Data from the National Transportation Safety Board shows that every year, more than 700 million passengers use city buses for commuting. Although most of these people get to their destination in a safe way, there are several thousand people who get injured in bus accidents every year. Cities like New York that have a high volume of traffic and congested city roads see far greater number of bus accidents. If you have been involved in an accident involving a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus or a school bus as a commuter, a motorist or as a pedestrian, you can file a bus accident injury claim in NYC.
What Types of Buses Are Involved in Accidents in New York?
It is important to understand what distinguishes bus accident injury claims from other personal injury claims in New York. But before that you should know what type of buses may be involved in NYC accidents. As defined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a bus is any vehicle that is designed and constructed in a manner that allows it to be used to transport passengers. Bus accidents in NYC may involve any of the following types of buses:
While bus accidents certainly cause injuries to the passengers traveling in the bus, they are also likely to be very dangerous for pedestrians or the occupants of other vehicles on the road.
What Are the Common Causes of Bus Accidents in NYC?
There are several factors that may be responsible for causing a bus accident. The sheer size of a bus makes it a more challenging vehicle to operate and maneuver in high-density traffic. It can be quite difficult for the bus driver to see smaller vehicles on the road. Changing lanes and coming to an immediate stop to avoid another vehicle or a pedestrian who steps off the sidewalk are also quite difficult tasks for buses and this increases the risk of a collision.
Bus drivers who have been working without enough rest, or those without adequate training or experience are far more likely to drive in a manner that increases the risk of a bus accident. Like any other driver who is distracted or speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, bus drivers who indulge in such behaviors are far more likely to cause an accident.
Buses are complex machines and require regular checks and maintenance or repairs to ensure that they continue to function well. However, unfortunately, this maintenance is often not provided at the right time or at regular intervals. A bus that lacks adequate safety equipment or one that has poorly functioning brakes is often a disaster waiting to happen.
Overloading of a bus, bad weather conditions, and poorly maintained roads may also contribute to bus accidents in New York City.
Reasons Why Bus Accident Injury Claims are More Complicated
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, it is important that you pursue the legal process to claim compensation for your injury. Having an experienced NYC bus accident attorney on your side can make a huge difference to your ability to recover compensation. This is because bus accident injury claims are quite different from other personal injury claims in the following ways.
#1: Bus accidents involve more people
Car accidents generally involve just the drivers, or the passengers traveling in the cars that collided with each other. Even in cases when a car is involved in a crash with a motorcycle or a bicyclist or a pedestrian, only a few people are injured. Buses however carry an average of 60 passengers and an accident is likely to injure all or most of them. This makes it more difficult for every injured person to be able to receive full compensation because the financial source is more likely to get exhausted quickly.
#2: Bus accidents cause more severe injuries
Buses are not fitted with seatbelts or airbags, and this means that passengers inside the bus are far more likely to sustain severe injuries. More importantly, the sheer size and weight of the bus are responsible for creating greater damage to the occupants of the other vehicle with which the bus collided, and there is a far greater probability of fatality in bus accidents.
#3: Determining fault in bus accidents can be quite complex
When a huge vehicle such as a bus causes a crash on the congested streets of NYC, it is quite common for multiple vehicles to be involved in the accident. So, finding answers to questions of how the accident occurred, who the party at fault for the accident was, and whether there were multiple parties responsible for causing the accident is far more complicated and time-consuming.
#4: There could be multiple legally responsible parties
In a car accident, it is generally the person driving the car who is held responsible for the accident. However, fixing legal responsibility is not so easy in bus accidents. While the bus driver is certainly responsible for any errant behavior that led to the accident, there could be other parties also involved. These could include:
#5: A need for greater data collection
In order to prove fault, it’s critical to collect all the relevant data. This could include:
#6: Complicated corporate insurance structures
The insurance structures of bus companies can be far more complex than those of individuals. So, it is not very easy to find out the extent of compensation that may be available to the injured parties.
If you have suffered an injury in a bus accident in New York, it can be almost impossible for you to get access to all the relevant data and evidence that is important to receive the damages that you actually deserve. Bus companies are powerful entities and within minutes of an accident, their team of insurance adjusters and attorneys will be on the scene, trying to do the best they can to protect their client.
If you fail to hire a skilled New York City bus accident attorney who has the resources to protect your interests, you may end up without any meaningful compensation for the injury, pain and suffering you had to endure for no fault of your own.
What are Vicarious Liability and Direct Liability in NYC Bus Accidents?
When a bus is involved in an accident, the entity that operates that bus may be considered directly liable for the accident. This applies to those cases where it can be proved that the operator’s negligence was directly responsible for the accident.
For example, if an NYC charter tour bus causes an accident because of a driving error and an investigation later shows that the tour company did not provide sufficient training to the driver before allowing him to drive, the company can be directly liable for the accident.
Bus drivers do not own the buses they drive; they are merely employees who have been hired by a company. So, if an accident is caused when the driver is on the job, the employer who hired him is considered vicariously liable for the crash. The clause of vicarious liability is actually advantageous to the accident victims because companies are more likely to have the financial resources to provide compensation as compared to the bus driver alone.
Contact a Bus Accident Injury Claim Attorney in New York
Being injured in a bus accident in New York can be a harrowing experience. Along with the physical and emotional pain and suffering, you may also suffer significant financial loss. To claim damages for your loss, you will need to prove that another party was at fault for your injury.
This will require a detailed investigation of the bus and other vehicles involved in the crash, the dashcam recordings, other electronic and GPS data, and records of the bus driver and the bus company. In a bus accident, collecting and preserving all this evidence can be a daunting task, and determining liability can be tricky too for an individual.
At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our experienced bus accident lawyers work with bus crash investigators, bus accident forensic experts, doctors, and financial experts to investigate the accident and the impact of the injuries you suffered. We have helped thousands of bus accident victims claim the compensation they deserved.
To discuss how we can work together, call us today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential case evaluation.
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