There is no question that the Long Island Railroad has known that the gap between the train platform and the train is a dangerous and hazardous condition.
Newsday has recently reported that the Long Island Railroad was aware of over 300 incidents of passengers who suffered injuries from falling into the gap at different train platforms in New York.
In New York, when a person trips, slips or falls and suffers injury, a lawyer must determine if the owner of the property knew about the dangerous condition and failed to correct it in a timely manner. In the alternative, if the property owner should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to correct the condition in a timely fashion, they will be held responsible as well.
Questions often arise as to whether the defective condition existed for such a period of time that would allow the owner to know about the problem and take reasonable measures to correct it before someone else suffered further injury.
So here's the analysis:
Let's say a passenger fell at the Syosset train station in a place where the gap was 10 inches wide. The Long Island Railroad had been put on notice by virtue of the fact that the injury occurred, police and emergency personnel were called to the scene. Let's say the next day another passenger also fell around the same location where there's a gap of 9 inches between the train and the platform. Again this puts the Railroad on notice of a potentially hazardous problem. It is unlikely that the one-day delay gave insufficient time information to make any reasonable repairs to prevent the second injury from occurring.
But what if one month or two months or three months down the road another passenger falls in and around the same area where there was a wide enough gap for person to fall in and get injured? Is this a sufficient enough time for the Railroad to have investigated the original injury claims and if necessary make repairs?
One could argue that the Railroad certainly knew about the dangerous condition and should have kindly corrected. If the Railroad claims that they did not yet have a sufficient enough time to learn about the problem then one could argue that they should have known based upon the three passengers who have become injured based upon the size of the gap that that particular station.
Importantly, the Long Island Railroad only began to get serious about trying to correct the gap problem after a death occurred from a passenger slipping through the gap, under the tracks and attempted to make her way up out of the track area. Multiple legal claims have been filed since that time.
So remember, just because you fall does not mean that the owner of the property is responsible. We must determine whether the owner of the property knew or should have known of a dangerous or defective condition that caused your injury before we can turn around and say that they should be responsible for compensating you.