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New York Deadly Bus Crash

A deadly bus crash lawyer in New York is someone you should contact immediately after being hurt in an accident. Without a deadly bus crash attorney in New York, you may be tempted to accept a settlement agreement that has been presented to you by other side. These serious situations can compromise your ability to recover the full compensation owed to you.

The loss of a loved one is a major issue and one that has ripple effects throughout the family. While many people may be lucky enough to walk away from a bus accident with injuries only, this is not true for everyone. That’s why the law makes it possible for surviving family members to file an injury lawsuit when one person’s loss can influence the family for years emotionally and financially.

At the outset of your case, you may not even have received a complete diagnosis of how this issue will affect your life. In many of these different situations, you will have to wait for days or weeks until doctors can tell you more about how these conditions are likely to affect your future. A New York deadly bus crash lawyer is someone who helps you with all the phases of your case and answers your questions as you have concerns about the pursuit of compensation. The payment of an appropriate settlement and the recovery of maximum compensation after an accident is crucial to your ability to get well and to move on.

Attending medical appointments and being worried about your financial situation while you can’t go to work, only adds to more stress and frustration for you. A New York deadly bus crash attorney will be able to help you if other people died in the bus accident, and you are a surviving family member now struggling to put the pieces back together. If you had a near death experience, meaning that you sustained catastrophic injuries like a TBI or a spinal cord injury, you may be eligible to pursue compensation.

Wrongful death law in New York allows surviving family members to file a case on behalf of the injured victim in place of what the injured victim would have pursued were he or she had lived through the accident. In these situations, the law does not allow companies who have engaged in negligent or dangerous behavior to get off the hook for these unfortunate and devastating bus accidents.

A deadly bus accident can happen at any time, but when it can be directly tied back to the negligence or improper training and supervision of the driver, the bus company may also be named as a responsible party. In many deadly bus crash accidents cases, a prompt and thorough investigation is required to rule out any other possible liable parties.

Your attorney may discover, for example, that the company that hired and trained the driver who caused the accident is also liable because of their inappropriate hiring or supervision of that individual employee. If the company failed to conduct the necessary maintenance and bus safety checks on the vehicle, this information may also be used to show how the accident occurred and why that company is responsible. In all of these unique situations, it is in the best interests of a lawyer to handle pursuit of compensation and recovery, because a lawyer will know the landscape and the common tactics used by insurance companies, and the at fault parties to avoid liability overall.

With medical appointments to go to for survivors and other impacts of the accident for family members who have lost a loved one, an attorney is someone who takes your case on your behalf and stands up for your rights the entire way through.

In March 2019, a New York-bound bus swerved and flipped over on an exit ramp in Virginia, killing and leaving several with serious personal injuries. According to Fredricksburg.com, the driver of the bus, 40-year old Yui Man Chow, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and speeding was a factor in the crash. Sadly, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, each year there are over 200 fatal bus accidents. While speed may have been a factor in the March 2019 accident, the reasons for fatal accident vary. However, regardless of the reason, losing a loved one in a bus accident because someone was negligent is heartbreaking for the victim’s family. New York law provides that those whose negligence results in victims suffering fatal injurie can be held legally and financially accountable. If a loved one was killed in a bus accident, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced New York fatal bus accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With 20 years of experienced representing seriously injured victims and their families, we have the knowledge and resources to ensure that your legal rights are projected and that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled given the specifics of your case.

Causes of Fatal Bus Accidents

Just like with any type of vehicle accident, there are many different reasons that a bus may end up in accident with fatalities. In some cases, the fault is with the driver who operated the bus in a reckless manner. In other instances, such accidents are caused by mechanical failure. Actions of an unruly passenger or the reckless driver of another vehicle may also contribute to a deadly bus accident. Because determination of the cause of an accident and pinpointing fault can be complicated, it is important to contact an experienced New York fatal bus accident lawyer to thoroughly investigate the accident that claimed the life of your loved one.

Poor maintenance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that operators of buses regularly inspect, repair, and maintain their buses. The law requires that “Parts and accessories must be in safe and proper condition at all times.” Failure to properly maintain abuse can lead to mechanical failures which can in turn make it difficult for the driver to control the bus. As a result, accidents happen.

In 2009, a Greyhound Lines, Inc. bus headed from New York to Montreal was involved in a horrific accident in Westport, New York. The bus skidded off the highway and crashed. Five people were killed and over 30 injured. According to WashingPost.com the Westport Greyhound bus accident was precipitated by a tire blowout.

Traffic violations. Failure to follow almost any traffic rule can lead to a serious accident. One of the most common type of traffic violations attributed to bus drivers is speeding. For example, according to media reports, Yui Man Chow, the driver in the March 2019 fatal accident mentioned above, was speeding. In 2011 there was a fatal bus accident in the Bronx involving a casino bus. According to a NYTimes.com, the driver of the bus was traveling at a high speed when it hit a guard rail, toppled over and crashed into the support post for a highway sign. However, the driver attributes the accident to his swerving to accord hitting a tractor trailer. 15 people died, 5 were critically injured, and several others sustained non-life-threatening.

In 2016 a school bus accident in in Chattanooga, TN that left 6 elementary school kids dead. According to a report by ABC News 9, Woodmore Elementary School bus driver, Johnthony Walker was speeding when he lost control of the bus. He also had taken a different route. Walker was eventually convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 4 years in prison. Multiple lawsuits were filed against Walker and Durham School Services.

Intoxicated driving. Despite laws prohibiting driving while intoxicated and despite rules requiring random testing of bus drivers for drugs and alcohol, there have been far too many instances in which bus accidents have been caused by intoxicated drivers.

Third party behavior. There are occasions when the actions of someone other than the bus driver precipitate a fatal accident. For example, a rambunctious passenger may distract the driver, leading to an accident, or a violent may physically attack the driver, causing the driver to lose control of the bus. In one extraordinary case, in 2012 a teen passenger of a party bus stuck his head through the emergency hatch of a bus. His head struck an overpass, killing him. According to ABC News, the teen had been drinking.

While third party actions may contribute to an accident, a thorough investigation of the accident will help determine fault. For example, if the a passenger is behaving in a boisterous manner, distracting the driver, could the driver have taken steps to avoid an accident by pulling over and addressing the passenger or contacting law enforcement? An experienced New York fatal bus accident lawyer will review all the evidence to figure out who is liable for the fatality and aggressively take steps to make sure all responsible parties are held responsible.

Distracted driving. While bus drivers can be distracted by a number of things such as passengers, eating, reading, or writing, distracted driving most often refers to the use of a cell phone or another device while driving. It is against the law in New York to “text while driving.” There are additional restrictions for drivers of school buses. While it is unclear as to whether cell phone use was a contributing factor in the 2016 Woodmere school bus accident, video shows the driver with his cell phone in his hand prior to the bus accident.

Determining Fault in a Fatal Bus Accident

When a fatal bus accident occurs, fault is not always immediately apparent. The accident will be investigated by the police as well as the NTSB. Often time it takes months for the NTSB to release a conclusion as to the cause of an accident. Investigators will carefully review multiple pieces of evidence. Buses often have onboard video equipment that may capture that actions of the bus driver as well as passenger. Video will help determine if the bus driver was distracted by using a cellphone, interacting with passengers, eating, writing, or doing some other activity that distracted him or her from the road.

Investigators will also seek to interview surviving passengers and other eyewitnesses. Passengers may be able to testify as to the actions and demeanor of the driver as well as to whether the actions of another vehicle, passenger, or pediatrician may have contributed to the accident. The accident scene will provide critical evidence as to what happened. Investigators will take multiple photographs of the accident scene to review.

Part of the investigation will involve reviewing maintenance records for the bus and the driving record of the bus driver. In addition, if a ticket is issued to someone involved in the accident, that is strong evidence that the person was at least partially at fault. For example, if a bus driver is given a speeding ticket or a ticket for failing to stop at a red light, then the NTSB and other investigators are likely to conclude that speed was a contributing factor in the accident. Similarly, if the bus driver is arrested in connection with the accident for driving while intoxicated or some other criminal behavior, that evidence will be significant in pinpointing fault.

It is important to understand that investigators will review all evidence. Fault may lie with more than one person. In the case of the Woodmere bus accident, lawsuits named both the bus driver and the company that operated the buses as defendants. Families and representatives of the victims can sue whomever is determined to be responsible.

Compensation Available from a Fatal Bus Accident

If a loved one was killed in a bus accident, contact an experienced fatal bus accident attorney in New York who has the skill and resources to make sure that you and your family do not suffer further after the unnecessary death of your loved one. While no amount of money will make up for the loss of a loved one, just compensation will help alleviate the financial burden caused by the loss and will serve to hold the negligent parties accountable for the pain they caused. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses. Medical expenses related to the injury in the bus accident that led to the victim’s death
  • Pain and suffering. Conscious pain and suffering endured by the victim prior to his or her death.
  • Loss of support. The value of the loss of support that the victim provided to family members.
  • Loss of wages. The wages the victim lost between the time of the accident and his or her death.
  • Loss of potential financial contributions and inheritance. The value of the loss of inheritance and financial contributions suffered by the victim’s children.

Keep in mind that if the bus is a bus that is operated by a governmental entity such as a city or school district, there are special rules that must be followed in order to file a lawsuit against such entity. There are special rules that must be followed when filing a claim and there are timelines that must be followed.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you lost a loved one in a bus accident, you deserve compensation for your loss. Contact an experienced fatal bus accident attorney serving New York who will investigate the accident and work hard to ensure that the negligent part is held accountable. Keep in mind that in New York a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of the victim’s death. Failure to file within that period will result in you losing your right to sue for compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss the details of your case. We are here to help. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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When my mom, who is suffering from dementia, faced a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit, I contacted Stephen Bilkis of the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Not only did he provide a strategy for defending the claim, he also advised me on steps to take to avoid future personal liability. Whether you are the defendant or plaintiff in an injury case, I highly recommend Mr. Bilkis. S.M.
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