages are losses that are incalculable. Claims for pain and suffering from injury or disability, or the loss of companionship or mentorship due to a family member’s injury or death are examples of this category of damages.
How we can help.
Experiencing a serious personal injury - particularly when it results in permanent disability - is life changing. As the shock of what has happened wears off, and the long road to recovery comes into view, you may feel angry or sad about what has happened to you or worried about what the future may hold. You should know you are not alone. As fierce advocates for people who have suffered life-altering accidents, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers has helped many people just like you to obtain fair compensation and damages for their injuries.
When you contact us for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation, we will take time to listen to your story with great empathy, outline your legal rights and various options, and offer to help in any way we can. If we believe you have an actionable claim, we will offer to become your legal representative. Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers believe that a person’s financial resources should never be a barrier to justice. Therefore, we will only accept payment for our services if we are able to negotiate a fair settlement for you or win an award for damages at court. We will also cover all costs during proceedings.
As we work on your case you will have access to our renowned client liaisons. These staff members - some of whom have experienced their own personal injury cases - are available to help you understand the legal process, connect you with helpful resources to aid in your recovery, to provide updates on your case, and even just to check in and talk to you about how you’re doing and feeling.
At Gluckstein Lawyers, we treat our clients as we would treat our own family. That means we will continue to care about you and your well-being long after legal proceedings conclude. This commitment to full-circle client care combined with our record for getting results has been recognized by our past clients and legal peers alike. Routinely named one of Canada’s top personal injury firms, you can count on our experienced, skilled and knowledgeable lawyers to provide superb service.
Looking ahead at the road to recovery soon after a devastating personal injury can be intimidating. Trust the subway, streetcar and light rail accidents team to be on your side and by your side during this journey. Together we can work to ensure you can live your best life possible.
Tell us about your accident or injury. We can help.
At Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers, the initial meeting is free and without obligation on your part – and we never charge you legal fees until your claim is settled.