Bus accidents are not as common as many other motor vehicle accident types but they can lead to serious bodily injuries and extensive property and vehicle damage. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the safest way for children to get to and from school is by bus, in part because of how heavily regulated school buses are. The same applies to public inter- and intra-city bus services.
If you or a loved one were involved in a bus accident, you are not alone. You may have grounds for a personal injury claim against the at-fault parties responsible for causing your injuries and/or other losses. To learn more about bus accident litigation, how personal injury cases are handled, and how to go about filing an insurance claim, contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. at (631) 600-0000. We handle cases on Long Island, NY, and the five boroughs of NYC, and a Patchogue bus accident lawyer in our office can guide you through the process.
Types and Causes of Bus Accidents
There are many ways a bus can cause or be involved in an accident. The same factors that lead to a motor vehicle accident can lead to a bus accident. Based on how a bus crash occurs, different parties may share liability and blame for any resultant injuries and/or damages.
Common types and causes of bus accidents include:
- Frontal crashes
- Rear-end collisions
- Distracted driver accidents
- Speeding or reckless driving accidents
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Driving in poor conditions
- Driving on narrow or poorly maintained roads
- Driving a poorly maintained vehicle
- Ignoring traffic control signs or devices
If you were involved in a bus accident that was caused by or involved any of the factors above, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. at (631) 600-0000 to discuss your case. Our Patchogue bus accident lawyer can walk you through everything you need to know, from relevant driving laws and insurance regulations to the statutes of limitations that apply to personal injury cases as well as the types of evidence needed to build a case.
Liability for Bus Crashes Can Be Complex
As is clear from the list in the previous section, there are many ways a bus accident can occur, and different parties may be responsible for any given crash. For example, if the owner or operator of a bus fleet hires a driver who does not have the requisite skills, training, or experience to operate a bus and the driver causes an accident, the driver and the bus fleet operator may both be to blame. Victims may be able to sue the driver, fleet operator, or owner of the bus in question for damages.
Similarly, if a bus accident was caused by poor servicing, a service or maintenance team tasked with ensuring a bus was road-worthy may be responsible if a bus breakdown on the road causes an accident. A road repair or maintenance team, a government or municipal office responsible for road repairs may be responsible for accidents caused by a lack of or faulty repairs on roadways that fall within their jurisdiction.
In cases such as driving under the influence, driving recklessly, speeding, driving while distracted or drowsy, all of which involve some form of driver negligence, it is usually the bus driver who is held responsible for the damages caused by a bus crash.
Mandatory Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage in New York
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 1,500 buses were involved in accidents in New York in 2019. Vehicle accidents are the second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and roughly 35,000 people lose their lives every year in motor vehicle accidents. These accidents cost society tens of billions of dollars every year in lost productivity, work-days, medical treatment expenses, insurance administration, and legal overheads.
Large trucks and buses are heavily regulated, and they also tend to be heavily insured. New York is a no-fault state. As per the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), all drivers are expected to carry a minimum of:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person.
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for two or more people.
- $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
- The same minimums above for uninsured or underinsured driver coverage.
In addition to the different types of coverage listed above, you may wish to purchase other forms of coverage such as collision or comprehensive coverage. In some cases, your personal health insurance policy may kick in to cover your injuries if your treatment costs or accident-related losses go beyond your vehicle insurance policy limits. You can also opt to purchase higher limits of coverage than the required minimums above.
After an accident, it can be difficult to determine which policy should be used first and what kinds of coverage you may be entitled to from a given policy. Some policies may cover only certain types of damages or injuries sustained in specific ways. Others may have filing or evidentiary requirements that you may find difficult to fulfill after an accident, either because of your injuries or your unfamiliarity with personal injury law and insurance requirements.
This is where a bus accident attorney may be able to help. An attorney can help you identify which of your damages are covered, which policies can be used to file a claim, and how to go about collecting the evidence needed to build a case.
Contact the Office of a Bus Accident Attorney in Patchogue for Help Today
If you would like to know your legal options regarding a bus accident, our Patchogue bus accident lawyer is just a call away. Contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today at (631) 600-0000. We can help you understand the rules and laws that apply to your case, help quantify your losses and gather evidence to support your claim for damages. Statutes of limitations apply to bus accident injuries and damages so do not delay in contacting our office.