Bus & Truck Accidents
New York City’s bus network is one of the most extensive in the country with 5,710 daily bus trips transporting over 2.5 million passengers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At the national level, over 700 million passengers are transported by buses each year. With the economic downturn and gasoline price hikes, more and more people are resorting to bus transportation. Despite buses generally having the strong safety record, accidents involving buses happen regularly. 63,000 buses are involved in crashes each year according to the University of Michigan’s 2010 study titled “Type of Motor Carrier and Driver History in Fatal Bus Crashes”. The study showed that “transit and school bus drivers were the least likely to contribute or cause an accident, while intercity and charter buses were associated with significantly higher odds of the driver error”. Only recently, during rush hour, two buses collided in the Lincoln Tunnel, which links New York City and New Jersey, injuring over thirty people. Contrary to popular opinion, buses are not safer than cars. Despite their relatively small share in total motor vehicle accidents, the number of bus accidents per million miles is almost the same as the number of car accidents.
The most common bus accidents involve front, back and side collision, as well as collision with immovable objects, pedestrians and bystanders. Not only do bus accidents cause injuries and fatalities, but they can also cause substantial property damages. The causes of bus accidents are very diverse with the most frequent one being driver’s failure to yield. Also, research has shown that bus drivers who are over 55 years of age are more likely to cause accidents. Furthermore, quite a few bus drivers are not given proper training by their employers and, although bus companies are required to carry out proper vehicle maintenance on a regular basis, some of them don’t comply with government regulations in this matter. If this is the case, the bus company could be held responsible for serious accidents which are result of their negligent behavior.
According to the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Safety Administration, in 2009, there were 5.5 million truck accidents recorded in the United States which resulted in $48 billion worth of damages both to people and property. In 2010, in New York State alone, there were 11,572 truck crashes reported with astonishing 45% of those taking place between 6am and noon. Most of these accidents were due to driver fatigue after a long night of driving. The statistics compiled by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles corroborates this and further shows that human factor was to blame in almost 80% of truck accidents in 2010.
Under the federal law, New York truck drivers have to be certified every two months as both physically and mentally fit to drive. They also need to meet very strict health criteria. For instance, the drivers cannot have history of diabetes, heart disease (or any other cardiovascular problem), respiratory distress, high blood pressure, rheumatic, arthritic, orthopaedic, muscular, neuromuscular and/or vascular diseases, epilepsy, mental or psychiatric illness, as well as be able to see at least 20/40 (Snellen) and hear without a hearing aid. Additionally, they are obligated by law to keep a log book detailing their “hours of service”, namely how much they slept and rested, and how much time they spent loading, unloading, driving, stopping, inspecting, fueling and eating. Truck, van and bus drivers are also prohibited from consuming alcohol at least four hours before driving.
Truck drivers are now expected to drive longer hours because of deregulation efforts by certain segments of the trucking industry. They are also working in tougher conditions, spending longer stretches of time away from home and frequently having over 65-hour-working weeks.
Here are more worrying facts:
- One out of eight traffic fatalities is caused by a collision with a large truck.
- Nearly 80 percent of all large truck accidents involve more than one vehicle other than the truck.
- Last year, trucks accounted for more than 100,000 accidents, 23,000 injuries and more than 4,000 fatalities in the USA.
- Truck accidents often involve drivers with out-of-state licenses, multiple insurance policies and companies cutting corners on tires, safety inspection and weight limits — putting profits before public safety.
- More than 150,000 accidents last year involving cars and trucks were the fault of the truck driver.
SUING FOR BUS & TRUCK ACCIDENTS IN NEW YORK / LEGAL REPRESENTATION IN NEW YORK
If you or your family member, spouse or partner have been injured or died in a bus or truck accident due to the negligent actions of bus or truck drivers / companies, you might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses (both future and current), income loss (both future and current), physical pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life.
It is worth remembering that New York is a so-called Pure Comparative Negligence State which means that you can receive compensation even if you are partly to blame for the accident. For instance, if you are 30% at fault for the accident, you may still be entitled to receive 70% of the compensation. Also, it is worth noting that lawsuits stemming from bus and truck accidents can be much more complex than those based on car accidents because truck accident cases can involve several defendants from various states and they are quite often tried at federal courts.
Many lawyers in New York are unwilling to take on bus and truck accident cases because of their complexity. The bus and truck accident lawyers at Gurfein Douglas in New York are fearless, meticulous and not afraid of a challenge. We, at Gurfein Douglas, pride ourselves not stopping until our clients get the justice and the compensation they deserve. Apart from law degrees, our firm’s principals Richard Gurfein and Preston Douglas also have degrees in engineering and biochemistry which gives them an edge over other motor vehicle accident attorneys in New York.
At Gurfein Douglas you can rely on the scientific training of our two partners to uncover the often hidden technical details of your bus or truck accident lawsuit that the untrained eye might miss. Our bus and truck accident attorneys know what insurance companies look for in evaluating claims, how to make the most beneficial settlement offers and how to best prepare your case.
One of our most successful cases involves a $6,783,203 settlement pedestrians accident with a bus after a verdict was reached in trial of Brenda Lewis against the New York City Transit Authority when a young boys legs where run over by a city bus.