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Newark Bus Accident Lawyers

Newark Bus Accident Law Firm, Console and Associates P.C.

While buses provide a convenient and affordable way for people to travel around Newark and to other areas, they present hazards for other roadway vehicles, mostly because of their massive size. They can cause far more damage than, and to, smaller vehicles.

Buses vary in size and weight depending on the needs of the carrier, but most city buses are between 35 and 50 feet long and about eight feet wide; the average city bus weighs between 25,000-40,000 pounds. The enormous size of the vehicle is necessary to transport up to 60 people at one time.

If a Newark bus accident injured you, you could pursue compensation for your injuries. A bus accident lawyer from Console & Associates P.C. can help you to understand the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn more from our experienced Newark bus accident lawyers.

Buses Are Everywhere in Newark

Many different types of buses travel U.S. roadways. On average, Americans take around 700 million passenger trips each year on roughly 4,000 interstate bus lines, with some of those lines traveling through Newark. In addition, Newark boasts a strong transport system of intercity lines, as well as airport shuttles, school buses, and private tour buses. More than a quarter of the residents rely on public transportation to get to work in Newark.

Why Newark Buses Are Dangerous

The unusually large size makes a bus difficult to maneuver and poses some serious risks of collision due to:

  • Significant blind spots: All vehicles have a blind spot, which is an area—generally along the rear sides of the vehicle—that the driver cannot see in his or her rear or side-view mirrors. To ensure that there is not another vehicle or person in the blind spot, the driver must turn and look over his or her shoulder. Buses and other large commercial vehicles have significant blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle, placing them at risk of striking people and vehicles in the blind spot when turning, changing lanes, or backing up.
  • An increased stopping distance: It takes some time for the brakes to pull the weight of a vehicle to a stop after the driver presses them. The heavier the vehicle, the farther it will travel during that time, making it difficult for a bus driver to stop safely. Speed and wet or icy winter roads can further increase this stopping distance.
  • Wide turns: Buses and other large vehicles also must make wide turns that involve swinging the bus into other lanes while trying to navigate it around sharp corners. When a bus makes a wide turn, drivers in adjacent travel lanes are at risk of the bus striking them. Unaware drivers attempting to turn in the far right lane alongside a turning bus are at risk of a squeeze play—where they’re caught between the bus and the curb.
  • Frequent maintenance: Between the weight of the vehicle and the miles it travels in the course of a month, some bus parts (such as the tires and the brakes) require frequent maintenance. Failing to maintain the bus increases the risk of an accident resulting from mechanical failure.
  • High center of gravity: Buses have a high center of gravity, which increases the risk of a rollover during emergency driving maneuvers or when attempting to round a sharp curve or corner. This risk further increases if improper loading of passengers and other cargo results in a weight imbalance.

Causes of Newark Bus Accidents

As with other vehicles, many factors related to human error can cause a bus to crash.

Some of the more common causes of bus accidents include:

  • Distracted driving: Bus drivers contend with the same distractions as drivers of other vehicles, with the added pressure of sometimes unruly passengers. A driving distraction is anything that either draws the driver’s eyes from the roadway, his or her hands from the wheel, or his or her mind from the task of driving safely. Some distractions, such as texting, are particularly dangerous, as they do all three of these things.
  • Driver fatigue: Like other commercial drivers, bus drivers can work long shifts or night shifts, which can result in mental fatigue. Fatigue is a hazard to drivers, their passengers, and others they encounter on the roadway. Like alcohol, fatigue creates deficits in the skills a driver needs to safely operate a vehicle, such as the ability to maintain one’s own travel lane, track moving targets, exercise good judgment, and respond appropriately to emergencies.
  • Impairment: While federal and state laws require most bus drivers to undergo regular drug and alcohol screening—and follow more stringent rules regarding impaired driving than other vehicle operators—some drivers use these substances while working. Others fail to realize that many over-the-counter and prescription medications can impair them just as alcohol and illicit drugs do.
  • The actions of other drivers: Many times, the bus driver’s actions don’t cause the accident—the actions of others do. As previously mentioned, buses are harder than other vehicles to maneuver due to their size. This means that the bus driver will have a more difficult time safely reacting to tailgating, being cut off in traffic, or swerving around a disabled vehicle in the roadway.
  • Narrow roadways: Urban areas such as Newark often feature congested, cluttered, and narrow streets that make it hard for a large vehicle to maneuver.

The Complexities of Newark Bus Accident Cases

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Richard P. Console, Newark bus wreck lawyer

If someone else’s careless or reckless actions injured you in a bus accident, you have likely found that there are a lot of complexities in your case. Perhaps you are not sure who caused the accident because you were a passenger on the bus and could not see what happened. Perhaps you were an occupant in a much smaller car, dealing with a severe injury from a collision with the larger vehicle.

Whatever the circumstances of your case, bus accidents often produce difficult legal cases with which we can help you.

Proving Liability

The potentially liable parties in a bus accident claim depend on the details of the accident.

To prove that someone is liable (meaning legally responsible) for the expenses that you have incurred and the impacts on your life that you have faced as a result of your injuries, you must establish the following elements:

  • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care depends on this individual or entity’s role in the accident, but it generally refers to how a reasonable person would act in similar circumstances.
  • There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach refers to the actions that the at-fault party took that violated the duty of care owed to you.
  • This breach resulted in an accident that caused your injuries and subsequent expenses and impacts.

Those who are commonly found liable in bus accident cases include:

  • The bus driver. The driver has the duty to operate the bus safely and legally. He or she must usually obtain special licensing to drive the bus and must submit to regular drug and alcohol screenings as well as annual physicals to identify any conditions that would make it unsafe for the driver to operate the bus. Drivers also have the duty to ensure that their passengers are seated and safe and that no clutter or debris in the aisles can cause a passenger to slip and fall. When dropping off passengers, bus drivers must ensure that no immediate hazards could harm passengers as they leave the bus.
  • The bus driver’s employer. Many bus lines are common carriers. As such, they have some responsibility for the actions of their drivers and can face liability if the careless or reckless actions of drivers result in injuries. Additionally, carriers must check their drivers’ past driving and criminal histories, keep the buses on a regular maintenance schedule, and train drivers to do their jobs safely.
  • Other roadway users. If a third party such as another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, their insurance could also come into play. We can work to get them to pay for the expenses and impacts of your injury.
  • The governmental agency tasked with maintaining the roadways, if a known or preventable roadway defect or obstructed view caused the accident.

Meeting Statutory Guidelines

Victims can recover compensation through a lawsuit in civil court. The statute of limitations for filing a Newark bus accident lawsuit is generally two years from the date on which the accident occurred. However, if your bus accident case is against a governmental agency, such as a state or municipal transit authority, the deadline can change. Cases against the government often have much shorter filing deadlines. Your attorney can advise you if you face a different filing deadline.

Available Damages

Because of New Jersey’s “choose no-fault” car insurance system, some individuals can pursue early medical expenses and wage loss compensation through their own personal injury protection policy. This is often a faster resource for obtaining the money needed shortly after the accident takes place. If you have a New Jersey auto insurance policy, you can seek PIP coverage regardless of who is liable.

However, PIP policies do not cover non-economic damages and often reach their limits before providing complete coverage of expenses. Sometimes they don’t pay out at all or dispute your claim, as other insurance companies would. If so, call us for help.

To file a lawsuit against an at-fault party in a bus accident case in which you were injured as a driver or occupant of another vehicle on the roadway, an individual’s injuries must meet the state’s serious injury threshold.

Injuries that meet this threshold include:

  • Loss of a body part
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Significant scarring
  • A displaced fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • A permanent injury, which is defined as one that results in loss of the function of a body part
  • An injury that results in death

New Jersey allows the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages through lawsuits.

Some of the damages that you might recover include the out-of-pocket costs of:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Repair or replacement of property damaged in a bus accident, such as your car

You can also pursue compensation for the impacts the injury has had on your life, known as non-economic damages. Common impacts claimed in this damage category include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of the enjoyment of life.

Let Us Help With Your Newark Bus Accident Claim

Bus accidents are complex. The Newark personal injury attorneys at Console & Associates P.C. could help you make sense of the legal process involved in pursuing compensation for your Newark bus accident injuries. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call (862) 229-1137.

Console and Associates, P.C. (Newark, NJ Office)

494 Broad Street, #208B
Newark, NJ 07102

(862) 229-1137

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