The New York Post says “the chronically cash-strapped MTA has become a money train for riders filing personal-injury lawsuits.” Personal injury claims against the Authority rose to $57.6 million last year. The Post focuses on cases like that of Dustin Dibble who, while “blotto,” fell on the tracks, got hit by a train, and reaped $2.3 million. And the MTA’s lawyer says there is a “small, but not insignificant” number of people who try to get hit by trains, presumably hoping to live out their wheelchair-bound days on the public dime.
Though MTA officials are appealing decisions they consider ill-rendered, NY1 says those officials now want some relief from Albany: they’re asking for legislation that would prevent citizens from collecting on lawsuits if they put themselves into harm’s way.
It’s an interesting approach. Such a plan would probably include fine print on your MetroCard, detailing liabilities. Would it warn that you ride at your own risk? Or that you must be this-tall to ride?
Also, would NYPD try something like this? Their annual lawsuit payout is nearly twice that of the MTA’s. Maybe the Housing Authority and other city agencies will want in, too.
We can only imagine what kind of constitutional challenges this sort of thing would invite. But we’ve long thought living in New York should require a play-at-your-own-risk warning. Maybe it’ll scare off some of the noobs.