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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

How Is Liability Determined for a Bus Accident in New York City?

No one ever expects a car accident to occur, let alone one involving a bus. However, school bus accidents do happen in New York City and usually result in severe injuries.


A bus accident can have terrifying consequences for those directly and indirectly involved, but claimants can legally get relief.


Personal injury laws may not be able to give back what the victims lost in bus accidents exactly, but the policies can financially help them deal with costly medical expenses. Contact a personal injury attorney for more information.


However, this isn't possible until the injured parties can accurately prove who is at fault in a bus accident. Liability can be either full or partial in a school bus accident, so it's important first to determine who is to blame for the disaster.


In this case, a New York bus accident lawyer can help victims seek legal representation in the aftermath of a serious bus accident.


The Most Common Causes of New York Bus Accidents

The Most Common Causes of New York Bus Accidents


The New York bus system is one of the largest and busiest in the United States. With millions of people commuting to and from work, school, and other places each day, it is no wonder that bus accidents happen.

While the vast majority of bus accidents are minor, the ones that do happen can often result in serious injuries and sometimes even death.

  • Distracted Driving

This is one of the most common causes of bus accidents in New York, including texting while operating vehicles on busy streets.


School bus drivers may not pay attention to the road because they are too busy trying to reply to their latest text. Many New York laws prohibit texting while driving, and bus drivers who continue doing so while operating a school bus can face serious penalties.

  • Bad Weather Conditions

Poor road visibility is another leading cause of New York bus accidents, especially those involving school transportation.


This may result from dark or foggy conditions, road construction, a lack of signage, or slow reaction time by other vehicles. It is important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings and drive carefully when children are present.

  • Speeding on Busy Roads

Drivers who travel too fast may not have enough time to stop or evade danger on the roads. Speeding can be an issue for school bus drivers and other vehicles on New York streets.

  • Reckless Driving

Bus drivers who try to pass a stopped school bus can put children at risk of serious injury since they may step right out into the path of an oncoming vehicle. On the other hand, automobilists weaving in and out of traffic can often cause fatal bus accidents.


Similarly, inexperienced school bus drivers can also be a major cause of bus accidents in New York as they may not have the necessary knowledge and experience to handle the vehicle safely.


The bus company might also be liable when it comes to the injuries caused by inexperienced drivers.


How Safe Are School Buses?


School buses are some of the safest motor vehicles on the road; however, accidents can and do occur. In some cases, they can lead to devastating injuries for passengers.


However, unlike other passenger vehicles, accidents involving school transportation vehicles did see a 50% decline in 2020. Although this statistic might have been due to the Covid-19 virus, it's still safe to say that school vehicles are much safer than private and public buses.


Determining Which Bus Driver Is At-fault in an Accident


Unlike regular cars and vehicles, it's hard to determine who is at fault in a bus accident. Liability is not too straightforward when it includes large public transportation in the equation.


When it comes to private cars, the fault may lie with one driver or both at the same time. However, bus accident liability generally accounts for the drivers themselves and other external factors.


A New York bus accident could be because of negligent or distracted driving or because a cyclist suddenly decided to dash in front of the bus. On the other hand, it could also be due to a major bus component malfunction, which ultimately pins the bus company liable for the bus accident.


Bus companies can be liable for negligence if they fail to maintain vehicles properly, implement safe driving practices, provide appropriate training for drivers, or properly inspect and service buses.


All of these factors can contribute to hazardous conditions that would lead to a school bus accident. In any case, it's always better for plaintiffs and defendants to rely on legal representation in the aftermath of a New York bus accident. Contact the Law Office of Carl Maltese for questions such as, "Can I file a claim in New York if I don’t have a police report for my accident?"


Why Do School Bus Accidents Happen?


School bus accidents are not common, but unfortunately, they do happen. When a bus accident happens, the driver's negligence or the bus company's fault may be the cause.


It is important to know who is liable when a bus accident occurs and what compensation may be available to the victims.


In New York, as in other states, bus drivers are liable if their negligence or recklessness caused or contributed to a bus accident. Depending on the circumstances, the bus company may be directly liable.

Bus accident liability can come in the form of payouts from the company for any bus accident injuries or death resulting from the incident.


It can also manifest itself in lawsuits, where the accident victims may be able to recover damages for the medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering that resulted from the incident.


Careless bus drivers cause most school bus accidents. This is usually because they are distracted or lack the necessary training or education on driving large vehicles. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best way to ensure a fair settlement.


An experienced New York bus accident lawyer can build a strong case, negotiate with the bus company's insurance company, and assist with filing the necessary paperwork.


New York Bus Accident Liability: Who Can Be Sued?


When a bus accident happens, the bus drivers and bus companies are almost always liable, as they are responsible for the safety of their passengers and other automobilists and pedestrians on the road.

The circumstances of the accident will determine the exact liability, with some bus drivers and bus companies held more responsible than others.

  • School Bus Driver Negligence

In general, school bus drivers have a higher standard of care than operators of other vehicles due to the fact they transport young and vulnerable passengers in large numbers. As a result, bus drivers also have to exercise extra caution when driving vehicles. Any negligence or reckless behavior on the part of a bus driver can lead to civil liability.

  • Inadequate Training

Bus companies can also be liable in certain cases, particularly if there is evidence of negligence in the hiring process, licensing of the bus drivers, maintenance of the vehicles, or other related activities.

It is possible for a bus company to be jointly liable for bus accident cases in New York City if an accident occurred due to faulty maintenance or inadequate driver training.

  • External Factors

On the other hand, New York bus accidents can also happen due to external factors on the road. These could involve terrible weather conditions, bad roads, location difficulties, jaywalking pedestrians, etc.


It's never always the bus drivers' or private bus companies' fault, as other vehicles can also engage in head-on collisions first. In this situation, the cause could be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or distracted driving, to name a few.


The Different Types of Buses in New York City


Buses are the most common type of public transportation in New York City, so it pays to know what the different types available are. As the number of residents and tourists increases in the city, so does the number of people operating:

  • City buses

  • Tour buses

  • Charter buses

  • Sightseeing buses

  • Airport shuttles

  • Commuter-fixed route services

  • Special operations

  • School buses

There are other types of buses in New York too, but these are the most common carriers on the streets.


What Are the Most Common Bus Accident Injuries?

What Are the Most Common Bus Accident Injuries?


Whether someone is traveling in a city bus, tour bus, or charter bus - the serious injuries sustained will be the same for all. The most common injuries include:

  • Whiplash

  • Traumatic brain injuries

  • Burns

  • Head injuries

  • Broken bones

  • Permanent scarring

Filing for a personal injury lawsuit can help victims seek fair compensation for medical treatment and lost wages from the party responsible for the crash.


Final Words


Bus companies and their insurance companies will try their best to deny liability of all sorts. It can also be difficult to determine liability in fatal crashes in the first place.


This is why it's always a good idea to hire a legal team if victims want to fight for maximum compensation from those legally at fault.


It's always a good idea to partner with a renowned law firm that provides free consultation sessions too. The legal system might be confusing, and taking legal action can also be stressful for many. However, having a qualified attorney can help victims rightfully claim what they deserve.

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