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Who Is Responsible for Injuries to a Passenger While on a New York City, Nassau County, or Suffolk County Bus?

Legal responsibility for the injuries suffered by a passenger in a New York City or Nassau County or Suffolk County bus accident requires careful analysis of what may be a complex set of factors.  Frequently multiple parties may have legal responsibility.  Beyond “actors”, such as vehicle operators, other parties may have “vicarious” liability, due to their legal relationship to the ownership of the bus, or due to other factors that tie them to the happening of the accident.  

When you enter a bus, you trust your life to the bus driver, the bus company, and the agencies that operate the bus to ensure a safe journey. When bus accidents happen, lives can be changed forever. Many of these accidents could have been avoided. The failure to take the necessary steps to avoid an accident is what lies at the heart of bus accident lawsuits – negligence.

What is negligence? Negligence law, or tort law, has to do with creating or permitting a risk of harm that could have been avoided. For every accident that happens in the United States, countless others are prevented or avoided by careful drivers who are aware of their surroundings and the rules of the road. If you’re injured in a motor vehicle crash as a passenger on a bus, how do you obtain justice? The first step is to get whatever emergency treatment you need as soon as possible.

The second step is to call the attorneys at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. to develop a plan so that you are compensated for all the harm you have suffered, as well as harm you may continue to suffer in the future by holding all at-fault parties legally responsible.

Who is Responsible?

At first glance, many people think the bus driver alone is responsible. While the bus driver is certainly a party of interest, bus accident lawsuits tend to be much more complex. Many buses in New York City are operated by governmental agencies that are responsible for the security, well-being, and safe transport of bus passengers. Examples of New York government agencies, known as “public benefit corporations,” responsible for public transportation include:

–          MTA Long Island Rail Road

–          MTA Metro-North Railroad

–          MTA Staten Island Railway

–          MTA Capital Construction

–          MTA Regional Bus Operations

–          MTA Bus Company

–          MTA Bridges and Tunnels

–          MTA New York City Transit

Buses in Nassau County operate as Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) Bus under a public-private partnership between Nassau County and Veolia Transportation. (Nassau County Transportation)

[Suffolk County Transit (SCT)] is a local public bus system consisting of 42 bus routes extending from the Nassau/ Suffolk County line on the west to Montauk Point and Orient Point on the east. The bus system is County owned, planned and managed. It is operated by privately owned companies under contract with the County. (Suffolk County Transportation)

Again, these lawsuits are highly fact specific. Depending on the facts, there may be a number of other parties that must be sued. Consider the possibility of involvement of these other potential defendants:

  • The repair shop that was hired to perform maintenance or repairs
  • Other passengers causing distractions by fighting or arguing
  • The City of New York or its contractors hired by the City to repair potholes
  • The driver(s) and owner(s) of other vehicles involved in the accident
  • The employer of other drivers involved if that other driver was in the course of employment
  • An establishment that improperly served alcohol to a driver if that alcohol-intake was a factor in causing the accident.
  • The private entities that, in conjunction with government agencies, operate certain bus lines.
  • Private entities that operate buses independent of any government / municipal involvement, such as tour buses, coach buses (long distance buses for hire) and certain school buses.

Bus accidents can happen for any number of reasons, including driver inattention, intoxicated driving, poor bus management, dangerous roadways, insufficient training, or even hazardous weather conditions. Your injury may not even be the result of a typical motor vehicle collision. Buses have been found liable in a number of other situations, like discharging passengers at an unsafe location, or illegally parking the bus in a manner that made it so difficult for other travelers to operate their vehicles that accidents resulted. Your lawsuit will depend on where the accident took place, which agency was operating the bus at the time of your crash, and what other municipalities were involved.

For instance, an accident on a bus in Manhattan may involve a lawsuit against the driver, the City of New York, the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, the repair shop that negligently repaired the brakes, a passenger that was belligerently causing a distraction before the crash, and the New York City Transit Authority. Once you have a good faith reason to believe that someone did something wrong to cause your injury, you may file a lawsuit. Then, it’s up to the defendants to defend the allegations of negligence brought against them. 

Contact Friedman & Simon to Discuss Your Bus Accident

Don’t make assumptions about how to proceed in with a legal claim in a bus accident case.  Even payment of medical bills for the treatment of injuries sustained in a bus accident, under New York’s No-Fault Laws, is often processed differently for bus accident cases than for other motor vehicle accident cases.

Friedman & Simon’s attorneys, paralegals, and investigators, are available around the clock to help you understand, protect and assert your rights. They place the needs of their clients first by helping them to understand how to pay for medical treatment and recover their wages. They answer the tough questions and will be there when you need them. There is never a legal fee unless and until there is a money recovery for you. 

Call now for a no-obligation case review and a free consultation with an experienced, dedicated and caring attorney: 516-932-0400.

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