How To Make a Claim For a Bus Accident in New York
Residents of New York City may find it prohibitively expensive to own a car. As a result, millions of New Yorkers must rely on more cost-effective modes of transportation. Buses are widely used by residents of New York City. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) operates public buses, while private bus companies operate buses as well. According to the New York Police Department, approximately 1,200 bus accidents occur in New York each year.
Because buses do not have seatbelts, many people can be traveling on a bus, and some people may be standing during the trip, it is relatively easy to be injured in a bus accident. If you were injured in a bus accident in New York, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. There are some critical steps you must take in order to be reimbursed for your damages. Hiring a bus accident attorney should be one of your first priorities following an accident.
What You Should Do Right After a Bus Accident
Your quest for compensation begins immediately following the accident. Follow the steps below to increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Get Medical Attention
It does not matter if you feel healthy after an accident. The first thing you should do after an accident is to visit the doctor. Some injuries are not immediately apparent after the accident. However, a doctor may be able to detect them before they worsen and become more difficult to treat. Make sure to get copies of your medical reports, medical test results and medical bills. All the documentation related to your medical expenses will support your claim.
Any type of evidence that can back up your claim should be gathered. Taking photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries is critical. It is not always easy to obtain surveillance camera footage or videos from other sources that recorded the accident, but it can be extremely beneficial.
Get a Copy of the Police Accident Report
Make sure to obtain a copy of the accident report from the police department. Staying at the accident site can be advantageous because it allows you to ensure that your name appears on the list of bus passengers. A police report will be an important part of your claim.
Talk to an Experienced Bus Accident Attorney
Seeking legal counsel from a professional will assist you in understanding your options for seeking compensation and acting accordingly. An experienced bus accident attorney will assist you in constructing a solid case, determining the value of your case, negotiating with the insurance company, and ensuring that all deadlines are met. Having a lawyer on your side increases your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Determining Liability in a Bus Accident
A bus accident can be caused by different factors and depending on the specific circumstances of each accident, the appropriate course of action can be entirely different. These are some of the most common parties that can be held liable in a bus accident:
- Bus driver
- Bus company that operates the bus
- The company that manufactured the bus or a defective part
- The company that provides maintenance to the buses
Remember that New York is a no-fault state. That means that if you have your own no-fault coverage or are covered by the policies of relatives, you must file a claim with your own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. However, if you were seriously injured or the cost of your medical expenses exceeded the policy limits or you are simply not insured, you have the right to sue the responsible party.
To recover compensation from the responsible party, you must show that their actions (or lack of the latter) caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. In addition, New York is a comparative negligence state. As a result, you may bear some responsibility for the accident. Your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your level of responsibility for the accident.
Difference Between Filing a Lawsuit Against Private vs. Public Entities
Buses can be operated by private companies or by public entities. In New York, some private bus companies offer transportation services with charter buses; others may have their own buses that can be used to transport their own employees, among others. There are also public buses that are operated by the MTA and school buses that are operated by school districts. Filing a lawsuit against a public entity may be more complicated than suing a private company.
For example, the MTA does not work with insurance companies, all their units are insured by themselves and every claim will be handled by themselves. While it is not impossible to file a lawsuit against a public entity and receive compensation, the process will be harder. If you wish to pursue compensation from a public institution, contact a bus accident attorney to know exactly what you need to do.
Bus Accident Claims Statute of Limitations
In New York you have 3 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Nevertheless, if the responsible party is a government entity, you are required to file a “Notice of Claim”. This is a legal document that must be served prior to filing a lawsuit for damages against a public institution to alert them of the incident and give them the chance to investigate the case. If you fail to serve this document, you will not be able to pursue compensation.
What Kind of Damages Can You Recover in a Bus Accident Case?
If you are using your no-fault benefits to get compensation for your damages, you can only recover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses that you incurred as a result of your injuries (to a maximum of $25 per day for one year)
No-fault benefits do not compensate for pain and suffering.
If you are filing a lawsuit, the court may award compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
Greenberg & Stein Bus Accident Attorneys
If you have recently been the victim of a bus accident, you should pursue compensation, no matter who is the responsible party. We understand that you may feel overwhelmed and you probably do not know where to start. That is why, at Greenberg & Stein P.C., we have a legal team ready to assist you. Our bus accident attorneys will guide you through every step of the process and help you with anything you need. Our bus accident lawyers will not rest until you get the compensation you deserve. Call us now at 212-681-2535 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.