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 important aspect of that access. Unfortunately, there are many different times where 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, contact us as soon as possible to learn about how we can help you get the compensation that you deserve. When you are trying to make a claim through the MTA, you will be facing their legal team, who will be taking every step available to limit the amount of money that they give you in a settlement. Instead of accepting what they want to pay you, hire an attorney and get the money that you actually deserve.
Read more below about New York bus accidents, and contact us now to get started on your own case as soon as possible.
Over 5 Million Riders Daily
What makes New York City such a vibrant, lively place is that it is a city full of high energy people, leading busy lives who are out and about every day of the year.
With millions of people in constant motion in such a confined area, a large and effective mass transit system is one of the keys to maintaining New York City’s vitality. Subways, MTA buses, and highly complex railroad systems traverse the city and take countless riders into and out of the metro area on a daily basis. And for the most part, these systems operate in a world-class way, with few disruptions or 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 us now to get the legal support that you need and deserve.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in New York
Driving a vehicle as large as a public transit bus through New York City requires an exceptional level of expertise and understanding of how to operate such a complicated 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. CDL operators are held to a higher standard of care, which includes limits to the amount that they are able to drive in certain 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 that can interfere just as easily with their ability to stay well-rested.
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 cellphones 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.
Drunk or drugged driving is an unfortunate reality in the United States, and even 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 next morning for this reason.
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 extremely 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
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, and in some cases may be encouraged to drive recklessly if they are behind their schedule. Regardless of the motivation for driving recklessly or aggressively, this is an extremely dangerous decision on behalf of the bus driver and puts everyone around them at risk. 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 important that you document this as soon as possible.
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 us as soon as possible and scheduling a free initial consultation. This consultation is a great 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 liable for paying the damages that you have suffered.
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 attorney 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 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 true 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 where 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 your attorney 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, and with the New York Police Department, and 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 next steps to take. You will not be able to file a lawsuit if you have not completed these required steps, so it is important that you act quickly in order to begin this process and get on the right track towards 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 important 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, 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 team 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 3 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.
Contact Us To Work With An Experienced Team of Bus, MTA and Rail Road Injury Attorneys
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 recovery from their injuries. That alone can take a victim’s full 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 bus, MTA and rail injury 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 (347) 768-8710.