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New York Bus Accident Attorney

NYC Bus AccidentsRiding the bus is a very environment friendly, cost-effective and generally a safe way to commute in New York City. However, when a bus accident does occur there is definitely the potential for significant injuries or even fatalities, involving multiple victims. Bus occupants could be thrown from their seats and sustain blunt force trauma. They could be ejected from the vehicle through the door or windows and suffer critical injuries. It is important for a commuter who has been injured in a bus accident — whether it occurred in the city while riding a city bus or during inter-state travel — to know and understand his or her legal rights and options.

Riding a bus in New York

Many New Yorkers rely on local bus companies every day. According to the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there were 2,169,311 riders on average every weekday in the year 2012. Throughout the entire year, there were 667,910,621 riders on MTA buses. That number does not include passengers of other private bus companies that travel to and from the city.

Bus Accident Statistics

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 254 people in the United States were killed in 221 fatal bus accidents in the year 2009. For every 100 million miles traveled by buses that year, 1.77 people were killed. During that same year, there were about 9,000 injury accidents involving buses resulting in approximately 20,000 injuries. That means for every 100 million miles traveled by buses, 140.5 people were injured.

Causes of Bus Accidents

A number of bus accidents happen due to bus driver error or negligence. Some collisions involving buses may also occur due to the fault of other drivers. Common causes for New York bus accidents include:

  • Driver inattention: As of October 28, 2013, more stringent rules and regulations have been put in place that affect motor carriers in New York. Drivers employed by all commercial carriers, including bus companies, cannot use cell phones or texting devices while operating a vehicle.
  • Bus driver fatigue: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes a number of restrictions regarding how long bus drivers can work without rest. Bus companies are responsible for making sure that their drivers are well rested and capable of focusing on the task at hand. Bus drivers must keep logs that show they are not violating the federal hours-of-service regulations.
  • Aggressive driving: Driving at excessive speeds, making unsafe lane changes and unsafe turns are some of the most common examples of aggressive driving that can lead to major injury bus accidents.
  • Faulty equipment: Some preventable bus accidents occur because bus companies fail to inspect, monitor and repair faulty equipment. It is particularly important that the tires and brakes of vehicles be inspected routinely and maintained in good working order. Bus companies that choose to cut corners by failing to repair broken parts can be held accountable for their negligence.
  • Impaired drivers: Bus and truck drivers are held to a higher standard than drivers of passenger vehicles with regard to impaired driving. Bus companies are responsible for randomly testing their drivers for alcohol and drug use. Bus companies that hire drivers with DUI violations on their record can be held liable for negligent hiring.

Common Carriers and Legal Responsibility

In most states, common carriers such as bus companies are legally required to provide the utmost level of care to their passengers. This means that they owe an extraordinary duty of care and diligence and are required under the law to protect their passengers from injury or harm. In 1998, New York’s highest court had ruled that the common carrier’s duty of “extraordinary care is no longer viable.” Therefore, common carriers in this state are required to provide “reasonable care” under all circumstances to their passengers.

This decision means that New York bus passengers are still able to pursue compensation for the injuries they have suffered in an accident, but they will have to prove negligence on the part of the bus driver or bus company. Bus companies and bus drivers in New York City are still required by law to act with care and they must avoid negligent conduct. They must also ensure that buses are properly maintained, that passengers are let off at reasonably safe places and that there is adequate lighting on the bus.

What to Do after a Bus Accident

Victims of New York bus accidents would be well advised to:

  • Write down the name of their bus driver and bus number and of other drivers or parties involved in the crash.
  • Ask for emergency services to respond.
  • Have names of involved parties mentioned on the police report.
  • Collect contact information from anyone who witnessed the crash.
  • Seek medical attention and treatment for any injuries suffered.
  • Take photographs of the crash scene and of any injuries sustained.

Getting the Support You Need

Victims of New York bus accidents can seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

If you or a loved one has been injured, or if you have lost a loved one in a bus accident due to someone else’s negligence, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. With more than 42 years of experience, we work tirelessly to help obtain the best possible compensation for injured victims and for families of deceased victims.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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