Visitor Question

Fall due to MTA bus spilling oil at a bus stop…

Submitted By: Phyllis (New York City)

I fell on Third Avenue & East 72nd Steet in New York City while waiting for an MTA bus (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). In the street at the bus stop I slipped on a large patch of black oil that came from either the 102 or 103 bus.

I severely injured my right hand (although not broken) and have been wearing a thumb/wrist splint for the past 7 weeks. I’m currently going twice per week for physical therapy.

I would like to know if I have a personal injury claim for pain and suffering against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority? I also filed a police report of the accident. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Phyllis,

You may have a personal injury claim against the Metropolitan Transit Authority and not the City of New York. In New York City you must file a complaint or lawsuit against the individual entity – in your case it’s the MTA.

Unfortunately, like New York City workers compensation claims, people injured as result of an MTA bus accident or in your case oil left on the street, cannot sue the MTA for “pain and suffering”.

Your lawsuit can request “economic restitution” through the MTA’s No-Fault Insurance Plan. That might cover your medical and therapy expenses, and possibly an amount for any out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury, and an additional amount for any lost wages.

You may also be eligible to seek additional pain and suffering compensation through a lawsuit. BUT…you can only sue separately for accidents caused by negligent maintenance of the MTA’s premises, such as at MTA stations, platforms, stairs, and elevators. In that case the lawsuit would have to be a “Premises Liability” lawsuit. In these type of Premises Liability claims the plaintiff is entitled to receive additional compensation for pain and suffering.

Unfortunately your accident occurred not on the MTA’s premises, but instead on a New York City Street.

In any event, you will have a very difficult time proving the oil you slipped on was from a MTA bus. You might have a better chance of filing a New York City Tort Claim with the NYC Comptrollers Office for poor maintenance of their streets. Unfortunately there too you will be unable to receive compensation for pain and suffering.

Learn more here: Public Transportation Injuries

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,


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