Whether they are public, charter, limousine, or school bus, large numbers of passengers regularly ride inside these massive and powerful motor vehicles. In addition, most buses do not require, enforce, or even have seatbelts for passengers. Further, most lines permit riders the freedom to move about the cabin while the vehicle is in motion. If the bus is too crowded, passengers are expected to stand and fend for themselves. For these reasons, New York bus accidents can lead to devastating injuries.
As with public or charter bus accidents, the accidents that involve school buses are also very serious due to the fact that in most cases, school bus passengers are usually unsupervised and unrestrained children. Additionally, as with other types of buses, there are not any seat belts. Some experts believe that due to the size and weight of school buses, seatbelts are not necessary. However, other experts believe that the number of injuries and deaths would be limited if shoulder and lap belts were installed in school buses.
There are more than 23 million children who ride on school buses every day in the United States. While most of these children do return home safely, bus accidents do happen. It has been reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) that between 1995 and 2005, there were approximately 1,500 fatalities in school bus related accidents. The majority of people killed were occupants in other vehicles. However, there were on average 16 children killed each in school bus related accidents, most of whom were pedestrian children after school.
The majority of serious bus related injuries occur when passengers board or exit the bus. Examples of these common accidents include car versus passenger collisions when a car driver fails to yield to exiting bus passengers, failure of car drivers to stop for students and/or children who are crossing the road while the school bus’s warning lights are flashing, and collisions with stopped buses. Injuries that result from bus accidents can range from bumps and bruises because of slip and fall accidents, to tragic injuries that result from a child being struck by an oncoming vehicle.
Every state, including New York, requires motorists to stop while the school bus’s lights are flashing. However, this law is not always obeyed. Throughout the country police officers have found that drivers fail to obey this law with tragic consequences.
Other possible causes for bus accidents include:
- Outdated equipment on old buses;
- Poor bus maintenance;
- Negligent bus drivers; and
- Lack of bus driver training.
Should a victim of a bus accident suffer a severe personal injury, the injured individual and/or a spouse and immediate family members could be entitled to recover damages for:
- Disfigurement and scarring;
- Incidental and out-of-pocket expenses;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Loss of society, love, and affection;
- Mental and emotional disability;
- Pain and suffering;
- Past and future lost wages;
- Past and future medical bills;
- Property loss; and
- Wrongful death.
When a school bus accident occurs, it leaves a lasting impression in any parent’s mind. It reminds us the importance of promoting school bus safety while at home. Some safety tips you can review with your children are:
- Where a safe place to wait for the bus is, away from traffic and the street.
- Do not approach the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver has given the signal to enter.
- Once you have exited the bus, walk at least ten steps away from the bus so that the bus driver has an easier time seeing you.
- When entering or exiting the bus, use the handrails.
- Be sure to look for the traffic around you. Drivers sometimes fail to obey required traffic laws. Your child can protect his or herself by being alert.
The Hudson bus accident attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a FREE case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.