The experienced New York personal injury lawyers here at Banville Law created this page to inform bus accident victims of their rights. A 2010 study published by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that approximately 63,000 buses are involved in traffic accidents each year. And even in the face of this nation-wide epidemic, bus companies continue to employ negligent practices on a daily basis, threatening the lives of thousands.
Under New York State law, a bus is considered a “common carrier.” Both state-run public transportation and privately-owned tourism companies; as long as people are being transported for a fee are all “common carriers.” As such, these companies are governed by regulatory bodies that set safety criteria to protect passengers. When “common carriers” fail to do so, and passengers are injured, bus companies can be held accountable for their negligence in personal injury lawsuits.
Bus Accidents And Negligence Of Public & Private Companies
Most personal injury lawsuits are based on the concept of “negligence.” In its purest form, negligence is the failure to act in a reasonable manner, or to act in active disregard of others’ well-being. But in reality, proving negligence is a little more difficult than that. If you were injured in a bus accident, and choose to pursue a civil lawsuit, you will have to prove three things:
1. A bus company had a duty to keep you safe.
For example, you paid money to take a sightseeing tour of Manhattan. When you stepped on the bus, you became its passenger, and came under the care of its driver. The bus driver has a duty to keep you healthy and must do everything in his power to prevent an accident.
2. Your bus driver, or their managing company, was negligent.
This is considered a “breach of duty.” For whatever reason, your bus driver failed to use reasonable care in his driving, and caused an accident. This “broke” the implicit agreement the two of you made when you purchased your ticket. You agreed to take his tour, and he agreed to protect your health.
3. The accident caused legally-recognized damages.
The final step is to prove that your injuries were indeed caused by the bus accident. In many cases, a trusted doctor will testify to the extent of your injuries.
Other Types Of Negligence That Cause Coach & Bus Crashes
In our example of negligence, we used a bus driver. And while it’s true that many bus drivers can be found responsible for their careless actions, negligence often falls on other shoulders.
- Bus manufacturers – Vehicle producers have a duty to make buses free of defects and faulty parts. If vehicle malfunction caused your bus accident, the manufacturer may be held liable.
- Management companies and their employees – Buses are complicated pieces of machinery and must be maintained in top condition. Many companies skimp on repairs to keep costs low. If faulty, or lacking, repairs caused your crash, negligence may have been at work.
- Bus destinations – If you took a bus tour of New York, you probably stopped at several locations. Passengers who suffer injury at a stop may be able to hold the property’s owner responsible for dangerous conditions, like spills and cracked pavement.
Common Types Of Buses Operating In New York City
New York City is literally crawling with buses of all kinds. Some are managed by the government, while others are owned by private companies. If you were injured in a bus accident, the terms of a personal injury lawsuit may change, depending on who owned the vehicle.
Public Transportation Buses
As property of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), public transit buses enjoy legal protections that privately-owned carriers do not. For one, the statute of limitations on lawsuits involving the MTA is significantly shorter than that for other personal injury claims.
If you or a loved one were injured in an MTA bus accident, it is essential that you contact an experienced lawyer immediately.
Private Tour Buses
In relation to all vehicles, tour buses, or motor coaches, are relatively safe. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are on average 1,000 motor coach accidents every year. Compared to more than 5 million annual small passenger vehicle crashes, that number may seem minuscule.
But motor-coaches are dangerous, more dangerous than passenger vehicles. Due to their immense size and odd center of gravity, “buses and other commercial motor vehicles have a higher likelihood of fatal accident involvement.” Numerous bus companies serve New York State, including:
- Bolt Bus
- Mega Bus
- Wade Tours
If you were injured on a tour bus, consider consulting a personal injury lawyer to review your case.
In a startling new report, Fox Business found that “double-decker sightseeing buses have no legal obligation to report accidents to the city agency that licenses them.” With virtually no oversight, these bus companies operate unwatched, without incentives to improve safety, hire competent drivers, or maintain vehicles properly. In effect, they can simply sweep their negligence under New York City’s rug. And this news only reached public attention when 14 tourists were hospitalized after an accident involving two sightseeing buses.
But the situation may get worse before it improves. New York City’s sightseeing industry is booming, and a rash of new tour bus companies have appeared, catering to NYC’s almost 50 million annual visitors. Sightseeing companies include:
- Gray Line
- City Sightseeing
- Skyline Sightseeing
- Big Bus New York
- THE RIDE
- Open Tour New York
When New York’s governmental agencies fail to protect residents and tourists, personal injury lawyers must maintain the rule of law.
CBS New York reports that on March 10, 2014, Brooklyn was home to a horrific accident. A school bus and taxi cab collided, injuring 6 children and 3 adults. Because of its abnormal center of gravity, the bus was flipped on its side by the force of the crash.
Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but school bus accidents threaten the lives of our precious children every day. In fact, research performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that an average of 150 people die in school bus accidents every year.
Operated largely by the New York City Department of Education, school buses are regulated by strict safety protocols. If these regulations are violated, and children suffer as a result, a personal injury lawyer may be able to pursue significant compensation.
What Should I Do After A Bus Accident?
Buses are big and powerful. When they crash, traumatic injuries are a common, tragic result. The attorneys at Banville Law understand how difficult this time must be for you. Above all things, we want you to recover with peace of mind. Our mission is to take the worry and stress out of legal counsel, allowing you to focus on your well-being.
Banville Law’s offices are located in Manhattan, but we are able to handle bus accident cases throughout the state of New York, including:
Our lawyers always work on a contingency-fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing unless we win your case.