The public transportation system in New York is like a complex web of trains, street cars, and buses. If you were a passenger in a bus when it crashed in New York, you might be able to sue for damages.
After a bus accident where you were a passenger, you might have several legal options for compensation, including filing a lawsuit. Under New York’s no-fault insurance system, injured passengers often need to file claims with the bus driver’s or bus company’s insurance as a first course of action. If you experience serious injuries, you can sue the driver and bus company. If the bus was part of the city’s public transit system, you might also have a claim against the local government. Before beginning your lawsuit, an attorney can help you assess your damages, find evidence, prepare your complaint, and serve notice to the defendants.
Reach out to our Westchester bus accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm, PLLC by calling (914) 685-6950, and ask to schedule a free case evaluation to get started.
Your Legal Options After a Bus Accident in New York Where You Were a Passenger
Auto collisions, including those involving buses, are legally complex situations in New York. The state adheres to a no-fault insurance system, making filing a lawsuit against negligent drivers more challenging than in other states. After submitting an insurance claim, and depending on your injuries, you can sue, even if you were a passenger and not another driver.
In New York, drivers are legally required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This is also called no-fault insurance, and injured drivers file claims with their own PIP insurance instead of with the other driver’s insurance company.
A big part of the no-fault insurance system is that drivers are covered by their insurance policies without needing to prove who caused the crash. This means injured drivers can receive financial compensation from insurance companies even if they are fully or partially responsible for the accident.
In a bus accident where you were a passenger, some different rules apply. Instead of your own insurance, you may be covered by the bus driver’s no-fault insurance. As such, you can submit a claim with the bus driver’s insurance company. This is often very helpful, as bus drivers and bus companies tend to have much more coverage than individuals.
You can sue the bus driver and their employer if you meet certain legal requirements. Under I.S.C. Law § 5104(a), a car accident victim can sue only if they experienced a “serious injury.”
A serious injury is legally defined under I.S.C. Law § 5102(d). To meet this threshold, you must have experienced significant scarring or disfigurement, dismemberment, death, permanent loss or limitation of a body part, organ, or system, or a non-permanent injury that prevents you from doing ordinary daily tasks for no less than 90 days out of the 180 days after the accident.
Since bus accidents are often very severe, and passengers are likely to suffer extreme injuries, there is a good chance you will meet the legal requirements mentioned above. Our New Rochelle personal injury attorneys might need your medical records to prove that your injuries meet the threshold.
What You Need to Sue for a New York Bus Accident Where You Were a Passenger
We need to assess your damages and inform the court how much compensation we seek. Although damages are not awarded until the end of the case, they are figured out – at least mostly – before the lawsuit even begins. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your damages as soon as possible because the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to keep track of your losses and expenses.
You also need evidence. You do not need all possible or enough evidence to prove your claims. However, you need to have enough evidence before you file the case to show a court that your claims are valid and not baseless. The evidence we present in your initial complaint may vary based on what we can gather.
When you file your lawsuit, you are legally required to serve notice to the defendants. The notice informs the defendant that they are being sued and allows them to submit an answer to the allegations. If notice is not properly served, your entire case might be in jeopardy.
People That Injured Passengers Can Sue for Bus Accidents in New York
A bus accident involves a lot of people, not just the driver and some passengers. Our team has handled these cases before and will help you determine who should be liable for your injuries.
The primary defendant in many bus accident cases is the bus driver. Often, the bus driver’s negligence is the direct and proximate cause of the crash, and they should be held accountable for their actions. The driver might have been distracted by their phone, speeding, or driving recklessly when they caused the accident. We can use details about how the crash happened to hold the bus driver liable.
Other drivers on the road might have contributed to the crash. For example, another driver might have cut the bus driver off while the bus driver was dangerously speeding. In that case, the bus driver and the other driver might share liability, and both can be sued for your injuries. An attorney can help you identify these drivers and determine if they should be named in your lawsuit.
The Bus Company
The bus company might be vicariously liable for your injuries according to the legal doctrine known as respondeat superior. Under this doctrine, an employer is vicariously liable for injuries caused by an employee if the employee committed negligence in the course of their duties. Many bus accidents fit this description, and you might hold the bus companies liable.
If the bus was a part of the public transportation system in New York, you can sue the government instead of a private bus company. Suing a government entity usually involves a much shorter deadline to file your case. Under G.M.U. Law § 50-E(1)(a), you have only 90 days, or about 3 months, to submit a notice of your claim to the appropriate government authority. If this is not done, your risk losing your ability to hold the government accountable.
Call Our New York Bus Accident Attorneys
To schedule a free case review, call our Yonkers bus accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950.