It is VERY important to call us as soon as possible after the accident. We will retain an accident reconstruction expert who will want to gather information while it is still fresh. They will go to the scene, take photographs and measurements. They will inspect the vehicles for damage. If the bus is equipped with a black box, they will attempt to extract the pre-accident information. Most larger bus companies use on-board computers and satellite communication systems that generate data that may be invaluable to the victim's case. In Fact, some buses are equiped with vidoe cameras that begin recording when abrubt measures are taken by the driver. Skid marks on roadways fade quickly. Skid marks provide a variety of information to the accident recon specialist like speed, time, distance, yaw, avoidance maneuvers and reaction time. The bus companies dispatch teams of investigators to every accident scene. They will try to speak with their drivers BEFORE the police speak to them. The bus companies will do all that they can to shield themselves from responsibility. They will also be in possession of evidence that is helpful to their case. When the case goes to court they will NOT exchange information that is harmful to their case claiming that their investigative results were obtained in contemplation of litigation and therefore the information is not discoverable. There have also been situations where the bus companies and/or their insurance companies have made promises of paying money to the accident victim. They attempt to lull the accident victim and their families into a false sense of security. The truth is that their offers are woefully inadequate and sometimes cause families to delay retention of a lawyer. This results in spoliation of evidence and makes proving the case against the trucking company much more difficult.
Our attorneys represented major trucking companies as well as the City of New York before becoming plaintiff's lawyers. They know about truck company record keeping procedures, training practices, maintenance protocols and investigative measures. They know how insurance carriers and municipalities investigate, work up, negotiate and defend lawsuits. After approximately a decade of defense representation the attorneys began representing people who suffered serious injuries. They have been representing injured parties for more than 10 years.
A Sampling of Cases We Have Handled
A woman, while crossing the street, was hit by a bus. The driver never saw the woman. She suffered a severe degloving injury when the bus ran over her foot. The jury awarded $16 Million. The verdict was the 7th highest verdict in New York State and the highest verdict in Queens County in 2005.
A 6 year old girl was riding her brand new bicycle in a suburban neighborhood. There were no sidewalks. Her mother went inside the house to get her camera. The young girl drove to the neighbor's house, came down the driveway and entered the street. A bus driver was distracted by children who were misbehaving on the bus. The bus hit the little girl. There was an issue regarding the brakes on the bus because only one rear tire left a skid mark. The reasonableness of the child's operation of the bicycle was measured against how other 6 years would act. Luckily she was wearing her helmet, the helmet split in half, it saved her life.
A husband and wife were passengers on a city bus. The bus made a wide left turn at an intersection. The bus struck a car headed in the opposite direction. The bus stopped suddenly due to the impact. The husband and wife suffered multiple injuries necessitating several surgical procedures.
A young boy was on a school bus. The children were not in their seats and the driver continued to drive. The young boy came in contact with the rear safety exit and the door opened while the bus was moving. He fell out of the rear of the bus onto the roadway.
A bus lost control, due to driver inattention and tipped over onto it's side. As a passenger suffered multiple injuries.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents happen because of many factors. The weight and size of a bus makes it more difficult to operate in terms of: the ability to see other vehicles, maneuverability, accident avoidance, stopping distance (due to the weight of the vehicle), and changing lanes. These difficulties are compounded by driver fatigue, inadequate training or experience, driver distraction (cell phones, CB radios, GPS, etc.), schedule deadlines and the fact that they are paid by the mile (the faster they go, the more miles they cover). There may be situations where a bus is overloaded, the brakes were not properly maintained, safety equipment was not present, or the driver did not alter his/her driving based upon foul weather conditions.
Bus Accident Statistics
According to one study there were 325 buses were that involved in fatal accidents between 1999 and 2002. As a result of those accidents, 359 people died. Other vehicle drivers made up 58% of the fatalities and non-motorists (pedestrian and bicyclists) made up 27%. School buses accounted for 39% of the fatalities and municipal buses were responsible for 37%. California, New York and Florida had the highest number of bus accidents.
Our firm understands that your immediate goals after going through such a traumatic experience are to get the best medical care possible, make sure that your medical bills are covered, and make sure that you do not suffer financially through any lost wages. Our experienced attorneys will discuss your situation and go over the options available to you, as well as work with insurance companies and other parties involved in your case to make sure all your needs are handled quickly and appropriately.
Our firm represents clients located in Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, New York State and many other states (New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, and California, and we will handle a case in any state provided we can do so in full compliance with court rules regarding multijurisdictional practice, association of local counsel and/or admission pro hac viche) who have suffered personal injuries as the result of catastrophic bus accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, CONTACT US ONLINE OR CALL US AT (516) 742-8897= (516) PIATTYS in Long Island, (212) 267-9377= (212) ANSWERS In Manhattan TO SET UP A FREE CONSULTATION. If you can't come to us, we will come to you in the hospital or we will visit you in our mobile office.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
DOT FMCSA rules
U.S. Dept. of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Center for Truck and Bus Statistics
American Bus Association
School Bus Accident Info
NTSB bus accident stats