Although traveling by bus is considered to be safe, bus accidents on Long Island can result in serious injuries to passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. Because buses are not required to be equipped with seatbelts, passengers are at a higher risk of injury if an accident occurs. Similarly, bus accidents involving smaller vehicles or pedestrians can have catastrophic consequences. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, working with the right personal injury attorney is essential.
The Law Offices of Robert Purzak routinely handles bus accident cases in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Knowing that school children, commuters and tourists rely on buses to reach their destinations safely, we are committed to holding the operators of school buses, public buses and charter buses accountable. Our office is knowledgeable in the local, state, and federal rules governing these accidents and have a proven track record of pursuing successful bus accident claims.
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Common Causes of a Bus Accident
A variety of factors contribute to bus accidents, including:
- Distracted driving — Bus drivers can be easily be distracted by talking to passengers or using smartphones or GPS navigation devices. While the use of handheld devices for talking or texting in illegal in New York, distracted driving is still a leading cause of traffic collisions.
- Speeding — Because bus drivers must meet strict schedules and may be penalized for falling behind their timetable, drivers are prone to speed through traffic.
- Driver fatigue — Bus drivers typically work long shifts, navigate buses through heavy traffic and often cover long distances. Lacking sufficient rest, bus drivers can become fatigued, which can have an impact on their ability to maneuver the bus or respond to traffic and road hazards.
- Drugs and Alcohol — Drivers who operate a bus while under the influence of drugs or alcohol pose a serious risk to passengers, pedestrians and other motorists.
- Mechanical Defects/Poor Maintenance — Bus companies and municipalities that operate bus systems have a responsibility to properly maintain their vehicles and can, therefore, be held liable for accidents caused by faulty braking systems, lights, and other mechanical parts.
Bus Accident Injuries
Given the size and weight of these vehicles, buses are prone to roll over in a collision, which can result in a wide range of injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Back, neck and head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Wrongful Death
Who is liable in a Bus Accident on Long Island?
There are a number of parties who may be legally responsible for causing a bus accident, including:
- Bus Drivers — Drivers who violate traffic laws or who drive while fatigued, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can be held liable for accidents that result in personal injuries
- Bus Companies/Public Operators — Bus companies including Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE), public operators such as Suffolk County Transit (SCT), as well as charter and school bus operators, have a legal obligation to maintain their vehicles, conduct routine inspections, hire qualified drivers and comply with state and federal regulations. Bus owners and operators can be held liable for accidents caused by improper maintenance or bus driver negligence.
- Other Motorists — It may be possible to file a third-party claim against a motorist who causes an accident by swerving or driving recklessly, causing a bus driver to lose control.
Bus Accident Insurance Claims
Under the complicated rules of New York’s no-fault insurance system, if you have been injured while a passenger in a bus accident and you or someone in your household owns an automobile, you must file a claim with that insurance company to obtain coverage for first-party benefits such as lost wages, medical bills, and other healthcare expenses.
If no one in the household has no-fault coverage because there is no vehicle, an injury claim can then be filed with the bus operator’s insurance. Finally, if you sustain a serious injury, as that term is defined under the no-fault law, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit to recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Given the complicated state insurance laws governing bus accidents in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the best way to protect your rights is to work with an experienced bus accident attorney.
Contact Our Premier Long Island Bus Accident Attorney
The Law Offices of Robert Purzak has been handling bus accident cases for over 35 years. We have a proven track record of successfully pursuing bus accident claims against charter bus companies, school bus operators and government agencies. Knowing that being injured in a bus accident is a traumatic experience, we will offer you aggressive legal representation and superior personal service. By placing your trust in us, you will have peace of mind knowing that we will never stop fighting for you. Please contact our office as soon possible to discuss your case. The consultation is free and you will not pay any legal fees to us until we win. We help the injured throughout Long Island, including the towns of Brentwood, Coram, Deer Park, Hempstead, Islip, Roosevelt, and Wyandanch.