In an urban area like New York, many people rely on buses to commute to work, to school, or to attend to other errands. While most trips end safely, some end in devastating accidents in which victims suffer serious injuries. Like in trucks, a collision between a bus and a passenger car would be tragic for the smaller car.
However, an accident involving a bus is different. Instead of carrying cargo, it carries people inside, most of whom may not be wearing safety belts. A collision can cause these passengers to fly in the cabin and collide with each other, the seats, or the interior walls of the bus. Often, passengers suffer life-threatening injuries, some of which are fatal.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), out of 975,000 registered buses in the U.S, only 225 fatal bus accidents occurred in 216. Despite the seemingly low numbers, these accidents are far too many considering that they are preventable. If you were injured in a bus accident, you may be entitled to seek justice for the losses and expenses you may incur and for the pain and suffering you may endure.
Buses often have large insurance covers, which makes them invest in a legal defense team to protect their interests. For this reason, they will do all they can to deny you your claim or to offer a low payout. We encourage you to speak with a Long Island bus accident lawyer to help you recover the maximum compensation that you may be entitled to. Contact Morelli Law Firm at (212) 751-9800 for a free case evaluation.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Auto drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians to operate their vehicles safely. But for bus drivers, they are held at a higher duty to safely get the passengers to their destinations. Like in many vehicle accidents, bus crashes and rollovers are caused by negligence on the part of the bus driver and or the bus company. Some of the common causes include:
Driver fatigue is a form of impairment that affects drivers. Fatigue impairs the driver’s ability to drive safely by reducing their reaction time to road situations, impairing their judgment, causing cloudy thoughts, and decreasing the driver’s alertness. Federal law has set strict rules that regulate the number of hours a commercial bus driver may spend behind the wheel without taking a break and how long each break should last.
Despite these rules, some drivers may work through their fatigue and work for longer hours in an attempt to boost their wages. School bus drivers can also experience driver fatigue after driving for long hours, for instance on a trip.
Driving Under the Influence
Drugs and alcohol contribute to countless auto accidents every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving under the influence is the leading cause of fatal traffic accidents. There is no excuse for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The decision to drive under alcohol is one of gross negligence. Due to impaired judgment, low reaction, and poor decision making, an intoxicated driver often causes serious and fatal accidents.
Bus drivers are most times under pressure to meet certain deadlines. When they run into delays such as weather or traffic, they are more likely to speed to compensate for the time lost. Considering the weight, size, and center of gravity of buses, they require more work to come to a stop as compared to other vehicles. When a bus driver is speeding in stop and go traffic, it becomes almost unavoidable for rear-end collisions to occur, where excess speeding is a factor.
When a driver shifts their attention from the road to another activity, they increase the risk of being involved in an accident. The use of cell phones is the most common form of distraction among bus drivers, but passenger disruptions can also distract the driver.
Shared Duty and Comparative Negligence in Bus Accidents
Bus accidents can be complex, and even more complex is to determine the party at fault. In some cases, other parties other than the driver may contribute or cause an accident. Some of them may include:
- Other road users: Other motor vehicle drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians can cause accidents
- Poor road conditions: Poorly designed or maintained roads may have hazards that may cause bus accidents
- Manufacturing defect: If a defective part causes a bus accident, the manufacturer may be held liable under a product liability claim
- Passengers on the bus if they cause the driver to be distracted
- Bus driver’s employee: The bus driver’s employee may be held liable if they failed to provide proper training to their drivers, or failed to do background checks
Depending on the party responsible, a lawsuit may be filed differently from an ordinary personal injury claim. For instance, if a roadway problem causes an accident, you may file a claim against the local authorities responsible for maintaining the road. If two or more parties contribute to an accident, it’s possible to file a claim against multiple parties.
What happens if you were partially at fault? In this case, you may still be entitled to recover damages, but the recoverable amount may be reduced by the percentage in which you are at fault. Let’s say, for instance, you were hurt in a bus accident and the jury finds that you were responsible for 20% of the cause of the accident. Under New York’s Doctrine of Comparative Negligence, you may be entitled to receive 80% of the damages.
This controversial standard may place an undue burden on you, especially if you were only slightly responsible for damages. A Long Island bus accident lawyer will work hard to ensure that the degree of fault assigned to you is fair and reasonable. Call (212) 751-9800 today for your free case review.
Long Island Bus Accident Lawyer Near Me 877-751-9800
Recoverable Damages in a Bus Accident
As with other types of accidents, you may recover economic damages such as medical bills and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. A Long Island bus accident lawyer is standing by to fight for you.
Statute of Limitations
Depending on the lawsuit, different time limitations may apply. In New York, an ordinary personal injury case must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. Cases against government entities are difficult to deal with as they have strict limitations. The statute of limitations for cases against government entities is 6 months. If you fail to file a claim within 6 months, you lose the right to file a lawsuit regarding the accident. Let our lawyers handle your municipal or school bus accident cases promptly.
Contact Morelli Law Firm Today
Our lawyers are committed to navigating the complex personal injury claim and ensuring that you are compensated fairly. Call Morelli Law Firm at (212) 751-9800 for a free case evaluation. A Long Island bus accident lawyer can protect your rights.