Bronx Bus Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member suffered serious 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 serious 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.
The size of buses makes accidents involving them more serious 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 2019, just 231 were involved in fatal crashes that year. There were 230 fatal crashes the previous year, with 15,000 injury crashes and 50,000 property damage only crashes. just 227 were involved in crashes last year, resulting in 264 fatalities. Bus accidents cause injuries and fatalities at a far lower rate than auto and passenger truck crashes. That fact is, however, little consolation for injured victims and families who must live with the extreme consequences of even those fewer bus accidents.
Bus Companies Should Pay for the Damages They Cause
Ivan M. Diamond 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.
When a smaller vehicle collides with a bus, serious injuries are usually inevitable. The 10-year NHSTA 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. In a recent year, there were 234 fatal bus accidents, but only 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 vehicular accidents as the cause of 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 – these 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.
- 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 creates 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 life-long 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 their health and financial impact but also leave behind scarring and disfigurement, which can cause emotional and mood disorders.
- Nerve damage – damage to the nerves can result in loss of motor skills and the dexterity required for many occupations, leading to loss of earning capacity and the ability to work.
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.
Sometimes the evidence indicates several potentially responsible parties in a bus accident:
- Driver: A bus driver’s actions behind the wheel, and also negligent maintenance, improper 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.
- Employer: A common carrier/employer, school system, or independent transportation company are liable for their driver’s actions and for 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 can be responsible for negligent hiring 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 owner: 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 contractor: 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 manufacturer: 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 attorney experienced in working with such agreements can help you determine which is the case in your accident.
What Damages Can I Recover for 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 former payday records
- Diminished income capabilities – comparing what you could earn to what you are likely to earn under the new circumstances
- Medical expenses – all the hospital and doctor bills, invoices, receipts, and other evidence of payments made for expenses relating to your medical care
- Medications – all the medications 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 any 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 you suffer as a result of 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 and scarring or disfigurement, or even as a result of 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 put a significant strain on 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 or simply an ordinary individual who cannot engage in activities or work you enjoyed, 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 and, if sufficiently severe, 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 is the case with general damages, New York law has no cap on punitive damages.
What Defenses Do Liable Parties Allege?
Because serious 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 experienced personal injury attorneys like Ivan 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 accident attorney like Ivan 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 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 what life would be like without a bus service or without school busses 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 damages to passenger vehicles and their occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
At The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond, our Bronx bus accident lawyers see this happen far too often. The good news is that we can help injured victims recover the compensation due to them under New York law.
What Should You Do After a Bus Accident?
Being involved in a bus accident is shocking and confusing at best. 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 likely won’t be able to 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 involved in a bus accident, you should first seek medical attention. If you don’t receive treatment at the scene or transportation to a hospital from the scene, make an appointment with a physician as soon as possible. You should get a diagnosis and documentation of your injuries so that you can receive treatment for any injuries you sustained.
Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe enough to see a doctor, it’s critical to get checked out. Not everyone with injuries will feel pain right away; 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 right away, 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. Taking on the liable party’s insurance company without legal representation isn’t generally advisable. What many victims don’t realize is that their adjusters will typically do everything they can to downplay your injuries or devalue your claim. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible.
You’ll want to work with an attorney 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
Depending on the accident and your physical condition, you may or may not be able to complete this step. Always put your safety and well-being first, but if you can, collecting evidence and documenting what happened can be helpful to 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, it’s in your best legal interest to 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. For many drivers, it’s in their nature to apologize for no matter who caused the accident. However, apologizing or saying anything that may construe the accident to have been your fault 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 are 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 an extremely low settlement hoping that they will be desperate for a check and not know what their claim is really 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 needs to be aware that 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 from the date of their injury to file a lawsuit.
If your legal claim is against a government entity—for example, the school district in a school bus accident, a different deadline applies. 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 ensure that you file your claim on time and that you meet any other deadlines.
What Causes Bronx Bus Accidents?
Bus accidents can happen for a variety of reasons; most are the same reasons that other motor vehicle accidents happen. No matter what caused the accident, the majority of them arise from the negligence of another person or party.
#1. Bus Company Negligence
Negligence of the bus company and its employees 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.
You 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
#2. Driver Negligence
Sometimes bus drivers ignore laws such as those that govern their hours of service/how long they can be on the road during one stretch, 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 also 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
#3. The Negligence of Other Drivers
It’s not always a negligent driver or bus company that causes an accident. Sometimes it’s the negligence of other drivers on the road that causes or contributes to the accident. Other drivers can be negligent in the same way that bus drivers can, 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 operate a bus in all types of weather and to take precautions such as reducing speed when fog, ice, snow, or other inclement conditions exist.
#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 stoplights that a city or county government could or should have fixed. In these cases, you can hold a government agency responsible for the accident.
#6. Defective Parts
Rarely, a defective part installed on a bus will 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 if it happened due to a malfunctioning part or something else. Once they determine what happened, they know who can be held accountable for the damages.
What are Damages?
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.
Then there are these figurative costs:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
How much compensation do you receive for your Bronx bus accident is based upon your damages?
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 bus accident attorneys The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond can help you recover compensation for the injuries you needlessly suffered. We know how severe injuries can impact a person’s quality of life, their ability to care for themselves and their families, and to 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. In the meantime, don’t get into any discussions with insurance company adjusters who will pressure you to agree to a settlement right away. Insurance companies are only interested in their bottom line – paying you less and saving money.
Call now at (718) 588-2000 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. Evening and weekend appointments are available, and we can come to your home or even your hospital bedside. Remember that your legal rights after a bus accident can become expire – don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you suffered injuries in an accident. Let us begin the process of building a strong case for you.
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond
888 Grand Concourse Suite #1L, 10451
“Mr. Ivan Diamond is the definition of professionalism hard work. He’s my first experience with a lawyer (I retained him to represent me in two separate instances) … and he made it a pleasant one! He’s VERY hands on, very attentive, asked the questions, consistently checked up on me and prepared me for any and every possibility. Extremely knowledgeable. I recommend Mr. Diamond to friends and family who we’re all happy with outcome of their personal injury case’s. I consider Mr. Diamond to be family, because that’s how hard he worked for me and expressed real compassion for my circumstances. Hiring Mr. Diamond is a decision you will never regret..” -Bia S.
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The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond888 Grand Concourse #1L Bronx, NY 10451 Phone: (718) 588-2000 Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments.
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