Car accidents in Westchester are unfortunately common and can be serious. When these accidents involve buses, the chances of serious injury only increase. Whether you were another driver, cyclist, pedestrian, or a passenger on the bus, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries through a lawsuit.
Bus drivers who are inexperienced, sleep-deprived, or drunk while driving may be at fault for causing an accident that results in injuries. When a bus accident happens, you should call 911, take pictures of the scene, get insurance information, speak to potential eyewitnesses, and get medical treatment immediately after your accident. You should also call an attorney as soon as possible, since you likely have three years or less to file your potential lawsuit.
At The Martello Law Firm, we firmly believe that all bus accident injury victims deserve to know about their legal right to pursue recovery. Our Westchester bus accident lawyers can help you start that process today. To hear more about our services or to schedule an appointment for an evaluation of our case, call us today at (646) 396-0236.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Westchester, NY
Driving a bus is a complicated task that requires extensive training and focus. When a bus driver behaves recklessly or negligently behind the wheel, it can create serious hazards for other drivers, as well as passengers on the bus itself. Below are some of the most common instances that can create liability in a bus accident, both for driver and employer.
Lack of Experience or Training
To operate the vehicle safely, a bus driver must not only be familiar with the vehicle itself but also the area in which they are operating. If a driver is placed behind the wheel before they are fully prepared, their inexperience has the potential to cause accidents that can lead to grisly injury. The company that owns or operates the bus is responsible for implementing reasonably sufficient training protocols and conducting periodic tests to maintain the level of skill in their drivers.
Bus drivers may take on extra shifts to cover for other drivers or to pick up overtime. Management is responsible for taking care that all of their drivers have time to rest before they get put on the clock. Lack of sleep can influence reaction time and motor skills, two critical factors for driving any type of vehicle.
Driving Under the Influence
Drunk driving is a dangerous epidemic throughout the country. If a bus driver is inebriated while on the job, they have the potential to cause serious accidents, putting the health of other drivers and bus passengers in jeopardy. If the bus driver’s employer fails to screen their drivers for a history of drunk driving on their record, and a repeat offender causes the accident, the employer may also be liable for damages from a victim’s injuries.
Auto Defects and Malfunctions
Buses feature a number of moving parts and require consistent safety checks and maintenance protocols. The owner of the bus or the maintenance company that they contract with may fail to meet their responsibilities towards implementing these procedures. Further, the bus manufacturer (or a manufacturer of a specific part of the bus) may produce defective products that can cause safety features on the bus to malfunction. If a bus contained defects that caused your injuries, speak to a Westchester bus accident attorney about who you might be able to name in your lawsuit.
Steps to Take in a Bus Accident in Westchester, NY
What you do in the immediate aftermath of your accident can have a substantial impact on your potential recovery in a lawsuit. Still, your first priority should be to make sure that you are out of any immediate danger. This may mean leaving the immediate area of the accident. If you were in another vehicle that is still functioning, try to pull it off to the side of the road. The bus will likely have flares on board that you can put out to indicate to other drivers that there is a situation. These can be particularly helpful at night or in low visibility conditions.
Once you are safe, you should call 911. Tell the dispatcher that you have been in an accident so that they can send a police unit to come to the scene and write up a police report. You should also inform them of any serious injuries that require paramedic attention.
You should look to start gathering evidence at the scene of the accident. You should start by getting contact and insurance information from the bus driver and any other driver who might have been involved in the accident. This also means taking pictures and video of the damage to the vehicles or property in the area as well as the scene of the accident. You should also do your best to speak with any other witnesses to the accident who can attest to what happened. These eyewitnesses can be difficult to track down once they leave the scene, so you should get contact information from as many as possible, even if you do not ultimately need it.
Once the situation at the scene is resolved, seek medical attention immediately. You may have been injured and not even realize it at the time. Putting off your medical care may indicate that you did not consider the accident serious and can open the door for a defendant to argue that you got your injuries in some other way after the accident.
Statute of Limitations for Bus Accident Lawsuits in Westchester, NY
By New York law, you only have three years from the date of the accident to properly file your bus accident injury lawsuit in court. If the defendant in your case is a government entity, such as the MTA, you may face additional notice requirements that shorten your deadline even further. We strongly urge you to speak with a Westchester bus accident attorney as soon as possible to begin the process of filing your case.
Need Help with Your Westchester Bus Accident Lawsuit? Our Bus Accident Lawyers Can Help
Dealing with bus accident injuries can be serious. You deserve serious legal help in your recovery efforts as well. To speak to the experienced Westchester bus accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm, call (646) 396-0236 today.