Buses are a way of life and a source of reliable transportation for hundreds of thousands of people in New Jersey. With public transportation, ordinary traffic, and private transportation companies on the road, it’s no wonder that bus accidents happen.
If you were injured as a passenger on the bus, a bystander, or the driver of another car involved in the wreck, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries and lost wages. The attorneys of Morelli Law have years of experience with personal injury cases and understand the complicated nature of bus crashes.
We have helped bus and train accident victims recover millions of dollars in damages. Find out more about how a Passaic bus accident attorney may be able to help you and how our attorneys get results.
Passaic Bus Accident Lawyer FAQ
It’s unsettling to be involved in a bus accident. These vehicles are huge and can cause lots of damage. Even when you are simply a bystander, the spectacle of a bus accident can be traumatic.
If you were injured in a bus crash, it’s normal to feel confused and overwhelmed. You may have doubts about the correct next steps to take, so we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions to help you sort things out.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident? Contact Morelli Law877-751-9800
How Long do I Have to File a Claim After a Bus Accident?
Time is crucial if you were hurt in a bus accident in New Jersey. There is a very brief window to file any claim for compensation. And if you miss it, you forfeit your right to pursue legal action.
- If you were in a bus crash that involved a transit authority bus, school bus, or another government-owned bus, you have only 90 days to give notice of your intention to file a claim to the proper agencies.
- Personal injury laws in New Jersey indicate that in general, you have two years to file a personal injury claim in a bus crash where the bus was non-government owned, privately owned, or a commercial carrier.
- If you were under 18 years of age at the time of the crash, the clock for these deadlines begins upon your 18th birthday.
Retaining the services of a Passaic bus accent lawyer now can help you preserve your right to file and protect your ability to pursue the maximum amount of compensation to pay for your damages.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Bus Accidents in New Jersey?
It depends on many factors, including who owned the bus, who employed the driver, who had responsibility for maintenance of the vehicle, and many other variables. The main concern is whether the bus was operated by a government entity or a private company.
If more than one bus was involved in the crash, or there were several other vehicles involved, the case can become extremely complicated. In any individual case, it will depend on the specific evidence and various factors that may have caused the crash.
In general, the following entities are considered when determining the liable parties in a bus accident case:
Municipal or State Agencies or Related Government Entities
Certain government agencies can be responsible. If negligence in safety practices or maintenance led to the accident, for example, the agencies responsible for ensuring these practices are implemented and maintained can be held to account.
The bus driver or drivers of other vehicles can be held responsible if their actions were unsafe or they did not adhere to the traffic laws. Some examples of driver liability would be running a red light or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
New Jersey Transit or another public entity that operates the buses can be held responsible in bus accidents. The laws surrounding government entities are very complex and there are strict legal deadlines, so it is important to consult a bus accident lawyer in Passaic as soon as possible.
Maintenance Providers for the Bus
Companies that perform mechanical duties, repairs, and maintenance on the buses can be held liable if maintenance was not performed correctly or the bus was in a state of disrepair. An example of this would be a mechanic who failed to perform repairs or regular maintenance and sent the bus back out on the road.
Vehicle and Part Manufacturers
The makers of the bus, parts, and safety equipment on the bus could be held liable for the crash if defects in the parts or manufacturing process are to blame. An example of this would be faulty tires or brakes that failed because they were not made properly.
I Can’t Afford to Hire a Lawyer. How Can I Get Legal Advice After a Bus Accident?
Attorneys for personal injuries and mass transit accidents often accept cases on a contingent basis. Our firm will consult with you free of charge, so there are never any out-of-pocket costs to you. Attorneys understand that legal costs are typically not an expense most people budget for.
Contingency means that we only accept payment after the case is successfully settled or awarded damages in court. Our fees are clearly written and determined up front so that there will be no surprise fees.
The legal fees of attorneys in bus accident cases are generally taken as a percentage of the amount won in the trial or from the settlement amount. These fees are generally in the 30-40% range, which is standard for the industry.
What Damages Are Considered in Bus Accidents With Public Transit Involvement?
You may be wondering what damages are considered in a bus accident case. Depending on the circumstances, you may or may not be eligible to pursue pain and suffering damages.
If a government entity operated the bus involved in the crash, you may be eligible to pursue non-economic damages like pain and suffering only if:
- You experienced permanent injuries
- You have permanent disfigurement from the injuries
- Or amputation was necessary because of the accident
NJ Transit is immune to certain liabilities because they are a public entity. This is why it’s imperative to work with an experienced bus accident attorney in Passaic following an accident.
They understand the legal complexities and can identify all sources of liability, even when government agencies seem to be at fault. Many factors and “moving parts” are required in operating a bus. If negligence caused the failure of one of those parts, your lawyer can find it.
What Damages Can I Collect in a Commercial Bus Accident?
Damages for personal injury cases in bus accidents that are commercially owned are subject to the regular standards of personal injury and tort law. You may have been a passenger on the bus, the driver of another car, a passenger in another vehicle, or a bystander who got hurt.
Commercial buses can be party buses, rental buses, corporate transportation, buses running shuttle services at public events, or passenger buses that take passengers out of state, just to name a few.
These are the general considerations of damages that can be awarded in a bus accident case:
Medical Expenses, Hospital Bills
Any medical cost for hospital visits, emergency transport, surgeries, physical therapy, prescriptions, rehabilitation, or related costs can be calculated in the damages following the accident.
If your injuries require long-term treatment, the costs of future medical bills can be determined and admitted for damage consideration by your bus accident attorney.
Loss of Wages
Time off work to treat your injuries, go to doctor visits, and time to recover can take a significant amount of your pay. The income you lost will be accounted for. If you aren’t able to return to your job and vocational rehabilitation is an option these costs can also be added. If you become permanently disabled, the loss of future earnings will be a factor.
The non-economic damages are harder to determine, but by using the results of previous cases your attorney can provide you with a reasonable estimate that could be awarded. This includes things like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, psychological costs, disfigurement, and other damages associated with your injuries.
The amount of disruption to your life, the time it takes to recover, and the level of pain typically experienced in the treatment of your injuries are big factors in determining this amount.
A bus accident attorney can calculate your damages to make certain you are sufficiently compensated to cover all the associated costs.
What Are the Most Common Causes of NJ Bus Accidents?
Some of the common causes of bus accidents involve human error. Other causes may be mechanical or even related to poorly maintained traffic signals. The individual factors of your case will all be examined to determine the cause, and an experienced bus accident lawyer will understand how to locate any and all liable parties.
Some of the most common reasons for bus accidents involve:
- Violating traffic rules – Obeying the laws of the road should be a given when you are chauffeuring hundreds of people around the city every day. Unfortunately, drivers may tailgate, use excessive speed, fail to compensate for weather conditions or fail to observe a traffic signal and cause an accident.
- Distracted driver – Driving a bus takes lots of concentration and observational skills. Using the phone, passenger interaction, eating or drinking, texting, or even fatigue can lead to accidents while driving.
- DUI – Addiction is a terrible disease that causes ordinary people to do inconceivable things, such as driving under the influence. Even if the driver is suffering the effects of too much cold medicine, there can be dangerous consequences. Bus drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs can create havoc while operating something as large as a bus.
- Defective parts – In rare instances, parts can fail and lead to an accident. This can be the steering mechanism, a brake failure, or even faulty tires. If the parts aren’t made properly, the bus is in danger of crashing.
- Lack of maintenance – If the bus isn’t properly maintained and checked for safety, the functions of the vehicle can fail and result in accidents.
The passengers in a bus are often reading, chatting, or passing the time. You may not have a clue what happened to cause the accident and won’t be able to recall any details. Passengers expect the bus driver to be alert and the bus to be mechanically sound.
If you were hurt but don’t remember anything that led to the crash, don’t be alarmed. Our firm’s bus accident lawyers in Passaic can investigate everything and get to the bottom of it.
Shouldn’t I Just Deal With the Insurance Company Myself?
While it may be tempting to attempt to save yourself money by handling everything yourself, attempts to do so can often backfire. You are going up against insurance companies, possibly several of them, who all have armies of personnel dedicated to preserving their bottom line.
Obtaining full compensation from insurance companies is full of obstacles. They may use stall tactics, such as piling on mountains of paperwork to push you past legal deadlines so that you lose your rights. They can take your statements and twist them against you in an attempt to discredit the severity or cause of your injuries.
These adjusters are trained professionals who understand how to manipulate people into accepting a much smaller amount than you are entitled to. If they can get you to accept their settlement offer you waive your rights to pursue any further claims. This applies even when their check turns out to be insufficient to cover future medical complications.
Contact Morelli Law Today for a Free Case Evaluation
Our Passaic bus accident lawyers will stop the insurance companies from taking advantage of you. Our attorneys will always have your best interests in mind, and we fight vigorously to win. We’re skilled negotiators with decades of serving accident injury victims, and we get results.
New Jersey bus accident cases can become complex very quickly, even when the cause of the accident seems apparent. The attorneys of Morelli Law Firm will work tirelessly for the recovery of your damages while handling all the contacts and critical details.
We will not hesitate to engage with big industries in court if the negotiations don’t yield a favorable outcome. Before you sign anything or accept any settlement, make a call to a lawyer and request a free case evaluation to learn more about your options.