New York Personal Injury Attorneys
I Was Injured on a NICE Bus
The Nassau Inter-County Express bus is a private bus service that operates through Queens and Nassau and Suffolk counties. The bus line was formerly a part of the MTA fleet until it became a private line in 2011. In a three year span beginning in 2015, MTA buses crashed nearly 21,000 times, leaving passengers wondering about bus crash liability.
Although NICE is no longer part of the MTA, the line experienced its own rash of accidents at the end of 2018 and it is important to be aware of your options if you experience an injury on NICE or any other bus line. What happens if you experience an injury on a NICE bus? Who is liable? Is compensation possible?
NICE Owes Passengers a Duty of Care
Whenever you travel on public transportation – whether you are riding on a bus, passenger train, subway or some other means – the transportation company owes you a duty of care to transport you safely to your destination. In other words, the driver must take reasonable care to drive safely and the company must take reasonable care to maintain its fleet to prevent injury to its passengers while they are on the bus.
Unfortunately, some drivers fail to provide passengers with a reasonably safe drive to the destination, which can occur for multiple reasons. In some cases, the driver feels overworked and exhausted, resulting in fatigued driving. In others, the driver fails to follow the rules of the road and acts negligently, causing an accident.
Alternatively, the bus company may indirectly cause harm to passengers by failing to maintain buses in proper working order; if a breakdown occurs and passengers experience injury, the company bears responsibility. Or, if a bus driver has to stop suddenly to avoid an accident and the company did not maintain proper safety equipment inside the bus, the company may face liability for passenger injuries.
Breaching a Duty of Care May Mean Liability
In order for an entity to accept liability for injuries related to bus accidents, passengers must prove the following elements:
- The company or driver owed passengers a duty of care to transport passengers safely to the destination.
- Either breached the duty of care by failing to act reasonably to ensure passenger safety.
- Passengers suffered injuries as a result of the incident.
- Passengers experienced damages from the injuries.
In most bus accident cases, the duty of care rests firmly on the bus company, who – as explained previously – must act reasonably to prevent injury to passengers and other drivers. Any failing of the bus driver or bus company to drive safely or maintain the bus, resulting in an accident, may result in liability. In the state of New York, a driver’s negligence results in liability for the bus company.
However, in some cases, an outside party causes the crash. Following are some instances in which someone else may assume liability for a bus crash:
- The city, county, or state fails to maintain the roadway, traffic signals, or signs. An accident resulting from poor road conditions may be the responsibility of a government entity.
- Another driver acts negligently and causes an accident involving the bus. Partial or full liability may rest on the other driver.
- If a part of the bus’s mechanical systems, tires, or brakes fails and causes an accident, multiple parties may hold liability. The manufacturer of the part may hold responsibility, or the bus company in charge of maintenance may accept liability.
If you sustain an injury in an incident involving a NICE bus, the county as owner and the private operator may both be held liable. The best course of action after any bus accident is to speak with a personal injury attorney in New York City regarding your options.