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The Syracuse bus accident lawyers at Michaels & Smolak are well aware that bus accidents can cause serious injury to multiple victims at once. There have been some horrific bus accidents in Central New York in the last few years. The injuries can be especially severe because bus passengers are not provided with seat belts. If a bus driver causes an accident, he and his employer and the owner of the bus can all be sued for the resulting injuries. A bus driver can cause the accident not only by failing to follow the rules of the road, but also by stopping, starting or turning so abruptly or violently that it causes passengers, especially those who are standing, to be thrown around inside the bus.
A bus driver has a duty not only to driver carefully, but also to stop the bus at a place where it is safe for the passengers to get off ("alight") and get on ("board") the bus. If the driver stops the bus at a place where there is a pot hole, or other such defect, and a person climbing on board or off the bus is injured because of that defect, the bus driver and bus company can be held liable.
In addition, there are very strict rules for school buses. Our bus accident attorneys serving the Syracuse community know these school bus rules, or where to find them. Sometimes accidents happen in school buses because of the lack of school bus monitors in the bus to keep the children in their seats and safe.
Injuries to passengers in buses are not usually as severe as those in cars, or on motorcycles, because buses are big and heavy and can withstand impact with other vehicles well. However, when a serious accident does occur, such as an overturned bus, the injuries are very severe and to a large number of people. The most serious bus injuries tend to involve charter or longer distance bus rides with buses traveling at high speeds on highways. But the majority of bus injuries are from passengers getting on or off the bus.
In addition, however, there is a whole body of case law in New York regarding a bus owner’s or driver’s liability to passengers who fall or are injured when the bus jerks or lurches, usually when starting or stopping. In order to prove the bus owner and driver liable, the injured passenger must prove that the bus experienced an "unusual and violent" movement, which caused the passenger who was standing, entering or exiting the bus to fall and be injured. It is important to secure witnesses statements from the other passengers as soon as possible if such a bus movement was the cause of injury.
Just as with the victims of other types of vehicle accidents, victims of bus accidents can bring a claim for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering and other losses suffered. A bus accident attorney representing Syracuse victims will know how to develop, document, and present this kind of evidence. And just as with other types of motor vehicle accident cases, they are automatically entitled to “no-fault” benefits, which usually means up to $50,000 in medical expenses and/or lost wages. Although in most motor vehicle cases, the no-fault insurance is the insurance for the car or vehicle you were traveling in, with bus cases this is somewhat different; usually your own motor vehicle insurance covers the no-fault benefits. It is critical to inform your own insurance carrier of your on-fault claim within 30 days of the accident, or else your insurer might deny you any coverage at all.
Also, as with other types of motor vehicle accidents, the victim of a bus accident must prove that she suffered a “serious injury” under New York State law in order to be entitled to any compensation beyond no-fault (for example, pain and suffering compensation, or wage losses and medical expenses that are over and above what no-fault paid).
The Syracuse bus accident lawyers of Michaels & Smolak have recovered millions of dollars for clients injured in bus accidents and for other injuries to cover their medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a bus accident, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who can inform you of your legal rights and maximize your compensation.