If you live, work, or travel frequently in the Greater Boston area, it is likely that you have taken a public train, bus, commuter rail, or ferry operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), a public agency under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

MBTA Ridership Statistics

MBTA train According to the MBTA, its average weekday ridership during March 2024 was 766,323 rides, with the majority of people taking the subway (347,820) and buses (307,452). The MBTA also employs more than 7,000 employees. Given that so many people use and operate the MBTA every day, it is not surprising that MBTA related accidents resulting in injuries and even deaths are not uncommon in the daily news cycles.


What are common ways people get injured when using the MBTA?

There are many ways people can get injured or even killed in MBTA related accidents. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Motor vehicle collisions involving MBTA buses and light rail cars;
  2. Getting struck as pedestrians by MBTA trains, buses, and commuter rails;
  3. Slipping and falling at MBTA stations when the premises were not being maintained properly;
  4. Getting struck by falling objects at MBTA stations;
  5. Train derailments;
  6. Malfunctioning door systems on MBTA trains; and
  7. Malfunctioning equipment (e.g. escalators and elevators) on MBTA premises.

What are some things to keep in mind when bringing an injury or death claim against the MBTA?

The MBTA is owned and funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and therefore is considered a public employer. As a a public employer, some unique rules apply to personal injury cases concerning the MBTA that may not be relevant in other personal injury lawsuits.

In order to institute a civil action against the MBTA, a letter presenting the claim must be sent to the Executive Officer as defined by statute, within two years of the incident date. The MBTA must then deny the claim in writing. If the MBTA doesn’t respond within six months, then its lack of response can count as final denial of the claim. The standard three-year statute of limitations that applies to typical personal injury cases also still applies to MBTA related personal injury cases.

Moreover, compensation from the MBTA – in the event that they are found by a jury to be negligent in causing injury to a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit – cannot exceed $100,000 unless the plaintiff suffered “serious bodily injury,” defined as “bodily injury which results in a permanent disfigurement, or loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ, or death.”

Transportation liability cases are unique and notoriously complex and as such, they require careful handling. SUGARMAN’s experienced personal injury attorneys have extensive knowledge of the intricacies of cases against transit entities like the MBTA and have litigated many such cases. If you or a loved one has been injured by the MBTA, you can reach us for a consultation by calling (617) 542-1000, emailing info@sugarman.com, or filling out our Contact Form.