Brooklyn Bus Accident Attorney
When you face substantial bus accident injuries in Brooklyn, you may need legal help to navigate your personal injury claim and ensure that you do not miss out on much-deserved compensation.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney, especially one who works in Brooklyn—like Jacoby & Meyers, LLP—can offer many benefits. Many clients find that working with our bus attorneys substantially increases the compensation that they ultimately recover for their injuries, especially when dealing with a reluctant insurance company. Not only that, our bus accident attorneys can provide much-needed guidance and peace of mind as you file your personal injury claim.
So if you suffer injuries in a bus accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your expenses and your injuries. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today to speak to your Brooklyn Bus Accident lawyer after a bus accident.
How Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, Can Help
At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we have a solid history of successful personal injury claims in Brooklyn and the surrounding area. For example, after a runaway school bus accident, we helped the family of the victim obtain a $5.7 million jury verdict.
We also helped the family of a young girl after her school bus driver ran over her foot and left her significantly scarred.
These results cannot guarantee a favorable result in your claim; however, we endeavor to provide all of our clients with trustworthy, determined service that can help them maximize the compensation they receive for their injuries.
“Great experience with skilled legal individuals that know what they are doing.” -Nesha G.
Common Bus Accident Injuries
In Brooklyn, the B46 line alone carries more than 44,000 passengers every day. Not only do Brooklyn buses help riders reach work, school, and leisure activities, but buses also provide smoother transit along city streets; since buses contain a large percentage of the people moving from place to place, it helps prevent snarls and traffic jams along the city’s streets.
Along with the benefits of buses, however, comes substantial risk. Driver fatigue, inattention, or reckless behavior can quickly cause accidents, and since the average bus weighs as much as 44,000 pounds when fully loaded, it can cause serious damage to everyone involved in the accident.
Bus accidents can cause severe injuries for their victims due to the heavy weight of the bus. Passenger vehicles, with their smaller mass, serve as little protection in serious bus accidents. Not only that, bus drivers can easily lose track of pedestrians and cyclists in the buses’ blind spots, increasing the risks for everyone who uses Brooklyn’s streets.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Victims who suffer traumatic brain injury experience severe trauma to the head during the accident, causing injury not only to the surface of the body, but also to the delicate tissue of the brain within. Traumatic brain injury can heal over time or, in the case of severe traumatic brain injury, linger. Even minor traumatic brain injury can leave victims with substantial deficits more than a year after the accident.
Victims may experience:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Difficulty committing things to short-term memory
- Struggles when pulling up memories from long-term memory
- Sleep disturbances, including both insomnia and excessive sleep
- Depression and anxiety
- Extreme emotional reactions to common events
- Struggle to regulate emotions appropriately
- Cognitive difficulties
- Changes in focus and concentration, especially on mundane tasks
Victims of traumatic brain injury may require long-term care and observation. In many cases, they cannot return to work or take care of normal home responsibilities on their own due to the extent of their injuries.
Spinal Cord Damage
When the spinal cord severs completely in an accident, it usually leaves the victim paralyzed below the site of the injury. Victims may also struggle with organ function and loss of sensation below the injury. The severity of the paralysis and loss of function may depend on the location of the injury: the higher on the spine the injury occurs, the greater the overall extent of the damage.
Even incomplete spinal cord injury, in which the spinal cord does not sever completely, can cause loss of motor function and leave victims struggling to get around or complete normal responsibilities on their own. Many victims of spinal cord damage require extensive physical and occupational therapy to learn how to live within the limitations of their injuries; victims may struggle to return to work or normal activities.
When a bus accident punctures the gas tank or causes damage to the engine of either vehicle, it can greatly increase the risk of a fire. When fire results from a serious accident, it can result in serious burn damage to the victims, especially if they remain trapped in the vehicle for a period of time. A burn accident can cause a great deal of pain and suffering for accident victims. Burn victims also have a higher risk of infection and complication than victims who suffer from a wide range of other injury types.
During the accident itself, the force of the bus striking another vehicle can cause amputation at the time of the accident. In some cases, this alone can amputate limbs: fingers, hands, arms, and legs. Other victims suffer such severe crushing damage that doctors must remove a limb following the accident. Amputation can also occur when the accident restricts or cuts off blood flow to the limb, causing tissue to necrotize. Victims of amputation must often relearn how to perform common tasks, including walking, eating, or taking care of themselves, depending on the limb lost in the accident.
A single broken bone can leave accident victims struggling to get around or take care of responsibilities at home or at work. Multiple broken bones, which often result from serious accidents, not only complicate the treatment and recovery process, but also they can make it more difficult for victims to get around and take care of themselves following their accidents. In many cases, victims with broken bones cannot return to work or enjoy normal leisure activities following their injuries.
Soft Tissue Damage
Many victims of bus accidents, even if they do not appear to have serious injuries at the scene of the accident, walk away with sprains and strains that can cause substantial trouble during the recovery process. Some victims with ligament and tendon damage cannot perform their normal job responsibilities due to pain or weakness from the injury. Others may require surgery to repair damaged ligaments and tendons.
Who Bears Liability for a Brooklyn Bus Accident?
If the driver of a bus becomes distracted, drinks or uses drugs while on the clock, or drives recklessly, it can quickly lead to an accident. When you suffer injuries in a bus accident, however, you should work with an attorney to uncover all of the entities that may share liability for your accident. Potential defendants may include:
- The bus company. In some cases, a bus company may require its bus driver to work excessive hours or to come in to work while ill, injured, or inebriated. If the bus company has working conditions that may contribute to increased accident risk, the company may share liability for your injuries. You may also want to seek compensation from the bus company if it continues to employ a driver who has caused multiple accidents in the past or who has regularly put passengers in the bus and others on the road at risk. The bus company also bears responsibility for properly maintaining the bus so that it can safely travel city streets.
- The bus manufacturer. When a mechanical failure, including brake failure, tire blowouts, or engine trouble, causes a bus accident, the manufacturer of the failing part may carry the blame. Vehicle manufacturers, including manufacturers of vehicle parts and tires, must carry out quality assurance testing that helps protect the individuals who use that bus and others on the road. When a part fails due to manufacturer error, the company that made the faulty part may share liability for the accident.
How Much Compensation Will You Receive for Bus Accident Injuries?
Most bus companies or drivers carry high levels of liability insurance to help provide compensation for accident victims. These policies, however, still have limits. The compensation you receive for your injuries will depend on:
- Who caused your accident? While the bus driver may appear to bear immediate liability for your accident, you may need to seek compensation from multiple parties, depending on who caused or contributed to the accident. Seeking compensation from more than one liable entity can help increase the total compensation that you receive for your injuries.
- How many people suffered injuries in your accident? In many accidents, multiple parties suffer injury—especially bus accidents, which can involve more people and vehicles than a standard traffic accident. When multiple parties suffer injury, the limits of the bus driver’s insurance policy may kick in sooner, limiting the compensation that each party can receive.
- What did your injuries cost you? To determine the amount of compensation that you can receive for your injuries, you must take a look at the financial impact that the accident had on your life. If you suffered severe injuries, and therefore required extensive medical treatment, you may receive more in compensation than someone who suffered comparatively minor injuries in the accident. When calculating your financial expenses related to the accident, you will work with your attorney to include:
Medical expenses. Following severe injuries, many victims see substantial medical expenses. Set aside all medical bills related to the accident so that you can include them in your request for compensation. Medical bills include:
- Bills for emergency treatment, including ambulance transport, if needed
- The cost of any medical procedures related to your accident
- Hospitalization, including a stay in the ICU or special care units, like those used for burn victims
- A stay in a long-term care facility, if needed to aid in your recovery
- The cost of durable medical equipment, including mobility aids and prosthetic devices, to help you get around. Amputation victims should consider the cost of replacing prosthetics, since most prosthetic devices need replacement every three to five years—and they’re pretty expensive to begin with.
- Therapies needed to help you resume your normal daily life. This includes physical, occupational, and psychological therapy.
- The cost of modifying your home to compensate for your injuries and allow more independence. You may need to add a wheelchair ramp, widen doorways, or modify your bathroom so that it will accommodate your injuries.
Lost wages. When you suffer severe injuries in a bus accident, you may miss time at work. Many victims cannot return to work until they make a full recovery, depending on the extent of their injuries. Other victims struggle to return to work on a full-time basis, requiring modifications that allow them to work from home or on a limited schedule. You may also need to miss work for therapy and follow-up appointments, as well as procedures to help you recover from your injuries. All of those lost wages can leave you scrambling to pay your usual bills, especially when you run out of sick time.
Lost earning potential. Some victims of bus accidents do not just lose multiple hours at work due to their injuries. They may lose the ability to work in their former capacity at all. Victims of traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or amputation often have to change the direction of their career plans following a severe bus accident. Claiming lost earning potential can help you seek new employment opportunities, even if you need to return to school or acquire further professional certifications.
Pain and suffering. Physical pain from your bus accident injuries can impact many areas of your life. Not only that, but also many bus accident victims find themselves struggling with serious psychological complications from the accident, including lost relationships and a feeling of isolation due to the inability to get out immediately after the accident. Talking with a lawyer can help you quantify and define your pain and suffering.
Brooklyn Bus Accident FAQ
Buses are a vital part of our transportation systems. On the streets of Brooklyn, buses are everywhere. There are 992,152 registered buses in the country. MTA’s fleet of 5,725 buses is the largest municipal bus fleet in the United States.
Given all these big vehicles on the road, it’s not surprising that bus crashes are distressingly common. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that bus crashes kill hundreds of people and injure thousands each year.
According to the New York Post, during a three-year period during a recent three-year period, nearly 22,000 accidents, an average of around 23 accidents per day, involved MTA buses. At least 180 accidents during that three-year period involved school buses. Bus passengers and others on the road trust that well-trained drivers will operate safe buses, but many accidents result from bad decisions by negligent bus drivers and their employers.
Bus accidents cause severe or even fatal injuries. If you have suffered an injury in a bus accident, you may file a Brooklyn bus accident claim to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. The experienced Brooklyn bus accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers LLP can review your case and advise you of your legal options.
Are accidents involving Brooklyn buses different from those involving passenger vehicles?
Millions of visitors come to New York City each year. Tour buses are a popular way to see the city and its landmarks. These buses stop and go frequently, which can be extremely risky. Many tour buses are double-deckers, meaning that some passengers ride on the top, which is especially hazardous in a crash. In addition to the MTA, tour companies, schools, shuttles, and private companies transport people around the city and between New York City and other major metropolitan areas by bus.
During the last decade, of the buses involved in fatal accidents, approximately 40 percent were school buses, 35 percent were transit buses, and 12 percent were intercity buses. More than 1.1 million students enroll in New York City public schools, and many of them travel to and from school on a school bus. Unfortunately, school buses tend to be involved in more fatal accidents than other types of buses.
Accidents involving buses are usually more disastrous than accidents involving cars. In many cases, this is because of the size of a bus. There are city buses of various sizes, but the average size of a standard city bus is between 35 feet and 50 feet long and about 8 feet wide. They average between 25,000 and 40,000 pounds and hold between 25 and 60 people.
The average passenger car weighs about 3,000 pounds. A typical school bus full of children weighs about 42,000 pounds. Because of its height, a bus has a higher center of gravity, making it easier for it to roll over onto its side or roof. Due to the size difference, a collision between a bus and another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian may result in serious, even fatal, injuries.
What are the most common types of Brooklyn bus accidents?
The most common example of bus accidents are collisions with other vehicles.
However, passengers may suffer injuries in other ways, such as:
- Getting on or off the bus. The bus driver or bus company’s responsibility begins when you attempt to get on the bus and continues until you safely exit the bus. Therefore, if you slip and fall while entering or exiting the bus, the bus driver, bus company, or another involved party could be responsible for that fall. This may happen if the driver parks in an unsafe area, such as next to an uneven surface or a pothole.
- While on the bus. Even if there is no actual crash, a distracted bus driver may suddenly slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. Because of the impact, you may hit the seat in front of you, suffer whiplash, or flying debris may strike you. People often ask about seat belt rules on buses. According to federal law, after November 2016, all new motorcoaches and certain classes of large buses must have seat belts. Buses manufactured before that date do not require retrofitting, and you needn’t wear a seat belt even when it is available on a bus—though you should.
- Equipment malfunction or another person. A badly designed or manufactured bus may cause an accident or individual injuries. This can include interior components of the bus, such as loose bolts or damaged flooring. In some cases, someone else on the bus may attack or injure passengers.
What are the common causes of Brooklyn bus accidents?
Drivers maneuver buses through busy city streets with frequent starts and stops. Like any other vehicle on the road, buses may hit another vehicle, a bicyclist, or pedestrian. They may also hit a stationary object. In some cases, inattentive bus drivers do not operate the doors correctly and hurt boarding or exiting passengers.
Common causes of bus accidents include:
- Bus driver error. This causes most bus accidents. Bus drivers and their employers have a responsibility to use the highest duty of care when transporting passengers. Driver error includes a wide variety of scenarios, such as driving while distracted, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while fatigued, speeding, failing to obey traffic signs and signals, and other forms of reckless or negligent driving.
- Failure to properly inspect and maintain the vehicle. To stay in proper working condition, buses need periodic checks and inspections and regular maintenance.
- Defective design or manufacturing of the vehicle. A vehicle can be defective in many ways. Defective tires can lead to tire blowouts and rollovers. Defective brakes can cause deadly collisions. Faulty bus doors may injure passengers. Defective lighting systems may cause electrocutions or slip and fall accidents.
- Weight distribution problems (tipping hazards).
- Hazardous roads. Large vehicles such as buses are particularly susceptible to dangerous road conditions. The local, state, and federal agencies responsible for maintaining public roads may bear liability for poorly designed or maintained streets and highways.
- Poor weather conditions and visibility. Driving a bus in adverse weather conditions such as snow, ice, or fog presents additional challenges. Drivers must take any necessary precautions and drive with skill and extreme caution. They can be liable if they fail to do so and get into an accident.
Who is liable for a Brooklyn bus accident?
Determining who is responsible for an injury is critical to recovering damages.
Every bus accident is different, but the following persons or entities could potentially bear liability:
- Drivers – Either the bus driver or the drivers of other vehicles who may have contributed to the accident may be at fault.
- Bus manufacturers and retailers – If there is a defective bus component such as poorly designed structures, faulty brakes, or poorly designed electrical or ventilation systems, the company that designed or manufactured the bus or its components may be liable.
- Bus companies – Bus companies have a responsibility to hire, train, and supervise capable drivers. When they fail to do so, the risk of an accident increases dramatically. Statistics show that a bus company with a poor safety record from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is 79 percent more likely to have a bus involved in a crash than those with good safety ratings.
- Bus maintenance companies – Companies that perform repair work and regular maintenance may bear responsibility for faulty repairs or failing to notice problems with the bus during regular inspections.
- Local and state governments – If the driver was a city bus driver or an employee of other government agencies, the government entity bears responsibility.
What are Common Injuries Associated With Brooklyn Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents can result in catastrophic or life-threatening injuries. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Severe back and neck injuries;
- Internal organ injuries; and
What types of compensation may be available for my Brooklyn bus accident?
Every case is different, but generally speaking, a court may award the following damages:
- Pain and suffering;
- Cost of medical treatment;
- Loss of wages;
- Loss of future income;
- Additional expenses related to daily life;
- Loss of consortium;
- Wrongful death; and
- Punitive damages, which courts sometimes award to punish the defendant for especially egregious behavior and discourage such behavior in the future.
What do you need to know about making an insurance claim after a Brooklyn bus accident?
Before proceeding, you need to know which a government agency, private bus company, or other entity owned and operated the bus involved in the accident. The deadline to file a claim varies, but basically, you need to take action quickly, in some cases within 30 days. Dealing with insurance companies is complicated. Insurers may try to deny the claim or push the injured person to accept a small settlement. An attorney can help you make sure you meet the required deadlines, and can handle all communications with the insurance company, and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
What is the legal process after a bus accident in Brooklyn?
According to state law, to file a lawsuit against a city, town, or municipality, you must first file a Notice of Claim. The government defendant has an opportunity to conduct a pre-action hearing, commonly known as a 50-H hearing, on that claim. The hearing is similar to a deposition and involves questions about your accident and your injuries.
You can’t file a lawsuit to seek damages from a responsible government entity unless you have completed the required steps, so consult an attorney to discuss your legal options. Before going to trial, there is a fact-finding period called discovery, in which both sides gather evidence and negotiate a possible settlement of the case. Many cases settle out of court. If the case does go to trial, it is difficult to predict how long it will take to complete the trial because each case is different. However, in general, bus accident cases tend to be complex, involving lengthy investigations and expert testimony.
What is the statute of limitations in my Brooklyn bus accident case?
There’s a statute of limitations in any case—a deadline by which you must file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations is three years from the injury date for most Brooklyn bus accident cases. However, filing a lawsuit against the government is different from filing a lawsuit against private defendants.
If you’re taking action against a government entity, you must file a notice of claim within 90 days of the injury, which puts the government entity on notice that you intend to sue. The notice requirements may vary depending on what agency you are suing. However, If you don’t file a notice of claim within 90 days, you lose your right to file a lawsuit, so time is of the essence.
What should you do if you were in a Brooklyn bus accident?
As with any accident, you should always seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you believe you were not injured or that your injuries are minor, get checked out, as some injuries do not present symptoms immediately. Also, delaying treatment may cause your injuries to worsen.
Try to gather as much information as possible, such as the license plate number of the bus and information regarding the bus driver. If you can, take photos of the bus’s interior and exterior, any other vehicles that may be involved, and the accident scene. If there are video cameras in the area, take note so your lawyer can try to obtain and preserve the footage. Gather contact information from witnesses.
Take notes as soon as possible after the accident, noting details such as:
- Where you were sitting;
- The time of the accident;
- Traffic and weather conditions; and
- Traffic signs or signals in the area.
Protect your legal rights. Bus companies and their insurance representatives may have investigators on the scene within hours of a collision. Do not give them written or recorded statements without consulting your own attorney, and do not post comments or photos on social media.
Have you suffered an injury in a Brooklyn bus accident?
A bus accident can have permanent, catastrophic consequences, such as traumatic brain injuries and wrongful death. Consult an experienced Brooklyn bus accident attorney without delay to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. For more information and to schedule a free case evaluation, call Jacoby & Meyers LLP at any time.
Do You Need a Brooklyn Bus Accident Attorney?
If you suffered injuries in a Brooklyn bus accident, having an attorney on your side can reduce your stress and leave you better able to handle your bus accident claim. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, today via chat, at (877) 565-2993, or you may write to us for a free case evaluation.
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