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NYC Bus Accident Lawyer

Headshot of Jeremy Schiowitz
Written by Jeremy Schiowitz

Personal Injury Lawyer at Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP.

Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.

Graduated from Brooklyn Law School: Juris Doctor, 2003.

Public transit is one of the things that make New York City run, and being able to depend on the MTA to get from one place to another safely is an essential aspect of that access. Unfortunately, there are many different times when a bus, train, or another public transportation vehicle may be involved in an accident that causes injuries to the passengers and, most importantly, to you. 

If you have been injured in a bus accident or any other type of accident while riding the MTA, it would be in your best interest to contact an NYC personal injury lawyer right away. At Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, our team of bus accident attorneys will provide you with the compassionate attention you deserve. We understand how severe such accidents can be, some resulting in severe bus accident injuries or wrongful death. You don’t have to fight on your own to get what you deserve. If you have suffered injuries in a personal injury case, you can take legal action against the at-fault party. 

However, whenever you are filing a personal injury claim through the MTA, you will face their legal team. They will do whatever it takes to limit the amount of money that they should give you in a settlement. But instead of accepting the amount they want to pay, it’s recommended to hire one of our bus accident lawyers to get you the maximum compensation available for your case.  

Read more below about the New York bus accidents, and contact us now to get started on your own case as soon as possible.

Bus driving on a rainy evening

Over 5 Million Riders Daily

New York City is home to 18,867,000 people. Statistics show that around 4.4 million cars travel through New York City every day, with 45.6% of New Yorkes owning a car. In addition, there are 4,373 public buses that serve more than 666 million people yearly. The city is incredibly vibrant and lively, there’s no doubt. With The New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) operating the world’s largest fleet of buses, highly complex railroad systems traversing the city, subways, and MTA buses, it’s almost impossible for accidents not to happen. While these systems operate in a world-class way, there are still some disruptions and errors.

However, because there are so many people who use mass transit, traveling long distances throughout the city and beyond, accidents involving buses and rail systems are also a way of life. If you have unfortunately been involved in an accident on an MTA bus and been injured as a result, contact Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, today to get the legal support that you need and deserve.

Common Causes of Bus Accidents in New York

When referring to a bus, we all know that it’s a large motor vehicle that has a long body and it’s equipped with benches or seats for passengers. They are generally operated as part of scheduled service but can be used through private ownership or for charter purposes. 

Driving a large public transit bus takes an excellent level and expertise, knowledge, and understanding of how to operate such a vehicle. This is why bus drivers are held to higher licensing standards than an average passenger vehicle operator, starting with a CDL (commercial driver’s license) and a variety of other safety certifications and testing processes. While nearly all bus operators are extremely safe and reliable, there are some instances when even the best driver may succumb to a mistake that leads to an accident. The following are a few examples but are not intended to cover the entire spectrum of bus accident cases in New York.

Fatigued Bus Drivers

Fatigue is a significant enemy of drivers everywhere, including professional bus drivers. Fatigue makes it extremely hard for some to get up in the morning, do usual activities, go to work, or drive a vehicle. If someone’s driving while feeling sleepy, drowsy, or tired, this is commonly referred to as driver fatigue. It’s generally one of the most common causes of auto vehicles since most drivers are unable to react and respond to different situations on the road.

CDL operators are held to a higher standard of care, which includes limits on the amount that they are able to drive in specific periods of time. This is a great way to reduce the risk of fatigued bus drivers, but it does not address the personal life of the driver, which can interfere just as quickly with their ability to stay well-rested.

Distracted Driving

When a driver is at the wheel all day, every day, it is almost no wonder that they may become distracted from time to time. In some cases, this may involve simply letting their mind wander off of the road instead of thinking about what they will have for dinner or what they will do on the upcoming weekend. However, they may also decide to use their cell phones or other devices while driving to send text messages, record videos, or check social media. Both of these types of distractions put the driver, passengers, and all commuters around the bus at risk of an accident.

Impaired Driving

Driving while impaired is one of the top causes of auto accidents. In the United States, driving under the influence (DUI) is defined as a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than or equal to 0.08%. Sadly, more than 30 people die every day in the country in drunk-driving crashes. This means that a person dies every 45 minutes.

Professional drivers are not free of fault. A bus driver may be actively consuming alcohol or other drugs as they operate their vehicle, whether it is a prescription drug or recreational use, which seriously impairs their ability to drive. The driver may also still be under the effects of a recreational drug or alcohol that they consumed before their shift, such as the night before. Driving with a hangover means that the driver has not “slept it off,” and in many cases, people are arrested for DUI the following day for this reason.

Faulty Equipment

The MTA has a large number of mechanics who are responsible for giving buses the required upkeep and attention they need in order to stay safe on the road. This includes things like ensuring proper air pressure in tires, addressing any mechanical issues, and providing quality and safety control for the vehicles as they return from a day of driving and before they leave for their next journey. In most cases, these mechanics and inspectors are incredibly reliable and proficient at their jobs, meaning that the MTA can rely on safe and maintained equipment. Sometimes, though, a mechanical issue can be missed by the mechanics or may happen without warning, leading to injuries and sometimes death.

Reckless Or Aggressive Driving

Under United States law, reckless driving consists in driving a vehicle with wanton disregard for the safety of other persons or property.

Although they are held to higher licensing and certification standards than a passenger vehicle driver, bus drivers can still succumb to aggression on the roads. In some cases, they may be encouraged to drive recklessly if they are behind their schedule. If you are in an accident on a bus and you believe that the driver was engaging in reckless or dangerous driving behaviors, it is vital that you document this as soon as possible.

Distribution of nature of injuries or illnesses for state and local government bus drivers, caused by violent events infographic

What to Do After a Bus Accident?

Suppose you’ve been involved in an NYC bus accident. It’s understandable that you’re in shock, both physically and emotionally. While you may be unsure of your next moves, please consider the following:

  • Seek medical help. If you can’t call 911, the bus operator or witness should be responsible for calling the paramedics. If you can move, try to get to a safer location following the accident scene and get medical attention.
  • Call the police. Regardless of the severity of the bus accident, it’s vital to contact law enforcement. If you have been involved in the accident as the other driver, under no circumstance should you admit fault, or it may harm your personal injury case.
  • Gather evidence. Try to document your injuries and as much evidence as possible. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, of your injuries, or of road signs nearby. Get the contact information of the witnesses as well.
  • Seek legal help as soon as possible. To significantly increase your chances of obtaining a fair settlement, contact our bus accident attorneys. We can help you file claims and seek financial compensation.

When you contact our team of NYC bus accident attorneys, you can rest assured that we will fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve. Whether you suffered injuries in a minor accident or your family members have been involved in fatal accidents, you need to take legal action immediately. An experienced New York City bus accident lawyer at Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, will help you file a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim, gather as much evidence as possible, and fight with the insurance companies to obtain the best compensation for your injuries and damages.

Distribution of injured body regions for all injuries among both sex passengers injured while falling due to acceleration or braking while standing on a moving bus infographic.

School Bus Accidents in NYC

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 120 people are killed in school bus accidents yearly. What’s interesting is that only nine percent of all school bus accident victims are occupants of the school bus. Around 70% of the death in school bus accidents are occupants of other cars, while 20% are pedestrians.

But, believe it or not, school buses are by far the safest transporting alternative for your children because more children are injured in other vehicles and many more when walking to school. It’s true that it’s impossible to prevent such accidents from happening, but the least you could do is encourage your kids to remain seated while the bus is moving, minimize play, and approach the bus only when it’s completely stopped.

While school bus accidents do not occur very often but when they do, they can lead to severe injuries. If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, it’s critical to seek legal help immediately. At Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP, we will help you receive the total amount of compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today!

Bus crashed in an accident

Frequently Asked Questions About Bus Accidents in New York City

The following are simply a few commonly asked questions regarding bus accidents that we help clients understand. The best way to get an answer to your specific question and situation is by contacting our bus accident lawyers as soon as possible and scheduling a free initial consultation. This consultation is an excellent opportunity to learn about your rights as a victim, how we can help you through the personal injury claims process, and more.

Who is responsible for the accident I was involved in?

There is no straightforward or “one size fits all” answer to this question since there are so many different details that need to be examined in order to determine who was at fault. In some cases, there may even be multiple parties at fault for your accident, and therefore multiple parties are liable for paying the damages that you have suffered. From bus drivers, bus companies, manufacturers, pedestrians, or other motorists, anyone can be found at fault for a bus accident. When you are seeking compensation for your bus accident injuries, both you and your personal injury lawyer must determine who is responsible for your injuries and damages.

When you have a personal injury and bus accident attorney in NYC working on your case, one of the first steps to take is to identify all involved parties, determine who is at fault, and initiate a claim with their insurance company or legal representation.

What goes into a fair bus accident injury settlement? 

Your injuries come with obvious financial impacts, such as medical bills and recovery costs, as well as any possible lost wages due to missed work or a decreased earning capacity. Both of these things are calculated into the damages that your personal injury lawyer will seek for you during negotiations or a lawsuit. However, there are many other factors that an insurance company would rather not pay you for, but that you absolutely deserve.

Non-economic damages in a personal injury settlement go beyond the financial impacts like expenses and losses and seek to quantify things like your pain and suffering after an injury or the fear and depression that you must endure following your accident. Insurance companies will attempt to push back on these claims, but just because they are more abstract than a hospital invoice does not mean that you are not entitled to these payments.

How can I negotiate a claim with insurance companies? 

When an insurance company completes its claims investigation, it will offer you a settlement amount in the form of a one-time payout. As you watch your medical bills and lost wages increase as a result of your injuries, this payment may seem like the best option for you, but it is rarely, if ever, the actual amount that you deserve. In exchange for this payment, the insurance company will require that you waive your ability to seek any future damages against them or their client regarding this accident, even if you suffer new issues that were not present at the time of the settlement.

Instead, this first offer is the time when an attorney will initiate negotiations. Once your attorney has compiled all of the damages that you have suffered, both economic and non-economic, they will have a clear idea of the money you are entitled to and will be able to apply pressure to the MTA to get you the compensation you deserve. If negotiations fail, then one of our NYC bus accident attorneys will file a lawsuit in the New York courts and take the fight in front of a judge.

What does the legal process; after a bus accident in New York entail? 

Immediately after a bus accident, there will likely be police reports and accident reports that must be filed, both internally with the MTA, with the New York Police Department, and with any other official parties with a stake in the situation. At the same time, you will need to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days to begin the process of your insurance claim.

Once you file your claim, you will be called in for a 50-H hearing, which is a required hearing when you file a claim against a public entity that is similar to a deposition. You will be asked questions about your accident and your injuries during this hearing that will help to provide a clear and comprehensive picture of your situation.

Once you have completed your 50-H hearing, you and your attorney will be able to discuss the following steps to take. You will not be able to file a lawsuit if you have not completed these required steps, so it is crucial that you act quickly in order to begin this process and get on the right track toward receiving the compensation and legal protection that you deserve.

How long does a lawsuit take in the New York courts?

There is no simple answer to this question because the amount of time that a lawsuit takes to be completed depends on many different factors, such as the complexity of the case and whether or not it goes to trial. Lawsuits, without going to court, can go on for years depending on how complicated and contentious they are, which is why it is so essential that you are partnered with the right attorney for the job. 

If you go to trial, there are a variety of other factors that will contribute to how long it will take. For example: if there are many different witnesses that need to be called in front of the judge during this process, then this will naturally extend the case in order to hear the testimony of each of these people. Before the trial begins, there is a period of exploration and additional negotiations, where your attorney and the other legal teams will try to reach an agreement without the courts as they dive deeper into the case.

The short answer to this question is that there is no easy way to answer this question, especially without speaking with you directly about your own situation and understanding the circumstances.

What type of safety features do public transit systems (buses) use in New York?

According to the New York Department of Transportation, “all buses operated pursuant to or requiring regulatory authority from any city that has adopted an ordinance, local law or charter to regulate a franchise, ”bus line” operation pursuant to section 80 of the Transportation Law.” In this section, as well as a variety of other legal documents, there are many different safety standards and requirements laid out for all motor vehicles operating in New York, including commercial or public transit vehicles. 

However, there are many areas where public transit systems are lacking in safety features that are required in many other aspects of transportation. As a result, your injuries may be worse if you are in an accident on an MTA vehicle than if you were in a passenger vehicle.

What is the potential for catastrophic injury in an NYC bus accident?

Unfortunately, the MTA buses were involved in nearly 22,000 accidents over the course of a 3-year period between 2015 and 2018, or an average of around 23 per day. This means that each time you board an MTA vehicle, you are putting your safety into the hands of the operator at the helm, as well as the supporting teams such as maintenance and other safety-focused stakeholders in the MTA. 

In the three years mentioned above, there was an average of 2.7 injuries reported on a daily basis and at least 14 deaths. Since there are over 5 million people who ride the MTA systems each day, these numbers are not statistically significant, but the fact remains that each time you board an MTA vehicle, there is a non-zero chance that you suffer either an injury or death.

Red bus on a road with cars

Why Choose Us?

At Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson LLP, we know that because of the size and speed at which these systems operate, the chance for operator negligence and fatigue or equipment failure are real considerations. From our years of experience, we know that despite their best efforts, these systems and the people who operate them will break down from time to time.

When this happens, the results can be tragic. Accident victims can be overwhelmed trying to recover from their injuries. That alone can take a victim’s total energy, and when combined with other issues related to an accident, the tasks at hand can devastate even the strongest people.

That’s where we can help. Our experienced team of NYC bus accident attorneys can shoulder the load when it comes to making sure you are fully compensated for your injuries. We work hard on your behalf to seek full repayment for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs to give you the peace of mind you need to regain your health and resume your life.

Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson LLP proudly serves New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Nassau, and surrounding communities. Contact us for a free consultation at (212)-267-6557 or (516)-800-9000.