If you or a family member suffered severe injuries in a bus accident in the Bronx or surrounding area, contact the Bronx bus accident attorneys at the Law Office of Ivan M. Diamond to learn about your legal options. We can help you to receive the best possible recovery for your injuries.
New York City is one of the most hectic cities in the world, traffic-wise. Transportation data giant INRIX ranks the Big Apple as the second most traffic-congested city in America and the third-most congested in the world. Myriad problems accompany that distinction, including frequent motor vehicle-related accidents and the severe or fatal injuries caused by them. Public transportation eases the strain of navigating the city by car, but traveling by MTA bus, school bus, and private bus can all present significant risks.
- Bus Companies Should Pay for the Damages They Cause
- Risks of Bus Travel
- Bronx Bus Accident Statistics and Dangerous Roadways
- Catastrophic Injuries From a Bus Accident
- Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?
- What Damages Can I Recover for Bus Accident Injuries?
- What Defenses Do Liable Parties Allege in a Bus Accident?
- Bronx Bus Accident FAQs
- What Are Damages in a Bus Accident Lawsuit?
- Speak to an Experienced Bronx Bus Accident Lawyer Today
Bus Companies Should Pay for the Damages They Cause
Ivan M. Diamond, an experienced bus accident lawyer in the Bronx, believes that even a single bus injury or fatality is one too many. This belief drives him to represent victims of personal injuries exclusively, working hard to preserve their rights and recover every penny of compensation they deserve. Ivan Diamond understands the heavy physical, emotional, and financial toll personal injuries can take on victims and their families. His mission is to help injured New Yorkers recover from their trauma.
Bus accidents may happen infrequently, but they regularly cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities when they do occur. Bus passengers may sometimes sustain serious injuries, but pedestrians and private passenger vehicle occupants hit by buses are even more at risk.
Risks of Bus Travel
The size of buses makes accidents involving them more severe than most other motor vehicle collisions. Buses weigh 10,000 pounds and more. While the mass of a bus gives bus passengers a protective advantage in some cases, it also often leads to catastrophic injuries and fatalities for pedestrians and the occupants of vehicles the bus strikes. Bus accident victims can require lifetime medical treatment, and the accidents also create overwhelming financial and emotional burdens for the victims.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration annually publishes national bus accident data. Its most recent Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts publication confirms that bus accidents are rare.
Of 995,030 buses registered countrywide in one recent year, just 231 were in fatal crashes that year. There were 230 fatal crashes the previous year, with 15,000 accidents with injuries and 50,000 property damage only crashes.
Just 227 buses were in crashes last year, resulting in 264 fatalities. Bus accidents cause far fewer injuries and deaths than auto and passenger truck crashes. That is little consolation for injured victims and families who must live with the consequences of those bus accidents.
Bronx Bus Accident Statistics and Dangerous Roadways
In recent years, the Bronx has made strides to improve roadway safety for pedestrians, cyclists, passenger car drivers, and buses through its Vision Zero safety initiatives. These efforts enhance safety throughout the Bronx. Despite the municipality's precautions, thousands of accidents continue to happen annually in the area.
Bus Accident Facts and Figures
Road safety in New York City’s second least-populous borough is an ongoing concern, but the Bronx has made efforts to improve the safety of those using its roads. Even with legislative changes to protect drivers, roads in the Bronx are still dangerous.
The Bronx still had 13,382 total roadway accidents in 2021. These accidents, which included 1,134 pedestrians and 413 cyclists, injured over 5,400 people. One recent year saw 23 fatalities in Bronx traffic accidents.
The 2021 traffic accidents in the Bronx included 454 bus accidents, with at least five of these accidents involving two buses or more. Tragically, the worst accident in 2021 happened on July 29, when a bus collided with two SUVs. The accident injured 14 people. Bus accidents can have life-changing consequences.
The Most Accident-Prone Roads in the Bronx
Although a traffic accident or collision with a bus can happen just about anywhere in the borough, several highways, intersections, and areas of roadway are more dangerous or likely to see accidents than others. Drivers traveling on these should use caution, especially if they see a bus sharing the road.
Dangerous areas of the Bronx for accidents include:
- The Cross Bronx Expressway - Hundreds of crashes in 2021
- The Cross Bronx Expressway near Macombs Road overpass - 13 crashes, 24 injured, one dead
- The Bruckner Expressway - Most accidents are near 141st Street, with 13 injured and one dead
- Bronx River Parkway - On-ramp is one of the most dangerous in the Bronx, with 13 accidents, 24 injuries, one death
- Clifford Place and Jerome Avenue - Four crashes in 2021, with five injuries to passengers and drivers, one injured pedestrian, one fatality
- East Gun Hill Road near the Bronx River Parkway - 16 accidents and 15 injuries, including two cyclists and two pedestrians, in 2021
Each of these injuries represents a person whose life has changed forever, and each fatality a family left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life. If your loved one died after being involved in a Bronx bus accident, you have legal options and can pursue a case to recover damages.
Your Bronx bus accident attorney can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your family and the estate of your loved one. Contact Ivan Diamond, Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer if you’ve lost a family member in a tragic bus collision. While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, our team is here to provide compassionate, skilled legal representation on your behalf.
Catastrophic Injuries From a Bus Accident
When a smaller vehicle collides with a bus, serious injuries are usually inevitable. The 10-year NHTSA School Transportation Study shows that 70 percent of fatal bus crash victims were in another vehicle, 20 percent were pedestrians, and 9 percent were riding bicycles. A recent year saw 234 fatal bus accidents; 43 bus passengers died in the crashes, with 219 additional deaths among those who were not passengers on the buses.
Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems statistics document that vehicular accidents cause 51 percent of traumatic brain injuries. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center confirms vehicle accidents as a causative factor in 38.3 percent of spinal cord injuries. The size and weight of the vehicles involved are among the most critical factors in causing these catastrophic injuries.
When a large bus strikes a much smaller vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian, the weight-driven impact of the bus causes these and other injuries:
Traumatic brain injuries can be as minor as a mild concussion or can result in major life-altering injuries causing cognitive losses, paralysis, and other long-term damage.
A bus accident can also cause:
- Back, neck, and spine injuries - As with traumatic brain injuries, injuries to the back, neck, and spine can be severe and result in catastrophic lifestyle changes through paralysis or loss of motor function and earning capacity.
- Severe soft tissue tears and strains - Soft tissue injuries often lead to chronic pain from which relief can be difficult or impossible to obtain.
- Shattered or fractured bones - The severity of bone injuries in bus accidents can lead to amputation or loss of function resulting in loss of earning capacity or enjoyment of life.
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis - As noted above, injuries to the spinal cord can cause severe paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia. Paralysis to this decree results in loss of enjoyment and quality of life, loss of earning capacity or the ability to work at all, and massive future medical and therapeutic costs.
- Internal damage - Internal damage can lead to loss of organs such as the spleen, kidneys, or pancreas and leave lifelong medical expenses behind.
- Loss of bodily functions - Severe injuries and paralysis can cause loss of bodily functions, requiring assistive care and creating loss of consortium.
- Severe Burns - Severe burns are not only major medical disasters in terms of their health and financial impact but also leave behind scarring and disfigurement, which can cause emotional and mood disorders.
- Nerve damage - Nerve damage can destroy the motor skills and dexterity required for many occupations, leading to lost earning capacity.
One of these injuries alone can have life-changing consequences for the victim, but in the case of bus accidents, victims often suffer multiple injuries. Serious injuries can cause temporary or permanent disability, loss of independence, or an inability of the victim to care for themselves.
In most cases, the victim's family cannot provide caregiver services. Accident victims will require a home health nurse or special equipment installed in their homes with extensive injuries. Other families may need to place their loved one in a specialty care facility like a nursing home or a dedicated memory care facility. These expenses can be a burden to accident victims and their loved ones.
Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident?
New York statutes hold a vehicle owner and operator financially responsible for death or injury resulting from negligence. Your Bronx bus accident attorney will build a powerful case for damages, starting by determining the party or parties who were negligent or reckless. Once they've identified the parties that may have been liable for your injuries, they will gather evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, eyewitness reports, and maintenance logs.
Sometimes the evidence indicates several potentially responsible parties in a bus accident:
- Drivers: A bus driver's actions behind the wheel, negligent maintenance of the vehicle, conducting improper or incomplete inspections, and drive time violations cause accidents. Under the principles of agency law, since the driver and the maintenance crews are agents of the bus company, the company can also be liable for the driver's conduct.
- Employers: A common carrier/employer, school system, or independent transportation company is liable for its driver’s actions and damage caused by vehicles they own and control. If an employer knew about a driver’s past adverse driving record or safety issues, that employer could be responsible for oversight during the hiring process and negligent entrustment. As noted above, it may also be liable for the driver’s actions as the principal to the driver’s agent.
- Bus owners: When a school or transport company leases a bus, the owner shares liability for maintenance issues or defects. If the accident resulted from poor maintenance or unrepaired defects in the equipment, the owner of the bus will be liable for those failures.
- Maintenance contractors: A maintenance company is responsible for improper or inadequate fleet care and maintenance. If the company breaches its duty to maintain the equipment and that failure injures people, the maintenance contractor will bear financial liability for that breach.
- Bus manufacturers: A manufacturer is legally liable for accidents caused by bus defects. Again, if there were defects that the manufacturer should have corrected or disclosed and it did not do so, it will bear financial liability for injuries resulting from those defects.
- Contractual liability: Owners, lessors, and other parties sometimes transfer their liability via hold harmless and indemnification arrangements or a duty-to-defend agreement. Sometimes these agreements are effective, and sometimes they are not. A skilled Bronx bus accident attorney experienced in working with such contracts can help you determine which is the case in your accident.
What Damages Can I Recover for Bus Accident Injuries?
Bronx Bus Accident Injuries
Personal injury settlements usually include economic damages and general damages.
Economic damages include expenses incurred and projected future losses.
You might think of them as the easily verifiable damages documented through an invoice, bill, or receipt.
- Lost income - Shown by producing paycheck records.
- Diminished income capabilities - Comparing what you could earn to what you are likely to earn under the new circumstances.
- Medical expenses - All hospital and doctor bills, invoices, receipts, and other evidence of payments made for costs relating to your medical care.
- Medications - All of the drugs administered in the hospital and those you have taken since your release
- Prosthetics and mobility devices - Artificial limbs and assistive devices can cost a lot of money but prove necessary to maintain your quality of life after an accident.
- Physical therapy - Regaining lost skills and learning new ones with prosthetics or assistive devices is time-consuming and expensive.
- Transportation costs - This covers trips to and from doctors, therapists, and other necessary travel during your recovery and potentially for the rest of your life if you lose the ability to drive
- Home care and services - Catastrophic injuries may require lifelong care and services in the home; these are expensive, and you should receive compensation for them.
General damages compensate for an injured person’s emotional and psychological losses. They are generally more subjective to calculate, as they do not stem from receipts or invoices.
- Pain and suffering - New York does not cap the damages you can recover for the pain and suffering from an accident. Neither does it impose a particular method of calculating your damages.
- Emotional issues - Accidents can lead to mood disorders caused by life changes, scarring, disfigurement, or even a head injury. Loss of relationships and a satisfying career can also cause emotional difficulties.
- Spousal and family relationship issues - The difficulties inherent in adjusting after a severe accident can significantly strain relationships. Loss of the marital relationship and a reduced ability to socialize are also compensable.
- Loss of bodily functions - Whether you are a famous athlete who can no longer play your sport or simply an ordinary individual who cannot engage in activities or work you enjoy, the loss of bodily function can be life-altering.
- Scarring and disfigurement - Physical changes to the appearance, especially in young victims, can result in emotional and mood problems. If sufficiently severe, they may make socializing or working agonizing for the victim.
- Permanent disabilities - Permanent disabilities can affect the entirety of your life—your work, pleasure, family life, and social life.
Under certain circumstances and where an injured person proves a responsible party's actions were wanton and reckless or malicious, a jury may also award punitive damages. As with general damages, New York law does not cap punitive damages.
Punitive damages may apply if the bus company or municipality negligently hired the drivers or maintained their fleet.
Suppose your Bronx bus accident lawyer determines that the bus manufacturer or designer released a flawed vehicle. Perhaps the manufacturer didn't take steps to issue a recall or inform consumers of a bus defect. In that case, your legal team may advise you to seek punitive damages against the manufacturer.
Punitive damages punish egregiously negligent parties. Punitive damages deter the liable party and others in the industry from engaging in negligent business and manufacturing practices.
While punitive damages won’t apply to every accident case, your Bronx bus accident attorney can help you to understand whether they apply to your case or not.
What Defenses Do Liable Parties Allege in a Bus Accident?
Because severe and catastrophic injury bus accident matters often involve large damages claims, settlement negotiations sometimes break down.
When potentially liable parties must defend themselves, they often turn to several well-worn arguments that a dedicated bus accident lawyer like Ivan M. Diamond can help clients navigate around:
- No negligence: The driver and other responsible parties try to prove they did not act in a manner likely to cause foreseeable harm to the plaintiff. You can also prove negligence by showing that there could be no other cause for the accident. An experienced bus accident attorney like Ivan M. Diamond will be familiar with responding to these defendants’ arguments.
- Comparative negligence: Under New York’s pure comparative negligence statute, even if a defendant proves your conduct contributed to your injuries, damages will be reduced by the percentage of the victim’s fault. Pure comparative negligence means that even if you were 99 percent at fault, you could still recover 1 percent of your damages.
- No defect: In cases where there is evidence a vehicle defect caused a bus accident, bus manufacturers may go to great lengths to defend their product. Knowledgeable bus accident attorneys will know how to find the manufacturer’s history of defects and whether one such defect may have resulted in your injuries.
- Damages: When liability is difficult to dispute, responsible parties may push back on the damages the plaintiff should receive. A skilled negotiator like Ivan Diamond will be comfortable arguing for the highest possible recovery for your injuries.
Ivan M. Diamond has the knowledge and experience to investigate, settle, and, if necessary, litigate bus accident matters in and out of New York area courts.
Bronx Bus Accident FAQs
Buses are a convenient and economical way for New Yorkers to get from one place to the next. They are a necessary convenience in any large metropolitan area. You can only imagine life without a bus service or school buses to take children to school or on field trips.
However, millions of New Yorkers take buses every day in the Bronx and its surrounding boroughs, increasing the risk of bus accidents. Unfortunately, buses are rather sizable vehicles that can cause severe damage to passenger vehicles and their occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
At Ivan Diamond, Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer, our Bronx bus accident lawyer sees this happen far too often. The good news is that we can help injured victims recover the compensation they deserve under New York law.
What Should You Do After a Bus Accident?
Being involved in a bus accident is shocking and confusing, and it’s understandably hard to think clearly in those first few moments. You may not understand what has just occurred or what you are supposed to do next. However, the hours, days, and even months after such an accident are crucial to your injury claim. Suppose you fail to take the necessary steps to protect your legal interests. In that case, you won't obtain full and fair compensation for your damages. Here are some of the essential steps you should take.
1. Get Medical Care
If you are in a bus accident, first seek medical attention. If you don't receive treatment or transportation to a hospital, see a physician as soon as possible. Get a diagnosis, documentation of your injuries, and receive treatment.
Even if you don't think your injuries are severe enough to see a doctor, getting checked out is critical. Not everyone with injuries will feel pain immediately; a lack of pain doesn't necessarily mean you are fine. Being able to walk away from the accident doesn't mean you aren't injured. If you have injuries, you want them medically documented immediately, creating evidence that they arose from the bus accident and not something else.
2. Meet with a Bronx Bus Accident Attorney
Once you undergo a medical examination and are medically stable, reach out to an experienced Bronx bus accident lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of a bus accident claim. Never take on the liable party's insurance company without legal representation. Many victims don't realize that their insurance adjusters will typically do everything they can to downplay their injuries or devalue their claim. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible.
You’ll want to work with a bus accident lawyer who knows how to thoroughly investigate the cause of the bus accident, the severity and extent of your injuries, and the scope of your damages. Hiring a trusted legal advocate to be by your side is the best way to protect your right to a fair recovery.
3. Document and Collect Evidence
Always put your safety and well-being first. If possible, collect evidence and document what happened to help your claim. Write down your account of what happened before, during, and after the accident. Take pictures of videos of the vehicles involved and your injuries. Get the names and contact information of any potential eyewitnesses.
4. Don’t Make Any Statements About Your Injuries or Apologize
It's common to want to be tough and tell people you feel fine after an accident or that you aren't that hurt. However, refrain from saying anything about your injuries or the lack thereof after an accident. You can discuss these matters with your medical team and your Bronx bus accident lawyer, but it's best not to talk to others about them.
If you were the driver of another vehicle in a bus accident, don't apologize. Many drivers want to apologize, no matter who caused the accident. However, apologizing or saying anything someone may misconstrue can weaken your claim and increase your liability.
5. Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
While they may seem helpful, it's best not to speak with the insurance company. Instead, let a skilled Bronx bus accident attorney file your claim and negotiate a fair settlement. In recent years, insurance companies have been notorious for trying to speak with accident victims as soon as possible before they have the opportunity to connect with a Bronx bus accident lawyer. Then, they offer them a meager settlement hoping that you, the victim, will be desperate for a check and not know what their claim is worth. Don't let the insurance company take advantage of you like this; secure the representation of a Bronx bus accident attorney today.
How Long Do You Have to File a Bus Accident Legal Claim?
Anyone injured in a bus accident must know their legal rights and options have a strict expiration date under New York's personal injury laws. The deadline for filing a legal claim is known as a statute of limitations. In New York, those injured in a bus accident or who sustained another type of personal injury generally have three years to file a lawsuit.
A different deadline applies if your legal claim is against a government entity—for example, the school district in a school bus accident. You must file personal injury claims in the New York Court of Claims within 90 days of the event that caused the injury.
Not adhering to these critical deadlines will likely result in you not receiving the compensation you deserve for your bus accident injuries. Don't let this happen to you. No matter who your bus accident claim is against, a seasoned Bronx bus accident attorney is well-versed in the applicable deadlines and statutes of limitations. They can file your claim on time and meet any other deadlines.
What Causes Bronx Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents can happen for various reasons; most are the same reasons that other motor vehicle accidents happen. No matter what caused the accident, most of them arise from the negligence of another person or party.
1. Bus Company Negligence
The bus company and its employees' negligence is a common cause of accidents. Even though special laws regulate the bussing industry, bus inspections and record-keeping requirements aren't as strict as those of the airline industry.
Your bus accident attorney can prove a bus company’s negligence for an accident if:
- Their fleet is aging
- Their fleet lacks seat belts and other safety equipment
- They don’t perform proper inspections and maintenance on their busses
- They don’t provide their drivers with adequate training
- They hire drivers with poor driving histories or even severe infractions such as drunk driving
Bus companies have a duty of care to keep their fleet safe and adequately maintained. They also must properly train all drivers and operators to operate their vehicles.
Bus carriers must ensure that all drivers have a commercial driver's license and valid IDs and renew all licensing requirements on schedule. If carriers fail in these essential duties, you can hold them liable for any injuries their drivers cause.
2. Driver Negligence
Sometimes bus drivers ignore laws such as those that govern their hours of service or how long they can be on the road during one stretch. Laws also restrict bus speed and turning and passing regulations. Some bus drivers drive while under the influence of alcohol and prescription or illicit drugs. Others might be distracted by their cell phone and be calling or texting. Driver fatigue is another concern that can put everyone on the road at risk of injuries.
The safety of bus passengers, as well as everyone else on the road, depends on bus drivers who:
- Obey traffic laws and bussing regulations
- Are sober behind the wheel
- Stay off their cell phones
- Get adequate rest breaks
- Prioritize their sleep
- Refuse to drive recklessly
A driver who neglects to follow these protocols and applicable New York laws may face criminal charges and civil penalties in a bus accident lawsuit.
3. The Negligence of Other Drivers
It's not always a negligent driver or bus company that causes an accident. Sometimes other drivers cause or contribute to the accident. Other drivers can exhibit negligence in the same way as bus drivers, for example, speeding, not stopping at a stop sign, checking social media while behind the wheel, or driving drunk. When other drivers make poor choices, they will be liable for the injuries they cause.
4. Weather and Road Conditions
Less frequently, hazardous weather or road conditions cause bus accidents. The weight and shape of a bus make it difficult to maneuver—a typical, fully-loaded school bus can weigh approximately 42,000 pounds, compared to an average passenger automobile that weighs around 3,000 pounds. Combine that fact with bad weather or road conditions, and it's a recipe for disaster. Bus drivers must receive proper training to handle weather and take precautions such as reducing speed in fog, ice, snow, or other inclement conditions.
5. Government Entity Negligence
If the bus you were riding is through a government bus system, they can be negligent in causing an accident in the same ways a bus company can. Sometimes, bus accidents occur due to road conditions or malfunctioning stop lights that a city or county government could or should have fixed. In these cases, your Bronx bus accident lawyer can hold a government agency responsible for the accident.
6. Defective Parts
Rarely a defective part installed on a bus may lead to an accident. In these cases, you can hold the manufacturer of the bus or faulty part liable for your injuries. A well-versed Bronx bus accident lawyer can investigate your bus accident to determine whether it happened due to a malfunctioning part or something else. Once they decide what happened, they know who to hold accountable for the damages.
What Are Damages in a Bus Accident Lawsuit?
Being in a bus accident comes at many costs. Your damages are the financial representation of these costs. There are literal costs such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
You may also recover these subjective costs:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
How much compensation you receive for your Bronx bus accident is based on your losses. Your literal costs are commonly referred to as economic or special damages, while your figurative costs are your non-economic or general damages. Accident victims have the right to both types of damages. The more severe their injuries, the more compensation they deserve to receive.
Speak to an Experienced Bronx Bus Accident Lawyer Today
The Bronx personal injury attorneys Ivan Diamond, Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer can help you recover compensation for the injuries you needlessly suffered. We know how severe injuries can affect a person's quality of life, ability to care for themselves and their families, and do their jobs. While there is no way to fully compensate you for how your life has changed, recovering financial compensation that will help you get on with your life is an essential element of the post-accident healing process.
You can count on us to work hard on your behalf, gathering evidence and discovering the facts surrounding the bus accident while you concentrate on resting and getting better. Meanwhile, don't talk to insurance company adjusters who will pressure you to agree to a settlement immediately. Insurance companies are only interested in their bottom line—paying you less and saving money.
Call (718) 588-2000 now for your free case review with an experienced Bronx bus accident attorney. You can also contact us online. We are here for you when you need legal help, including evenings and weekends. We can come to your home or your hospital bedside.
Remember that your legal rights after a bus accident can expire—don't hesitate to reach out to us if you suffered injuries in an accident. Let us begin the process of building a solid case for you.
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