A bus accident can cause massive injuries to bus passengers and other drivers. Consequences could be physical, mental, and emotional, all of which could entitle you to compensation. Buses are an important mode of transportation in Hoboken. Whether you use the bus to commute to work, get to school, or begin a cross-country adventure, you expect to arrive at your destination safely. If you have been in a bus accident, an experienced Hoboken bus accident lawyer can help you understand your rights.
Types of Bus Accidents
Buses are designed to carry large numbers of passengers or heavy cargo from place to place. Because buses are much larger than most other vehicles, their size increases the chance of serious injuries when they are involved in accidents.
The Bureau of Transportation reports there were 1,006,469 registered buses operating in 2020, with over 320,000 million miles traveled by buses that year. There are a number of bus accident types, all of which could be catastrophic. These include:
- Bus-car crashes,
- Bus-motorcycle crashes,
- Bus-bus crashes,
- Bus-pedestrian accidents,
- Bus-commercial vehicle accidents,
- School crossing injuries,
- Injuries related to bus malfunctions, and
- Illegal passing crashes.
Any time a bus suddenly moves, it can cause people and cargo to shift rapidly, which can cause injury. Because buses are top-heavy, they have the propensity to fall to one side or flip over during high-speed maneuvers or on uneven roads.
Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus drivers are required to have a specific type of license to legally operate a bus. This also requires specialized training and may require continuing education. Bus accidents can occur for many reasons. Some of these include:
- Distracted driving,
- Driving while fatigued,
- Excessive speed,
- Driving too close to other vehicles,
- Mechanical failure,
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- Reckless or aggressive driving,
- Poor vehicle maintenance,
- Defective parts,
- Weather conditions, or
- Hazardous roads.
It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that they can drive attentively and watch for external factors that could pose a danger. Determining the cause of the accident will make a difference in your case. An experienced attorney for bus accidents in Hoboken, NJ will make this a priority.
Determining Liability for a Bus Accident in Hoboken
Before taking any sort of legal action, it is important to determine who was liable for the accident. This will guide your legal strategy and could impact the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive.
Common Carrier Law in New Jersey
In New Jersey, any vehicle engaged in public transportation, such as a bus, train, or taxi, is considered a “common carrier.” Drivers of these vehicles are held to industry standards when determining whether their actions constitute negligence. This standard is higher than it would be for a typical vehicle driver because bus drivers know they are being trusted with the care and safety of their passengers.
In order to be liable for an accident, the driver must have acted in a way that was outside the reasonable standard of care for a bus driver in New Jersey. Their action or inaction must have caused your injury, and you must have suffered compensable damages as a result of your injury.
As with any vehicle, there is always the potential for an equipment malfunction when a bus is on the road. If a part of the bus was improperly manufactured or installed, the part manufacturer could be at fault. In some cases, a faulty mechanical design could be a contributing factor. These are the kinds of issues that occasionally lead to a recall of a vehicle or specific components of a vehicle.
For example, in 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall impacting approximately 58,000 school buses on the road nationwide. The recall was due to seat backs that did not have the appropriate amount of padding to meet federal safety standards. Violation of federal safety standards could increase the risk of passenger injury.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
No two cases are exactly the same, and the circumstances of your case could be completely unique. Malfunctioning traffic signals, lack of road signs, or poor road conditions are often the responsibility of the government to fix. Depending on where the accident occurred, this could be federal or state agencies or local municipalities.
The mechanic who worked on the bus could have made an error that caused the bus to crash. In that case, the mechanic, and probably the shop they work for, could be liable for your bus accident in Hoboken.
A bus passenger could also be at fault for an accident if they intentionally or recklessly distracted the bus driver and caused an accident. Your Hoboken bus accident lawyer will be able to help you determine which party or parties can be held liable for your injury.
Bus Accident Compensation
The exact amount of compensation you are eligible for depends on a number of factors. The most important factor is the severity of your injuries. Damages may cover past and future medical expenses associated with the accident, including expenses such as prescription drugs and rehabilitation. You can also recover compensation for wages you lost because of your inability to work temporarily or permanently. These types of damages are called economic damages because they compensate you for monetary losses. In some situations, you may also be entitled to compensation for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, anxiety, depression, and other physical, mental, and emotional anguish. It is important that you keep records of your expenses and losses so that your Hoboken bus accident lawyer can calculate your damages.
Contact a Hoboken Bus Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been in a bus accident, it’s important to know that you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. That time passes by quickly, and the longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to obtain the evidence needed to prove the value of your case. To receive maximum compensation, contact an attorney for bus accidents in Hoboken, NJ as soon as possible.
The team at Glugeth & Pierguidi, P.C., understands that every case is unique and deserves a legal strategy that makes sense for each client’s needs. We have recovered over $100 million in settlements and verdicts and pride ourselves on aggressively advocating for our clients at the negotiation table and in the courtroom. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation.