Staten Island Bus Accident Lawyer
Buses are an effective means of transportation for both long trips and short daily commutes. Staten Island residents typically use local and express buses throughout the Island, owned and operated by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and/or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). But countless private charter buses are also moving in and out of Staten Island transporting passengers into Manhattan, New Jersey, or even longer distances.
If you were injured in a bus accident on Richmond Avenue, Victory Boulevard, Hylan Boulevard or any other Staten Island roadway, you need experienced legal help. Obtaining compensation for a bus accident is often a harder process than the one following a car crash. More evidence is in play for these mass transit events and suing a public entity like the NYCTA or the MTA can be extremely frustrating. Contact The O’Connor Law Firm today to understand your legal options.
Types of Bus Accidents
There is no “typical” bus accident. Instead, each accident must be analyzed on its own terms to understand how it unfolded. In our experience, we have seen many of the following bus accidents:
- Collisions. A bus can collide with another motor vehicle or a cyclist or pedestrian. Either the bus driver or someone else on the road could be at fault, and there are injured victims both inside and outside the bus.
- Sudden stops. A bus operator may hit the brakes hard, making an abrupt and sudden stop causing passengers to fall while on the bus.
- Slip and falls. A rider can slip or trip and fall when boarding or exiting the bus. Staten Island’s inclement weather, such as snow or rain, makes boarding a bus difficult. A person can be injured when they fall or strike their head.
- Overrides. A bus might run over a cyclist or pedestrian. Children, in particular, might lose something under the bus and crawl under the bus to retrieve it, leading to tragedy when the bus starts moving again.
- Bus defects. Some defects on the bus can cause injury. A seat might collapse, or an overhead bin might spill contents onto passengers.
- Attacks. A bus passenger, or sometimes even the driver, might attack a bus rider. Some passengers sustain serious injuries because no one comes to their aid and the attack goes on for several minutes.
Causes of Staten Island Bus Accidents
A central legal issue with Staten Island bus accidents is a liability. In other words, we need to pinpoint who is to blame because a person is injured. Liability will depend on the circumstances:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Driver carelessness
- Failure to yield
- Failure to use mirrors
- Poor bus maintenance
- Manufacturing or design defect
- Roadway defect
- Road rage
Available Compensation After a Bus Accident
Personal injury claims should compensate a victim for their economic and non-economic losses. For example, a bus accident probably causes serious bodily injuries, such as fractures, back injuries, head injuries, and concussions. Our clients often need surgery and/or rehabilitation before they can return to something approximating their normal lives.
This medical care is expensive. Add in doctor visits, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter devices, and many bus accident victims can spend tens of thousands of dollars to treat their injuries. A personal injury settlement should cover those medical expenses.
Our clients often qualify for damages to cover lost income or lost wages, even if they are self-employed. They can also obtain compensation to cover the damage to their property. If you were driving a car that collided with a bus, then your car could be destroyed. A fair settlement should cover the cost to repair or replace a vehicle.
Non-economic losses include pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, depression, or other negative emotions. A serious injury leading to amputation or immobility can make life very difficult.
Possible Defendants in a Bus Accident
The identity of the person responsible for a bus accident matters a great deal when it comes to obtaining compensation. Some possible defendants include:
- The bus driver. If the driver was negligent or reckless, they are to blame for the wreck. You can sue the driver directly. However, most drivers have few assets to cover the injuries suffered by accident victims, so finding an additional defendant is helpful.
- The driver’s employer. Under New York law, an employer is automatically liable when their employees injure people negligently while working. If a careless Greyhound driver causes a collision, the victims can sue Greyhound bus company as the employer.
- The NYCTA and/or MTA. If you are injured in a crash with an NYCTA or MTA bus, then you can sue the agency. You will need to make a claim with them within 90 days of the accident, which is a very short deadline. We encourage accident victims to immediately reach out to a Staten Island bus accident attorney whenever they are involved in an NYCTA or MTA collision.
- Another motorist. Imagine that a driver cut off your bus. This action would make them liable for the accident, and you would need to seek compensation from this driver’s insurance provider.
- The City of New York. A road defect might have contributed to the crash, which would make the City liable for the accident. As with the NYCTA/MTA, you must provide a notice of claim within 90 days to the correct office.
- The bus manufacturer. Some defects on the bus could have made it dangerous to drive. Bringing a suit against a manufacturer for a defective product is very complicated.
- A bus passenger. If you were attacked on a bus, you can sue the person who attacked you. You might also have a claim against the NYCTA/MTA or the bus company for failure to provide adequate security on the bus.
As you can see, there is no one typical bus accident case. Suing a private bus company like Greyhound is radically different than bringing a claim against a municipal defendant like the NYCTA or MTA. Different deadlines apply and different insurance policies come into play.
What to Do Following a Staten Island Bus Accident
Bus accidents can be disorientating. One moment you are riding peacefully and the next you could be in a ditch or resting on your neck. Injured victims often have no idea what happened or what they should do.
We recommend that anyone involved in a bus accident:
- Seek emergency medical care if necessary. Buses are very heavy, and you could be seriously injured if struck by one. Call an ambulance to come to pick up anyone suffering from a serious injury or ask a bystander to call for you.
- Get pictures of the bus and any vehicles involved in a crash. If you can move around, then use your cell phone to take pictures of where the vehicles ended up. We can use these pictures to better understand what happened.
- Take pictures of any hazards on the bus. If a handrail breaks off or the bus has snow accumulation that you fall on, get a picture. You want to prove that the hazard existed, which caused you to fall.
- Identify witnesses. Get the names of any drivers involved in the crash or bus passengers. They can help flesh out what happened in the moments leading up to a collision.
- Call the police. An officer should come out and complete a report. Call even if you suspect other people are calling.
- Contact an attorney. Some bus companies will quickly reach out to offer compensation, or they might want to take a recorded statement to hear your side of events. You would benefit from having an experienced attorney with you.
Speak with a Staten Island Bus Accident Attorney
The legal team at The O’Connor Law Firm is well versed in bus accident claims, and we can help sift through the legal and factual issues to identify the correct party at fault and develop a strategy to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, confidential case evaluation.