Peter Pan Bus Accidents
Like Greyhound Lines, Inc. and Trailways Transit Systems, Inc., Peter Pan Bus Lines is a privately owned motor coach bus company that specializes in long-distance excursions. According to company records, Peter Pan buses travel over 25 million miles each year. Its extensive schedule includes frequent trips that originate or end in New York, including hourly trips between New York City and Boston. While most Peter Pan Bus excursions occur without incident, on occasion accidents do occur, sometimes resulting in serious injury. In addition, victims of bus accidents are not only passengers on the bus. In some cases motor coach bus accidents also result in personal injury to occupants of other vehicles and to pedestrians. When such an accident is caused by the negligence of Peter Pan, then the injured victims have the right to seek financial compensation from Peter Pan, and any other negligent party. If you or a family member was injured in an accident involving a Peter Pan bus it is important to immediately contact an experienced New York Peter Pan bus accident lawyer who will review the facts of your case and explain to you the process for seeking compensation from those responsible for the injuries you suffered.Causes of Peter Pan Bus Accidents
Just like accidents involving cars, SUVs, and other types of vehicles, Peter Pan bus accidents occur for a variety of reasons.
Driver fatigue. One of the most common causes for motor coach bus accidents is driver fatigue. Peter Pan bus drivers and other motor coach bus drivers drive long distances with few stops and few breaks. Fatigued drivers can fall asleep at the wheel, or experience diminished ability to react to other drivers or road conditions. Signs that a driver may be fatigued include swerving, missing exits, and frequent yawning. Some fatigued drivers will drink a lot of coffee or energy drinks in an effort to stay alert.
Not only has the Centers for Disease Control found fatigue to be a leading cause of bus accidents in general, but members of the motor coach industry also acknowledged in a January, 2014 article in Charter & Tour Magazine that driver fatigue is a serious problem and is the primary cause of most severe motor coach accidents.
Defective manufacturing and engineering design. A defective part or a problem in how the bus was manufactured or repaired could lead to a malfunction. If a bus malfunctions the driver may not be able to properly control or maneuver it, leading to an accident.
Driver intoxication. Driving while under the influence of drug or alcohol is not only a problem with individuals driving private vehicles, it is also a problem for people who drive commercial motor coaches. There are additional requirements that bus companies must follow to try to prevent bus drivers from driving while intoxicated. For example, bus drivers must submit to random alcohol testing, and under some circumstances bus drivers are also subject to screening for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP).
Distracted driving. Distracted driving has become a huge problem over the last 2 decades. Seemingly everyone uses a cell phone-- even while driving. In New York it is illegal to drive while using a portable electronic device. Prohibited activities on an electronic device include talking on a handheld phone, drafting, sending, reading, accessing, or browsing emails, text messages and websites, view or transmitting images, taking or capturing images or photos, and playing games. According to The Republic Newsroom, in 2009 a Peter Pan Bus driver was suspended for using his cell phone and eating while driving. The driver was driving a Peter Pan Bus from Boston to New York. However, there is no report that this driver caused an accident because of cell phone use.
Speeding and aggressive driving. A common cause of bus accidents is speeding and aggressive driving. This is particularly the case in instances where drivers travel long distances on open highways. Aggressive driving involves taking unnecessary chances and driving in a manner that is obnoxious toward other drivers. For example, an aggressive driver might change lanes by cutting in front of another vehicle instead of signaling and waiting until it is safe to change lanes.
Other types of accidents. Not all bus accidents involve collisions. Passengers sometimes fall while on the bus standing or walking down the aisle. In other cases passengers are injured when they fall while getting on or off the bus.
Actions of others. Not all Peter Pan bus accidents are caused by driver negligence or a mechanical malfunction. In some cases accidents are caused by the negligence of a third party such as the driver of another vehicle. For example, if another driver does not stop at a red light or stop sign, drives in excess of the speed limit, drives while intoxicated, or texts while driving and as a result causes an accident, then that person would be legally liable and not the bus company.Bus Accident Injuries
When a Peter Pan bus or any other type of motor coach bus is involved in an accident, there is a good chance that some passengers may suffer serious injuries. Buses are massive vehicles. When they are involved in even a low speed collision, seriously bodily injuries are common. In addition, not all buses have the same safety features as smaller vehicles such as seat belts and airbags. Common injuries suffered by bus accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury. Vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A TBI occurs when a violent blow to the head damages brain cells. While in some instances victims can recover fully recover from TBIs with time, medication, or surgical intervention, in many cases brain injuries can lead to permanent cognitive deficits, blindness, and paralysis. With a collision involving a bus, passengers, who do not have the protection of airbags or seatbelts, may be thrown from their seats, hitting their heads on the floor of the bus or the side of the bus. The result may be a TBI and other serious injuries.
- Back, neck and spinal injuries. Injuries to the back, neck and spinal cord are common to victims of vehicle accidents. Such injuries can be quite serious as they can impact your ability to move around, your ability to control your bladder or bowels, and your ability to breathe. Many people who suffer severe back, neck or spinal cord injuries experience severe pain, must undergo surgery, and have a long road to recovery. Others end up permanently paralyzed. As a result, victim’s lives are forever changed.
- Broken bones. Because of deceleration and the jarring movement that occurs during a bus collision, it is not a surprise that those who are in bus accidents often end up with broken bones. Whether it is a leg, foot, angle, arm, or other broken bone, a broken bone can be quite painful and recovery time can take several weeks. In the case of a severe break, victims sometimes never completely recover and end up with physical limitations.
- Death. Sadly, in some cases victims of bus accidents do not survive. Death occurs in bus collisions involving other vehicles or where the bus for various reasons leaves the roadway, crashing into trees, poles, or buildings. In addition, in cases where a bus hits a pedestrian or a cyclist, the result may be that the pedestrian or cyclist does not survive. For example, in the case of Mono v. Peter Pan Bus Lines, Inc., 13 F.Supp.2d 471 (1998), the plaintiff's wife was killed when she was walking across a street and was struck by a Peter Pan Bus Lines bus.
As an experienced New York Peter Pan bus accident lawyer, despite the existence of eyewitnesses, the cause of a bus accident is not always immediately clear. However, a finding of fault is necessary in order to determine who is financially responsible for the losses the accident victims suffered. Fault usually is determined to be:
- The fault of the bus driver
- The fault of a third party such as the driver of another car, truck, SUV, bus, or motorcycle
- The fault of a passenger on the bus, or a pedestrian
- The fault of the company that manufactured the bus, that supplied parts, or that was responsible for maintenance
- The fault of a combination of the bus driver and another party
After an accident that results in serious injuries, law enforcement will review the scene of the accident to make a determination of fault. There are several factors that may be considered in determining fault. For example, if the police issue a ticket to someone, that person is likely to be determined to be at least partially at fault. The police and other investigators will also speak to witnesses. An inspection of the bus, any other vehicle involved as well as the accident scene may give important clues as to what happened, including whether there was a mechanical failure.Compensation for Victims of Bus Accidents
If you were injured in a bus accident and it is determined that the bus company was at fault, the type of damages that you may entitled to depends on such factors as the extent of your injuries and your employment history. However, as an experienced New York Peter Pan bus accident lawyer will explain, if your injuries are minor, then you will not be able to recover any damages even though another person's negligence caused your injuries.
- Medical expenses. If you are seriously injured in a bus accident you will undoubtedly accumulate a significant number of medical bills. Through a personal injury lawsuit you can seek compensation for your past and future medical expenses related to the bus accident.
- Lost wages. Any serious injury will take some time for recovery. No matter how much you want to return to work you may not be able to for quite some time. As part of your personal injury lawsuit you can ask the court to award you compensation for the paychecks that you are no longer receiving because you are not able to work, as well as other types of compensation that you lost.
- Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is a type of damage award that compensates victims for both the physical pain and emotional suffering they experienced as a result of the accident. The determination of the amount a victim should receive for pain and suffering can be complicated. If you have to undergo surgery, have a permanent, noticeable scar, or have some other permanent injury, you are more likely to receive a significant pain and suffering award then if you fully recovered from your injury. In addition, if you were aware that you were about to be involved in a serious accident, pain and suffering can include an amount for "pre-impact terror." In other words, if you "saw the accident coming," that is a factor in determining a pain and suffering award.
- Wrongful death. Unfortunately, in some cases victims of motor coach bus accidents suffer injuries that are so severe that the victim passes away. In such cases certain family members may be able to recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages based on a wrongful death may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and funeral expenses. If your loved one was killed in a bus accident, contact an experienced Peter Pan Bus accident attorney in New York who can help you determine how to proceed.
Peter Pan Bus Lines buses are not inherently dangerous. Nor are drivers of Peter Pan buses generally incompetent or negligent. However, Peter Pan buses are on occasion involved in accidents. If you were injured in a bus accident involving a Peter Pan Bus, you have the right to hold the individual or company legally accountable by filing a personal injury claim. Proving negligence in a bus accident case can present several complicated legal challenges. Even if you are unsure as to who was at fault it is important to not delay in contacting an attorney as there are deadlines that must be adhered to in order to preserve your rights. Contact an experienced Peter Pan Bus accident attorney serving New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss the details of your case. Our staff has experience successfully representing vehicle accident victims and their families. Contact us at 800.NY.NY.LAW (800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Suffolk County, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Westchester County.