Nassau County Bus Accident Lawyer

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A motion-blurred shot of a bus moving through a city at night.Buses are a part of everyday life for most folk on Long Island, with Nassau County being no exception. However, recent shifts in culture have seen bus ridership on the rise, with more than 19 million passengers in Long Beach alone in 2023.

Unfortunately, this increase in bus usage has also led to a rise in the risk of injury when taking a bus, a trend that should be a cause for concern for all residents of Nassau County. While bus accidents are relatively rare compared to other road disasters, with nearly nine million registered vehicles in New York State, the odds of a mishap are never zero.

If you’ve been in an accident involving a bus, it might be time to get the help of a Nassau County bus accident attorney from the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm.

At our Nassau County personal injury law firm, we excel in the intricacies of personal injury law and have a proven record of recovering damages for our clients, even in cases where no initial offer was made. Each year, we get tens of millions of dollars back for those who trust us with their claims.

That is what we offer you in your Nassau County bus accident case. Work with us today when you call (516) 689-1132.

Do I Need a Nassau County Bus Accident Attorney?

From a legal perspective, bus accidents tend to be more complicated than other road accidents. There are a few reasons for this, but most of them stem from the biggest reason, which is the sheer number of parties and individuals a bus accident can involve.

A typical car accident usually has between one or two parties, each with their own personal injury protection (PIP) plans. A typical Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus can accommodate between 40 to 50 passengers, while Express buses can handle up to 60.

This means that, at most, a bus accident can have 60 individual parties (plus the driver and conductor) in the bus alone, plus whoever collided with the bus. Not everyone inside the bus might have PIP coverage, nor might everyone outside.

Normally, this means you have to seek compensation from the insurance plan of whoever is at fault for the accident, but how exactly do you know who that is?

Also, what if the bus is owned by the state? Roughly 80% of buses in the state are owned by the MTA, which means under the right circumstances, couldn’t they hide behind sovereign immunity and block you from receiving compensation?

They definitely have an interest in doing so, as any entity would feel at least some financial sting from paying out five- to six-digit sums to sixty accident victims and potentially more.

These and other complications are indicators you might need expert legal help from a Nassau County bus accident attorney. Having the right legal support on your side can give you some much-needed clarity in complex cases such as bus accidents, allowing you to understand your rights and find the perfect opportunities to seek compensation.

Potential Injuries in a Bus Accident

Bus accidents share the risk of many of the same injuries associated with car accidents, such as whiplash, broken bones, internal injuries, and more. While innovations in public transit and motor vehicle safety continuously improve the safety of passengers and other road users, the odds of harm never truly go away.

Furthermore, the larger size of buses compared to most private vehicles can sometimes mean that any injuries sustained in a bus accident can be more serious than if they had occurred in a collision between two small cars.

Let’s take a look at why the same injuries can differ in bus accidents.

  • Mass and Force: The mass of a bus means its inertia can cause whiplash at lower speeds than what is necessary to cause the same injury in a car. In the same vein of logic, a crush injury can be far worse if caught between a slow-moving bus and a stationary object than between that object and a car going at the same speed.
  • Size and Area: The larger size of a bus means a greater surface area with which to make contact. If, say, you were caught in front of a car and took a hit, you are likely to injure your lower body before the car crumples. If you were to take a hit from a bus, however, your entire body is potentially at risk. This wider area, while evenly distributing the force, will still be more than enough to deal significant damage to the human body from the total force applied to it.
  • Deformations: Both cars and buses have crumple zones, which, as the name suggests, crumple on impact in order to slow down their deceleration during a crash. This acts as a cushion, absorbing the brunt of the impact and preventing passengers from being thrown around. However, they do little to protect accident victims caught outside the bus and, indeed, may crumple around victims, pinning them to other vehicles or stationary objects.
  • Blind Spots: While buses do not have as many blind spots as trucks, they still have less visibility of other road users than the average automobile. Because drivers rely so much on sight to gather information on the world around them, they may not immediately realize when someone or something collides with their vehicle from a blind spot. This translates into potentially slower reactions and more serious damage.

This is not a full list of risk factors; there are many other factors that affect the gravity of injuries one can sustain in a bus accident. Fortunately, while these factors often mean greater medical costs, a Nassau County personal injury lawyer can also use them to argue for a higher-value claim.

Liability in a New York Bus Accident

Because New York is a no-fault state, people are expected to cover their own injuries before seeking compensation from other policies. PIP serves the advantage of removing the need to determine fault, speeding up the claims process, and delivering compensation to those who require it.

But, as we mentioned before, not every bus passenger or pedestrian has their own PIP coverage. These people have to turn to other avenues for compensation, typically the liability insurance of parties at fault for the accident.

Let’s go over each avenue.

Personal Injury Protection

New York State requires all motor vehicle owners to have a minimum of $50,000 in PIP insurance. This comes into play even when they are not behind the wheel of their vehicle, meaning as long as the policy is in place, they are eligible for compensation no matter who or what may cause them injury.

For most injury cases, this simplifies things. Less time can be spent on an investigation, and even if you were technically at fault for your own injuries, you would still be able to file a claim for the full damages covered.

An attorney, in this case, will only have to account for all your damages and tie them to the accident in order to maximize your claim. The insurer will probably still try to put up a fight and devalue the amount, but beyond that, this is usually straightforward.

Liability Insurance

If your PIP does not cover all your damages, which is more likely in a bus accident than in the average car accident due to reasons we have previously discussed, you will have to step outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the liability insurance policy of an at-fault party. In most cases, this will mean the driver of the bus or, in the case of a collision with another vehicle, the driver of said vehicle.

As suggested by the phrase, stepping out of the no-fault system means you will have to determine liability to make a claim. This does not usually concern passengers since they rarely affect the outcome of an accident (outside of rare instances, such as where a rider injured on the bus may have distracted the driver while they were driving), but it can make a world of difference for other drivers or pedestrians involved.

This is because, outside of the no-fault ruling, New York turns to a pure comparative negligence system when handling civil torts. Under this ruling, accident victims are eligible for compensation regardless of how much fault they have in causing the accident (as long as it is not 100%), but the amount they may claim is deducted by their degree of liability.

  • Liability of the Bus Driver: If the bus driver is liable for damages, the cost will usually fall on the insurance policy of the company. This is because of the concept of employer liability, where the company is responsible for the actions of employees in the middle of performing their duties.
    • This means you can usually get compensation from private bus companies if the driver is found at fault.
    • Unfortunately, a majority of buses in New York are under the MTA, which has some degree of sovereign immunity. This doctrine prevents legal action from being taken against a government body without their consent. It is limited, however, in that you can still sue the MTA for negligence if it fails to observe its duty of care toward you, though there are still specific procedures to follow and conditions to meet.
  • Liability of Another Driver: If another driver is found liable for damages, you may file against their policy instead. This will typically go the same way as any regular claim.

Liability insurance requirements in New York are 25/50/10. That is:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 for all persons in a single accident.
  • Property damage: $10,000 per accident.

You can usually expect, therefore, at least $25,000 more in damages after your own PIP policy, assuming you have any, from at-fault owners of private vehicles. If the bus driver – and thus the bus company – is liable, you will likely have higher limits owing to the much greater minimum requirements for commercial drivers ($5,000,000 for vehicles with a capacity of more than 15 passengers as mandated by the federal government).

How Long do I Have to File a Bus Accident Claim in Nassau County?

In New York State, the statute of limitations for bodily injury and property damage alike is three years. That means that after three years from the date of a bus accident, any party that has not made a claim or taken legal action is no longer eligible to do so.

The statute of limitations is a ruling set to encourage swift legal action and discourage frivolous lawsuits from being filed years down the line. For the most part, it serves its purpose, affording people plenty of time to consider their options and file for compensation.

That said, three years can often go by quickly, especially when one considers potential delays to a claim, not to mention the possibility of a denial and having to start from scratch. When this happens, the statute can cause more harm when it is intended to do good.

Working with a Nassau County personal injury attorney from the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, however, assures that your case is filed promptly, meets all deadlines, and nets you a fair claim when you need it the most.

Choose the Right Nassau County Bus Accident Attorney for Your Case

Bus accidents are often difficult tragedies to navigate. Buses have all the disadvantages of trucks in truck accidents, as well as those of public transport companies like taxis and rideshares.

Different factors in these accidents often interact with one another, making the search for compensation a difficult and lengthy one through murky legal specifics.

The CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm aims to give the good people of Nassau County a little sense of clarity in all that complexity. Led by Attorney Ali Awad, we delve into the difficulties of bus accident claims so our clients can focus on the healing and recovery they need.

Our firm is one of the fastest growing in the nation, and we consistently recover tens of millions in damages for our clientele each year. We offer this same level of service to you when you call us for a free consultation.

Contact The CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm today at (516) 689-1132 and let us fight alongside you for the claim you deserve.

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