Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents happen for various reasons, including:
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving is a leading cause of all accidents in the United States. A bus driver may be distracted by texting, adjusting a navigation device, eating, reaching for an item, daydreaming, or doing another activity that pulls their attention off the road.
- Fatigued driving – Many bus drivers work long hours and remain stationary for most of their shift. If a driver exceeds the number of hours they are legally permitted to work, fatigue could easily cause an accident. Fatigue also leads to impaired judgment, an inability to concentrate, delayed reaction time, and even episodes of microsleep.
- Hazardous road conditions – New York sees its share of inclement weather, which can contribute to bus accidents, especially if the driver fails to adjust their speed and driving to accommodate the adverse conditions.
- Inexperienced drivers – We’d like to think that all bus drivers are highly qualified for their jobs. But sometimes, negligent employers fail to fully vet their drivers before hiring them. Drivers without proper training or who have a dangerous driving background are more likely to cause bus accidents on Long Island.
- Improper weight distribution – Buses have a higher center of gravity than cars due to their height. This is especially true for multi-level buses. Stowing too much baggage or allowing too many passengers on a bus increases the chances of a rollover crash.
- Mechanical defects – Buses require routine inspections and maintenance. Defective parts or improper maintenance can cause bus accidents due to equipment failures.
Finally, it is worth noting that some bus accidents are caused by other motorists and not negligence on the part of the bus driver or bus company. A skilled bus accident injury lawyer can investigate and determine who is at fault in your case.
Common Long Island Bus Lines
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) manages transit through Long Island, New York City, New York State, and Connecticut. The MTA Bus Company is one agency within the MTA and is responsible for a fleet of nearly 6,000 buses transporting travelers through those areas.
Long Island is also home to other public and private bus companies. These include:
- MTA Long Island Bus
- Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE)
- Suffolk County Transit (SCT)
- Hampton Jitney
- Huntington Area Rapid Transit (HART)
- City of Long Beach Bus Transportation
- Other Private Charter Bus and Coach Bus Companies
If you sustain injuries in a bus accident, your right to compensation will depend on who is responsible for the crash. While the fault may seem obvious to you, the case could be more complicated than you think. A top bus accident lawyer from Finz & Finz, P.C. will determine liability and push aggressively for maximum compensation from all liable parties.
What To Do After Being Injured in a Long Island Bus Accident
If you suffered injuries in a Long Island bus accident, take these steps to protect your health and legal rights:
- Seek prompt medical attention – Your health is always the top priority. Take an ambulance if paramedics recommend it. If you don’t need emergency care, see your doctor right away. If you wait to be evaluated, you could jeopardize your health. In addition, the at-fault party could try to avoid liability by arguing that your injuries didn’t stem from the bus accident if you wait to seek medical assistance.
- Collect evidence at the accident scene – Take as many photos and videos as possible, both of your injuries and the crash site. Try to get shots of the bus accident scene from various angles. This can help illustrate how the crash happened.
- Gather accident-related documents – Keep track of all your medical records, hospital bills, other expenses, police accident report, and evidence collected at the scene.
- Keep a pain journal – Keep a daily record of your pain level and your psychological state. This diary can help your bus accident attorney quantify losses for pain and suffering when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Finally, consult with a highly experienced Long Island bus accident lawyer. Hiring an accomplished attorney can significantly improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation for your losses.
Can I File a Claim Against the Government for a Bus Accident?
Government entities often have sovereign immunity, which protects them from lawsuits brought by private citizens. However, there are exceptions. Some courts don’t consider entities, such as cities, municipalities, and counties, to have sovereign immunity. If the bus is part of a public transit system, the city or the county would most likely be the owner.
So, depending on the court, you could potentially bring a claim against your local government. However, government claims are handled differently than typical personal injury claims and have different deadlines that you must meet. For this reason, it’s wise to get advice from a trusted attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C.
Statute of Limitations for Long Island Bus Accident Claims
If you were injured on a bus owned by a private company, there is a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases. That means you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault party. If you don’t take legal action within this timeframe, the court will dismiss your case and you will forfeit your ability to pursue compensation.
The statute of limitations is much shorter if your case involves a public bus. You have 90 days from the date of the crash to file a notice of claim. This filing alerts the government that you plan to sue. You may lose your ability to sue if you fail to meet the 90-day requirement. It’s critical to contact a Long Island bus accident attorney right away to protect your right to pursue compensation.
How To Prove Negligence in a Bus Accident Case
Proving fault after a bus accident case is more complex than for the average car accident claim. When an individual is seriously injured in a Long Island auto accident, figuring out who is responsible can be fairly easy. But many potential parties could be liable in a bus accident, including:
- The bus driver
- The bus company
- Local or state government agencies
- The manufacturer of a defective bus part
- The company that performed maintenance on the bus
- Other motorists
In cases where multiple parties may be responsible for a crash, a Long Island bus accident lawyer will conduct an independent investigation to get a detailed understanding of what happened. Once your attorney completes a thorough review of the accident and identifies the potential defendants, they can start gathering evidence necessary to prove fault.
To prove fault, you and your lawyer will need to establish that the person or entity that caused the accident was negligent in some way.
For example, if the bus driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash, they would be considered negligent because driving while impaired is against the law in New York. Similarly, if a bus company or the municipality or transit agency failed to inspect its fleet regularly or hired an unqualified driver, that would constitute negligence.
You also need to draw a direct link between the driver’s negligence and the accident that injured you. Returning to the drunk bus driver example, you need to demonstrate that because the driver was impaired at the time of the collision, they are responsible for the accident and your injuries.
Lastly, you need to show that you suffered compensable losses because of the bus accident. If you were seriously injured, your medical bills are an example of a compensable loss.
Compensation for Bus Accident Injuries
Whether you were injured in a public or private bus accident, you could be entitled to compensation for a wide range of losses. Long Island bus accident victims can receive compensation for:
- Present and future medical expenses, including hospital bills, meals and lodging, rehabilitative care, surgery costs, prescription drug expenses, and more
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential due to a temporary or permanent disability
- Lost quality of life
- Property damage
No amount of money can make up for the injuries and trauma you suffer due to bus accident injuries. But fair compensation can help ease the financial burden of medical expenses and other costs after a bus crash, especially if you’re sidelined from work while you heal.
Talk to Our Knowledgeable Bus Accident Lawyers in Long Island Today
If you sustained serious injuries in a Long Island bus accident, you need a battle-tested trial law firm to defend your rights and champion your interests. That’s what you’ll get at Finz & Finz, P.C.
Our Long Island bus accident attorneys will provide comprehensive advice and help you navigate the entire legal process, from filing a lawsuit complaint to pursuing a settlement that fully meets your needs and goals. We’re not afraid to stand up against insurance companies and government agencies. We’ve done it before, and we’re good at what we do.
Reach out today for a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your case. Call or contact us now.