Down to the Subway

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Q: I was going down a stairway used to get in and out of the subway.  My foot caught on a metal strip protruding from one of the steps, and I fell.  The Transit Authority says that it neither owned nor maintained the stairway: the authority was merely a ‘common user’.

A: Whenever a stairway is used primarily for the purpose of entering and exiting the subway, the transit authority has a duty to exercise reasonable care to see that the stairway remains in a safe condition.  The authority must take precautions and give warnings that protect users against unforeseen danger.  It is generally a question of fact whether the stairway is used primarily for that purpose.

This rule matches the expectations both of the transit authority and its customers, expectations that may be relied on by property owners in allocating control over and responsibility for the stairway, as well as by lawyers advising injured clients.  A subway customer would surely be surprised to learn that the authority had no duty to provide her with a stairway on which she could safely descend to the subway.

This time, were you actually going to the subway?  If the law were foolish enough to make this question matter, that would only encourage people to lie.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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