Manhattan Bus Accident Attorneys
Experiencing a severe injury in a bus accident causes emotional trauma and financial stress on top of the physical pain that bus accident victims already face due to their injuries and the healing process. If you or your child has suffered injuries in a bus accident, you deserve compensation for related losses. A skilled Manhattan bus accident lawyer can help guide you through the claims process and advise you on the best course of action for your individual circumstances.
The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, understand the challenges that bus accident victims face after sustaining serious injuries, and we remain committed to seeking justice for our clients. Contact us today for a free case evaluation at (212) 445-7000 and to learn about your options after suffering injuries in a Manhattan bus accident.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, Has Experience Representing Accident Victims
The skilled legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has four decades of experience representing accident victims who have suffered a wide array of injuries, including those injured in bus accidents. The firm’s continued commitment to professional excellence, case preparation, and exceptional client service have led to the recovery of millions of dollars for clients from settlements and court-awarded damages.
A recent bus accident case resulted in a $5.7 million jury verdict for clients who lost their young daughter in a runaway bus accident. A young boy broke into an unattended bus and released the emergency brake, causing the bus to move and strike the girl, who suffered fatal injuries from being pinned under the bus.
Additional examples of our prior case results in traffic accidents include:
- $5 million settlement for a client who was involved in a multi-vehicle rear-end collision
- $2.4 million wrongful death settlement after a church van crashed, ejecting a passenger from the vehicle and causing fatal injuries
- $1.27 million settlement for a client who suffered injuries in a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver
- $800,000 settlement for a client who suffered neck injuries in an auto accident
- $740,000 settlement for a client who needed neck surgery after whiplash injuries from a rear-end collision
- $475,000 after a driver saw a small child waiting with her brother by a housing complex but failed to wait for her to move before driving off.
- $400,000 settlement for a client who suffered injuries after another driver ran a stoplight
These case examples do not guarantee a specific outcome for your bus accident claim. Each case has distinctive facts and circumstances, which increase or decrease the overall value of a claim in the eyes of insurance companies and courts. The qualified attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have the passion and resources needed to uncover the facts of your accident and build the best case possible against the party who caused you harm.
“I had an amazing experience with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a law firm.” -Paul T.
Manhattan Metro Transit Authority (MTA) Bus Accidents
Although some individuals who live in or visit Manhattan use cars to get around, taxis, ridesharing, the Subway, and buses are all more efficient and sometimes more cost-effective. Manhattan is the center of NYC’s hustle and bustle and is home to some of the most famous roads in the world, including Broadway, 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue, and 42nd Street. New York’s Metro Transit Authority (MTA) operates several bus routes throughout Manhattan, but several other kinds of buses serve business travelers and tourists.
In addition to MTA buses, a person can encounter double-decker sightseeing buses, school buses, shuttle buses, and a wide array of tour buses. Careless bus drivers and negligent bus owners cause preventable bus accidents, some of which can lead to severe injuries and fatalities.
If you suffered bus accident injuries in Manhattan as a bus passenger or driver/occupant of another vehicle, you might have had a run-in with an MTA bus. New York City’s MTA buses are so notorious for accidents and a lack of transparency that the New York Post was prompted to conduct its own investigation in one recent year.
The MTA is a government agency, which means that it must provide data and information under the Freedom of Information Act. After the New York Post made a request, MTA didn’t comply until threatened with legal action six months later. The New York Post uncovered the following facts related to a 31-month timeframe:
- During the almost two and half-year timeframe of the study, MTA buses rear-ended school buses, ran into a church, struck bicyclists, knocked down pedestrians, and caused other accidents with sharp turns and quick stops.
- MTA buses were involved in almost 22,000 crashes, averaging 23 per day during the 31-month period.
- More than 2,500 people suffered injuries from these MTA bus accidents, and at least 14 people lost their lives.
- MTA buses were involved in at least 180 accidents with school buses.
Although New York City and MTA continually try to improve their safety records, these statistics are still alarming. If your bus accident involved an MTA bus, you need to consult an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of dealing with this agency.
Potential Injuries From a Manhattan Bus Accident
Fortunately, not all bus accidents result in severe or fatal injuries. However, when they do, accident victims and their families face many difficulties as a result of the physical pain, emotional trauma, and financial burden that comes with a severe bus accident.
Some severe injuries that our attorneys can help clients seek compensation for include:
- Multiple or compound fractures that cause chronic pain, discomfort, and arthritis
- Head traumas, including traumatic brain injuries that can lead to lifelong struggles with a wide array of body functions
- Neck injuries, especially severe cases of whiplash that cause permanent damage to the soft tissues in the neck
- Back injuries, including slipped discs, bulged discs, and one or more fractured vertebrae
- Internal bleeding and organ damage, which has a high chance of leading to death
- Spinal cord injuries, which can confine a victim to a wheelchair for life when a bus accident causes permanent damage
- Amputation of crushed limbs when doctors cannot restore blood flow
Careless Choices Lead to Manhattan Bus Accidents
The vast majority of bus accidents are preventable, adding more emotional distress when serious injuries do occur. Careless and negligent behavior by bus drivers, their employers, and third-parties cause the majority of bus accidents. Some examples include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs a bus driver’s ability to control the bus and react appropriately to road hazards or sudden movements by other vehicles. Bus drivers hold commercial drivers’ licenses, so they are held to a higher standard than other drivers, with a maximum legal limit of 0.04 breath or blood alcohol content. Drivers who don’t comply put passengers and others on the road at risk for accident and injury.
- Driving while distracted. Bus drivers who use their cell phones while driving are breaking federal laws that apply to CDL holders, yet many other legal behaviors can cause an accident and injury, as well. Some examples include personal grooming, eating and drinking, dealing with unruly passengers, watching an event outside of the bus, adjusting bus features, and daydreaming.
- Driving too fast for conditions. Most bus drivers have to keep a pretty tight schedule, so it’s unlikely that they will go over the posted speed limit unless they are behind schedule. However, bus drivers who don’t want to fall behind schedule can choose to go faster than they should in bad weather or heavy traffic. Driving too fast for conditions can lead to severe, sometimes fatal, bus accidents.
- Poor maintenance practices. Bus companies and bus owners have a legal obligation to inspect and perform scheduled maintenance on buses to maintain their roadworthiness. A bus’s mechanical failure can cause a serious crash and open up owners to liability for their negligence.
- Poor hiring and training practices. Bus companies that choose to hire unqualified drivers and/or do not properly train their drivers can face liability when one of these drivers causes an accident.
New York’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
New York is one of a handful of no-fault insurance states. State law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $50,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This means if you are driving or riding in another vehicle and are involved in a bus accident, you need to file a claim under your PIP policy to begin to recover medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident.
PIP coverage only pays for 80 percent of lost wages for missing work, up to a maximum of $2,000 per month. Your policy will also cover medical expenses and $25 per day for other expenses. In minor fender-benders, your PIP coverage may meet your financial needs, but severe bus accidents can lead to serious injuries that can quickly cause you to meet or exceed your policy limits. It’s these situations where contacting an experienced Manhattan bus accident lawyer can help you get full compensation for your injuries.
Seeking Damages After a Manhattan Bus Accident
Once you’ve met or exceeded the policy limits of your PIP coverage, or if your PIP coverage doesn’t apply to your particular circumstances, New York Law permits you to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to seek compensation for damages related to your accident and injuries. Depending on the circumstances of your bus accident, you might name one or more parties as defendants, including the bus drivers, the bus company, the bus mechanic, the bus manufacturer, or a third party.
If you reach an agreeable settlement or the court rules in your favor, you can receive compensation for some or all of the following losses and damages related to your bus accident:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance service, emergency room visit, surgery, doctor visits, diagnostic imaging, and prescription medication
- Future medical expenses when a bus accident causes a catastrophic injury requiring ongoing care and an extensive recovery
- Rehabilitation expenses, including treatment from specialists, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and counselors, who can help you recover lost functions and learn how to cope with the physical and emotional trauma of any permanent damage
- Cost of assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, and artificial limbs
- Cost for modifications to make your home more accessible, such as installing handrails in the bathrooms or constructing a wheelchair ramp
- Cost of replacement services to help carry out household tasks that you can no longer complete, such as cooking, cleaning, yard work, snow removal, and childcare
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Other non-economic damages that might apply to your situation
If you lost a child or loved one as a result of a bus accident, you might also be eligible for compensation, depending on your relationship with the deceased. New York law permits eligible survivors to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against at-fault parties. Beyond those damages previously listed, eligible family members can also recover costs for visitation, funeral, or memorial services, as well as burial or cremation expenses. Your Manhattan bus accident attorney can answer any questions that you may have about a wrongful death lawsuit and help determine your eligibility for damages.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Every day, hundreds of buses navigate the streets of Manhattan. Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) buses (and others) are the way that many of us get to work and around the city. School buses take our children to school. Charter and private buses bring tourists into Manhattan to sample the wealth of cultural treasures available.
While buses are of great importance to cities and their residents, buses are also potentially dangerous. In a recent 31-month period, 2,520 people were injured on MTA buses alone, and 14 people were killed. Because buses outweigh and tower over most other vehicles, accidents can severely injure the occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians.
Below, we provide answers to some frequently asked questions about bus accidents and the rights of victims.
Who bears responsibility for a bus accident?
The person, company, or other entity that caused a bus accident bears responsibility for it. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, because bus accidents stem from the actions or inactions of drivers, bus companies, repair and maintenance companies, manufacturers, and other people in the accident.
In fact, investigators, usually either from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the MTA, often get involved after bus accidents. Why? Simply because an investigation is generally required to determine the causes of bus accidents. If a bus goes up on a sidewalk during a right-hand turn, for instance, it may injure or even kill pedestrians. Why did the bus end up on the sidewalk? Driver error? Possibly. In that case, the driver might bear responsibility.
However, what if the driver didn’t have enough experience turning a bus? What if the driver lacked qualifications to drive a bus? Bus drivers need specific qualifications, such as a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from New York State. Certain types of buses, such as school buses, require additional endorsements to carry passengers and to drive a school bus from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the driver lacks these, or carries an expired CDL or endorsements, responsibility for the accident may rest partly with the drivers, but it also rests partly with the organizations that hired them or didn’t properly vet their qualifications.
Mechanical failure in the steering column, wheels, or other parts of the bus might also cause problems in turning a bus, as could defective components or defective manufacture. Lack of maintenance and repair can also cause issues with turning. As a result, the bus company, the repair or maintenance companies, and the manufacturer of the bus or its components can all bear responsibility for an accident.
Finally, the actions of other motorists, or even pedestrians, sometimes cause a bus accident. A car suddenly pulling out in front of a bus may cause the driver to brake suddenly to avoid a collision. However, sudden braking may throw passengers inside the bus from their seats, injuring them. It also may not avert a collision.
We may not like to think of pedestrians, who might suffer serious injuries in a bus crash, as responsible for it, but some pedestrian actions cause accidents. A group of tourists crossing against a light may also lead the driver to swerve or brake to avoid them, causing an accident. The other party involved in causing a bus accident may bear partial or full responsibility.
In sum, the parties responsible for a bus accident could include:
- The driver
- The bus company
- Companies that inspect, repair, and maintain the bus
- Companies who check driver qualifications, if separate from the bus company
- Component manufacturers
- Bus manufacturers
- Other motorists
Can I sue for damages?
New York State operates under a no-fault system for car insurance. If you’re in a Manhattan car accident with a bus, you need to turn first to your own insurance to pay medical bills and some income lost from work (if the injuries cause lost time from work).
However, if you suffer serious injuries, as defined by New York law, then you are likely eligible to bring either a claim against the responsible party’s insurance company (known as a third-party claim) or a personal injury suit against the responsible party. In certain circumstances, your own health insurance company may approach the responsible party’s insurance company for third-party claim compensation.
A serious accident means the victim has sustained at least one of the following:
- Broken bone(s)
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- Substantially full disability for 90 days
In other words, suffering from any of the above conditions entitles you to bring a claim or suit against the party who caused your accident, provided that the accident caused your qualifying injuries.
Do I have to file my lawsuit within a certain time?
Plaintiffs (the victims) need to file their lawsuits by a specific time or a court will not hear their cases. In New York, that period, called a statute of limitations, stands at three years from the date of the accident.
That’s the theoretical limit. The practical limit is much shorter, since evidence, witnesses memories, and other important elements of your bus accident case can quickly fade—so don’t hesitate to reach out to us after your accident.
What damages will I receive?
Damages constitute economic compensation for injuries and their effects. While we cannot guarantee a specific result for any of our clients, common damages in personal injury cases include:
- Medical bills already incurred for doctor’s visits, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medication, physical therapy, medical devices, and more
- Expected future medical bills
- Income lost from work if treatment has caused you to lose time from work
- Expected future income lost from work
- Pain and suffering
How is the value of my claim calculated?
In either a third-party insurance claim or a personal injury claim, you and your lawyer will ask for a certain amount of damage compensation. It’s only natural to want to know the calculations involved in these figures.
To determine the value of your claim, first total all medical bills that you’ve already incurred. The amount includes all bills you have been charged plus transportation to and from the places where you received treatment.
Expert testimony usually determines expected future medical bills. The testimony normally includes the nature and extent of your injuries and the treatment recommended by healthcare professionals. Your doctor or similar medical professionals usually provide expert testimony.
Compute income lost from work by adding together all the time you’ve lost from work, and then multiply this time by your average income.
Expert testimony about the effects of your injuries on your ability and capacity to work will usually determine future income lost from work. If you cannot perform your current job duties in the future, or can only perform them on a limited basis, you may be entitled to seek compensation for disability or retraining.
Determining a victim’s pain and suffering requires more subjective criteria. Patients can receive compensation for physical pain and suffering, such as chronic pain from an injury or impairment. Patients receive pain and suffering awards for injuries that impair their lives in some way, such as chronic limited mobility or injuries that make former work or enjoyable pursuits impossible to pursue. However, victims also receive pain and suffering for mental and psychological suffering, such as trauma or anxiety disorders caused by the accident or injuries. Pain and suffering covers loss of enjoyment of life, diminished capacity, and other categories.
How does an insurance company decide on a pain and suffering settlement?
If an injury permanently damages a person’s livelihood or ability to enjoy life, that individual may receive a higher pain and suffering settlement than someone who sustains a temporary injury with a high likelihood of recovery. A catastrophic injury can net even more.
If you are a construction worker, for example, your livelihood may rely on the ability to work at heights with a good sense of balance. Some injuries, such as those to the ears, head, or neck, can affect an individual’s ability to balance. In such a case, that injury affects the victim’s ability to work. A person confined to a wheelchair (due to a spinal cord injury) or supervised living (due to a traumatic brain injury) can prevent a person from securing any gainful employment.
A younger person with a chronic injury may also receive a higher pain and suffering settlement or judgment, because they will bear that injury longer than an older person who receives a similar injury.
Can I request higher pain and suffering damages?
What if you believe your or a loved one’s injury merits a higher amount of pain and suffering than a third-party claim offers? There are two related answers to this question.
- First, when an at-fault party’s insurance company offers you a check for your claim, you can always negotiate it. In fact, it’s often a very good idea to negotiate for more. Insurance companies, unfortunately, notoriously try to low-ball claimants. The companies will offer a less than just settlement, sometimes quite quickly, just because they want people to settle for the least amount possible. Why? Because a lower settlement means more profits for them. Unfortunately, most insurance companies pursue making a profit over providing justice. People often need to negotiate, as a result. Personal injury attorneys can skillfully negotiate with an insurance company. They know the strategies that insurance companies use and can counter them. They have experience with bus accident cases, and can argue for the highest possible compensation in all categories.
- Second, you are likely eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit if your injury meets the criteria discussed above. In a personal injury suit, the plaintiff and his or her lawyer will ask for a certain amount of damages in each category. The defendant may argue against that amount, or argue that you aren’t entitled to anything, but they don’t have the final decision-making authority in court. The judge and/or jury decides the merits of the case and the amount of compensation, whether the defendant is an insurance company, a person, or an at-fault company. Judges and juries can sometimes show more sympathy than insurance company representatives, so personal injury suits can result in the victims receiving higher settlements—and more justice.
Can my child sue for injuries sustained in a bus accident?
Unfortunately, children all too frequently receive injuries in accidents on or involving a school bus or other types of buses. However, a minor cannot bring a third-party claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Rather, a parent or guardian of legal age must pursue these actions.
Any damage compensation from a third-party insurance claim or court case settlement will be placed in a special account for the child’s benefit. It remains there until the child reaches 18 years of age. If a parent or guardian believes that receiving the money before the child turns 18 serves the child’s welfare, the parent or guardian can ask the court for early disbursement. A judge will decide such a case.
Should I talk to a lawyer about my bus accident?
Definitely. Because bus accidents can cause such catastrophic injuries and involve complicated legalities, talk to our experienced bus accident lawyers right away if you were in one. Our initial case consultations are always free.
A lawyer can advise you of your rights and how best to pursue damages. He or she can work with investigators to determine the cause of the accident and can negotiate with insurance companies to ensure justice in your case. An attorney can help you calculate your economic losses and bring a personal injury suit.
Get Legal Representation After a New York Bus Accident
The skilled and compassionate lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can help you in the wake of a bus accident. We are empathetic to the challenges that you and your family face after a bus accident and want to help you seek justice. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden of a severe injury when another party caused your pain. Our team can handle communication and negotiations with insurance companies and other relevant parties while you focus on recovery and rehabilitation.
If you experienced a Manhattan bus accident and suffered injuries, contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, online, start a live chat with one of our representatives, or call (212) 445-7000 for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances of your bus accident and your injuries. If you choose us to represent you in your bus accident claim, and we take your case, we handle personal injury cases on contingency. This means we only collect attorney fees from any compensation we secure for you in a settlement or verdict in your favor. Contact us today!