The Lincoln Tunnel, which is actually a set of three tunnels, is nearly 1.5 miles of enclosed road that connects New Jersey to Midtown Manhattan in NYC. Every single day, around 108,000 vehicles travel on this road carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers.
The tunnels run directly under the Hudson River and while this fantastic structure allows commuters additional options that may shorten their time on the road, if an accident occurs, it can not only disrupt the flow of traffic, but can mean that emergency services will have a difficult time reaching the victims. This was made clear to the passengers of two buses in late September of 2016.
Around 9 a.m., in addition to hundreds of passenger cars, two commuter buses were in the Lincoln Tunnel. Passengers in the bus that was in front were suddenly shocked by an impact as the second bus rear-ended them. The force of the crash crushed the windshield of the second bus, sent bags flying through the air, and pushed passengers from their seats. The door of the second bus was so damaged that when help did manage to get through the traffic backup, rescue workers had to cut it open in order to get to the victims.
A total of 44 passengers on both buses were injured. The worst of the injuries were broken bones, including one victim whose jaw was broken.
It took two hours for emergency responders to get all of the victims to safety and for the road to be cleared of the buses and debris. Ultimately, the police determined that the second bus driver was at fault and issued a ticket for unsafe lane changes.
Who’s Responsible For The Victim’s Medical Bills?
Buses are what is known as a “common carrier”, which means they are used to transport people or goods. If an accident results in losses, the person or company in charge of the common carrier is responsible.
This means that when you purchase a ticket, the driver and company become legally responsible for your safety while on the vehicle. Victims who are injured in an accident typically have their medical bills paid by the insurance company whose policy covers the bus, but they frequently also have the option of pursuing legal action against the party who caused the accident.
Why File A Lawsuit?
Insurance policies only cover victims until the policy limits run out. With 44 injured passengers, it is possible that there simply might not be enough money to go around. It’s also very possible that the injuries sustained may cause life-long pain and suffering. One might not think that broken bones are a big deal, but the reality is that complications from the break can impact the victim for years. For example, the rider who sustained a broken jaw may have a simple recovery with minimal discomfort, or they may experience:
- A malocclusion: If the break isn’t set properly or if there is a large amount of scarring, the jaw may no longer align properly. This can cause discomfort, pain, damage to the teeth, and may even mean that they are unable to close their jaw.
- Difficulty eating: If there is a malocclusion, it can result in difficulty chewing and swallowing, which can, in turn, cause the aspiration of food into the lungs. If food is aspirated, there is the possibility of a serious infection or pneumonia developing.
- Chronic Infection: Bones infections of pockets of infection around the break under the skin are a possibility.
- Dislocation: The jaw may randomly dislocate if not set properly.
Even if the break is set properly, the treatments required are intensive and expensive. This may include numerous medical exams, x-rays, surgical intervention, and the wiring of the jaw for weeks. If the jaw is wired shut, the patient is only able to eat food in liquid form during this time.
This is just one example of the trauma that can be experienced by a victim. In many cases, multiple injuries are suffered and additional treatments and time is needed to heal. By filing a lawsuit, not only does the plaintiff seek justice for the harm that was caused but they also stand to obtain compensation for any losses that are not covered by insurance.
Can I File On My Own?
Yes, it is possible to file your own lawsuit. However, without an in-depth understanding of the law, it is unlikely that you will get what you need. Pursuing legal action is a time-consuming process which can be extremely stressful. It takes weeks, if not months of research and preparation. This is not what most bus accident victims want or need to be worrying about while they recover.
The best thing to do is contact an attorney who is familiar with this type of law. Our team has represented hundreds of bus accident victims and is happy to review your case. After the review, we can present you with all of your legal options, act as a go-between with the insurance company, and handle any paperwork that is necessary. Call now for a free consultation.