Get a Top New Jersey Bus Accident Attorney on Your Side
NJ Transit and Bus Accident Claims
Any bus accident has the potential to cause serious injuries and permanent disabilities to the people involved. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a bus collision, contact a lawyer from Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., today. We are skilled in all areas of car accident law in NJ, and have the experience required to successfully represent an injured victim. Please contact us at (609) 240-0040 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your bus or school bus accident.
City and public buses are also covered under specialized laws throughout New Jersey.
New Jersey Bus Rules and Regulations
School buses are unique in that they are larger vehicles that carry large numbers of young people, are government owned and operated, and must abide by stringent training and driving regulations. Most school buses do not have seat belts or safety restraints for children. This makes it especially dangerous to stand or move around while the bus is in motion. Other drivers on the road must follow special laws when driving near or around school buses and are responsible for learning those laws.
City buses and intrastate and interstate buses, such as ones traveling to Atlantic City, are also required to abide by safety regulations. Drivers must not drive over a certain amount of hours in a 24-hour period, they must be properly trained and licensed, and they must travel at slower speed limits than other drivers. There are special laws regarding city and public buses, which is why it is so important that you hire a New Jersey bus accident lawyer with knowledge in your accident area.
Tour bus companies and their drivers are just as responsible for the safety and well-being their passengers. They must properly vet and interview their potential drivers, and not hire anyone with a history of excessive accidents or intoxicated driving. Their drivers must follow all regulations for the vehicles they are in, including limits on how long they can drive and speeds they can travel at.
Shuttles to Newark Airport also carry certain responsibilities for their passengers and others on the road. These vehicles usually travel on a strict timetable, which may make drivers unnecessarily reckless or go at excessive speeds. The companies running these airport shuttles must allow their drivers enough time to make necessary stops and still reach the airport on time. These shuttles are also responsible for picking up an appropriate number of passengers so that everyone has a seat. Children cannot ride on the laps of their parents; they must have their own seats.
Bus Accident Causes
Some contributing factors in bus-related accidents include driver negligence, inadequate security, dangerous roadways, weather conditions, defective automotive products, and improper bus maintenance. In general, certain causes are more common than others. These include:
- Distracted drivers: While modern innovations like mobile phones and tablets present serious distractions, the number one distraction that results in fatal collisions is actually daydreaming. All distractions to a driver are dangerous.
- Fatigued drivers: Bus drivers cannot operate a vehicle outside of a restricted number of hours each day and week. Drivers who go beyond these limits risk becoming fatigued, which slows reaction times and creates opportunities for serious collisions. When companies push or encourage their drivers to break these rules, they can be held liable too.
- Poor maintenance: Bus companies need to keep their vehicles in excellent condition so that they are safe on the road. When companies fail to keep up maintenance and repairs, often to improve profits, they put everyone on the road in danger. Bad tires, failing brakes, and improper safety systems can all result in accidents and injuries.
- Other drivers: Drivers who do not appreciate the large size of buses, and how long it takes for them to stop, can cut off buses and cause a collision. These drivers can be held liable for injuries to passengers within the bus, as well as anyone else involved in such a crash.
- Passenger negligence: Passengers are also responsible for acting in a reasonable way while riding in the vehicle. This means they should not distract the driver, or endanger the other passengers. While rare, it is possible that the actions of a passenger could directly cause a collision, making him or her liable for injuries to others.
New Jersey Bus Accident Lawyers Discuss Liability
While driver liability is often difficult to determine, all drivers involved in a car collision in NJ may bear some responsibility for the crash. Passengers are very rarely the cause of a crash. Therefore, they are almost certainly entitled to monetary compensation for injuries they sustained or their damaged property. It does not matter whether the passenger was in the car with the liable driver or not, except in determining which insurance carrier must pay for the passenger's losses.
Injuries from Public Transportation
Commuters are using rapid transit and public transportation more and more each year due to increased congestion on the roads. In accordance with the growing number of people using buses as their main source of transportation, there has been an increase in bus-related injuries and deaths.
Claims for damages against a public or governmental entity are complicated and have strict time limitations. The laws are complex and vary greatly depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash. If you have been seriously injured in an accident involving a bus, you need the advice of a knowledgeable Princeton lawyer.
Our NJ Bus Accident Attorneys Are Determined to Help
Accident victims may pursue a few different types of monetary damages, and passengers are equally as entitled to seek compensation. Economic damages cover claims for money spent in response to the crash, including medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of repairing damaged property. Non-economic damages compensate a victim for losses that are more difficult to qualify, such as a diminished quality of life. Punitive damages apply in cases where the defendant was involved in illegal or reckless behavior.
If you have suffered serious injuries as a result of being involved in a bus collision, either as a passenger of the bus, pedestrian, or occupant in another vehicle, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your injuries. For passengers, the bus company owes you the "utmost duty of care" associated with being a common carrier. This "utmost duty of care" is higher than the duty owed by the bus company to drivers of other vehicles and pedestrians.
For a free consultation, please call Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., at (609) 240-0040.
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