According to the New York Public Transit Association, more than half of all New Yorkers use public transportation. One of the most popular types of public transit in the city is municipal buses. While bus travel is generally safe, human error can sometimes lead to terrible accidents that cause devastating injuries.
If you were injured in a municipal bus accident in New York, you could be entitled to recover compensation for financial expenses and other damages you suffered in the wake of the crash. At Hach & Rose, LLP, our New York City bus accident lawyers understand the financial strain of medical bills and rehabilitative care many accident victims face. If you can’t work while you are recovering, you and your family could quickly fall into debt.
You deserve a chance to hold the at-fault parties accountable if you were injured due to negligence on the part of the bus driver, carrier, or another entity. However, bringing a claim or lawsuit against a government entity like a municipality is not easy. You will only have a small window of time to take legal action, and municipal bus companies are famous for undervaluing bus accident claims where firms aren’t willing to go to trial to fight for your rights. You need an experienced trial lawyer who isn’t afraid to litigate your case if necessary. You need Hach & Rose, LLP. We have successfully recovered over half a billion dollars on behalf of our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Most Common Causes of New York City Municipal Bus Accidents
Municipal bus accidents can be caused by numerous issues, but human error and negligence usually play a role. Some of the most common causes of bus accidents in New York include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Intoxicated driving
- Inexperienced drivers
- Failure to properly train and supervise drivers
- Negligent bus maintenance
- Reckless driving
- Following too closely (tailgating)
Anyone can be affected by a municipal bus accident in New York, regardless of whether they use public transportation or not. Typical types of bus accidents include:
- Collisions in which passengers on the bus or occupants of other vehicles are injured
- Buses striking pedestrians or bicyclists on the street
- The improper raising or lowering of the lift mechanism during boarding or exiting, causing passengers to fall and injure themselves
- Failure to alight, where bus drivers let passengers out in an unsafe location, where they are hit by another vehicle or fall in a pothole
The Bullies of the Road
Fully loaded, a passenger bus can weigh between 30,000 and 44,000 pounds. Considering the streets of New York City – with extraordinary numbers of both vehicles and pedestrians – a bus accident has the potential to cause countless as well as horrific injuries. Remaining attentive and cautious of road conditions, pedestrians, and other drivers should therefore be inherent to the job of bus operator. However, New York has established a rather unique and notorious driving etiquette – drivers are aggressive and impatient, bus drivers arguably (or not so arguably) being the worst of them all.
Who is Liable for a New York City Municipal Bus Accident?
The primary defendant in a New York City municipal bus accident lawsuit will usually be the NYC Transit Authority. However, other municipal bus companies could potentially be held liable as well, depending on the bus involved in the accident. These include the MTA Bus Company, MABSTOA, MTA Staten Island, and other municipal bus lines in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
While government entities often have sovereign immunity, which protects them from civil liability if a government or city employee causes an accident, exceptions exist. Many courts do not consider entities such as cities and municipalities to have sovereign immunity. Because municipal buses are part of public transit, you should be able to bring a claim against the municipal entity that operates the bus. Still, bringing a claim against the government is complex, so it’s best to seek an attorney’s advice.
To bring a successful case, you’ll need to be able to back up your injury claim with evidence. Some common types of evidence you (or your attorney) may want to seek out include:
- Bus camera footage – Almost all buses owned by municipal entities in New York have internal and external cameras. If the bus is equipped with these cameras, it should have captured the accident. This footage can provide irrefutable proof of fault and significantly strengthen your case.
- Driver information – At the scene of the accident, you should collect identifying information such as the bus driver’s name, the driver’s badge number, the bus line, and the bus route. As soon as possible after the crash, try to jot down notes about everything you can remember, including the direction the bus was traveling and the intersection closest to the accident scene.
- Any accident reports – If a bus is involved in an accident, a dispatcher will come to the scene to conduct an internal investigation and create a report. If law enforcement are called to the scene, they will also create their own accident report, which will include descriptions of your injuries, an initial determination of fault, and witness contact information.
- Witness testimony – If any nearby witnesses saw the crash occur, you should ask for their contact information. Your attorney may contact them to give a statement or even testify on your behalf at trial.
A skilled New York municipal bus accident lawyer can help you identify the at-fault party or parties, determine all possible sources of compensation, and prove your case in court.
Statute of Limitations on New York City Bus Accident Claims
In New York, most personal injury cases have a three-year statute of limitations. However, if you are suing a government entity, including a municipality, the statute of limitations is much shorter. You only have 90 days to file a notice of claim with the appropriate municipal entity. If you do not file your notice of claim within this window of time, you will most likely forfeit your ability to recover compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.
Protect Your Rights
Bus accidents are unfortunately inevitable, so it is important everyone has a basic understanding of the steps to take in case the unthinkable becomes the most devastating reality. First, the General Municipal Law mandates:
“as a condition precedent to the commencement of an action or special proceeding against a public corporation… the notice of claim shall comply with and be served in accordance with the provisions of this section within ninety days after the claim arises”
– NY General Municipal Law § 50-e (1)(a)
What this means is, if a person is involved in a bus accident they must provide the appropriate municipality with certain information within 90 days of the accident in order to receive any compensation for their injuries. As bus accident victims are already going through one of the most painful and challenging time of their lives, this can seem like an unfair hurdle to jump over just to be given the chance to recover some relief for what the accident costs them. Thankfully, retaining an attorney will lighten this additional burden as they will be there to guide you and cover the necessary groundwork. It is of great importance that an experienced personal injury attorney is retained in these matters as the injury claim can be compromised and even dismissed if procedures are not followed in the appropriate manner.
Contact a New York Bus Accident Lawyer Today
If you were injured in a municipal bus accident in New York, you need legal advocates prepared to go to trial and vigorously defend your rights. Contact a New York bus accident attorney at Hach & Rose, LLP today to get started on your claim. We have the resources to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and gather the necessary evidence to establish liability.
Our skilled litigators have extensive experience going toe-to-toe with municipal bus companies and will do everything in our power to maximize your potential compensation. Reach out to Hach & Rose, LLP today at (212) 779-0057 for a free consultation.