The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has paid out more than $1.1 billion in claims for personal injury and property damage over the last 12 years, according to a new report [pdf] by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

The claims include $285,046 paid by the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad to riders who ripped their pants or other items of clothing on the armrests in the M7 train cars. The armrests are notorious among riders on the two railroads because their design makes them uniquely suited to snag on clothing, especially pants pockets. The two railroads received a total of more than 1,400 claims for torn clothing last year, significantly more than the two previous years, when about 800 claims were filed annually.

The report said that overall, the two commuter railroads and New York City Transit received a total of 86,875 claims of all types from 1996 to 2007. Since 1996, 85 cases have been settled for $1 million or more, at a total cost of $233 million, or a fifth of all claims paid.

Over the period covered by the study claims have generally amounted to less than $100 million a year. Last year they reached $144 million because of the settlement of some unusually large claims. The authority’s annual operating budget is more than $10 billion.