When you ride the bus to get to work or school or to accomplish an errand, you rely on it to carry you safely to your destination and back. Unfortunately, that doesnâ€™t always happen. Every year literally thousands of people are seriously injured or even killed in bus-related accidents, many of which are caused by negligent bus drivers and transportation companies.
Most bus accidents are caused by one or all of the factors listed below.
Examples of negligent bus driver conduct include:
- Driving while distracted (e.g. texting)
- Ignoring dangerous road conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist
The transit authority
Bus companies throughout New York State are required to perform regular maintenance, keep their vehicles in good working order, and employ qualified drivers. Nonetheless, transit authorities have been known to skip on regular bus maintenance, provide inadequate training to new drivers, and contribute to driver fatigue by imposing punitive schedules.
Motorists have contributed to serious accidents by colliding with buses while distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, swerving in front of buses, driving in the wrong lane, and other reckless behaviors.
What to do after a bus accident
If you have been injured while riding a bus, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for any injuries and losses. To protect the integrity of your claim, be sure to do the following immediately after the accident:
- Seek medical attention. Even if you have no pain or visible injuries, call 911 and report the accident. The police will document the incident and you can be examined at the closest emergency room. You may be more injured than you realize, as shock and adrenaline can mask pain for days afterward.
- Collect contact information for other passengers. Witnesses to your injury are vital when you make a later claim against the party at fault.
- Be careful what you say. Literally anything you say could be used against you when you seek compensation, so avoid statements like, â€œIâ€™m all rightâ€.
- Take photos. Use your phone to take pictures of your injuries and the aftermath of the crash, such as the bus position and any accident damage.
- Contact an attorney. Do not speak to any insurance agents until you meet with a New York bus accident attorney, as their company will use anything you say to reduce or nullify your claim.
Government agencies own and operate most buses, and the deadline for filing a claim against them is usually shorter than for other parties. An experienced New York personal injury attorney will ensure that you do not miss the applicable deadline and protect your interests if the insurance company tries to save money by denying or minimizing your claim. They will also:
- Review police reports and witness statements to identify the at-fault party
- Review bus maintenance records and driver or motorist records to identify contributing factors
Your attorney will work tirelessly to help you receive the compensation you are entitled to, so that you can focus on your recovery and the future.