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Death on subway stairs highlights accessibility issues

Wisconsin parents may have struggled at times to take a stroller down a flight of steps. This was what a woman in a New York City subway station was attempting to do when she fell and died. Like about 75 percent of the city's 472 stations, this one did not have an elevator.

The lack of accessibility in the city's subway systems has been an ongoing issue. In 2017, the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York was the main plaintiff in state and federal lawsuits filed by the national nonprofit legal center Disability Rights Advocates. The lawsuits, which allege that the MTA is in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the New York City Human Rights Law, are ongoing.

The executive director for CIDNY points out that the lack of accessibility is an issue not only for people with walkers or in wheelchairs but for parents, people with luggage and those who are unable to climb stairs or who may be unsteady on their feet. Furthermore, commuters complain that existing elevators are sometimes broken. The MTA has increased its rate of elevator installation and says that by 2025, no rider will have to travel more than two stops without reaching a station that has an elevator.

Whether people are injured in falls, motor vehicle accidents or other types of accidents, they may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. For example, in a case like this one, the MTA might be held responsible for failing to ensure the safety of visitors on the premises. Compensation following a personal injury may be significant in helping a person pay for medical expenses and income replacement if the person is unable to work. In some cases, a responsible party may offer a settlement out of court, but if it is not enough, litigation is an option.

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