Albany Bus Accident Attorney
1707 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205
Suffering serious injuries in a traffic accident in Albany, including those involving buses, is a traumatic event that causes bus accident victims physical pain, emotional trauma, and sometimes, financial hardship.
If you, your child, or another loved one were injured in an Albany bus accident, New York law permits you to seek compensation for losses related to your injuries from the party responsible for the accident.
You should not have to cope with the financial burden from medical treatment costs and lost wages because of a negligent bus driver or bus company. Bus accident claims are notoriously complex. They often include multiple parties and massive insurance policies, making it in your best interest to consult with an experienced Albany bus accident attorney who knows how to navigate these large claims.
The skilled legal team at Finkelstein & Partners understands the challenges that bus accident victims and their families face in the aftermath of a bus accident. Contact our Albany office for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your bus accident, determine your eligibility for compensation, and find the best path forward for your individual circumstances.
Finkelstein & Partners Helps Albany Bus Accident Victims Seek Justice
The experienced attorneys at Finkelstein & Partners have represented hundreds of injured clients throughout New York since the firm’s genesis in 1959, including those who have suffered injuries in bus accidents. The firm’s commitment to justice and client service has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements.
Not all bus accidents occur because of the bus driver or bus company. In a recent case, our client was a school bus driver who suffered injuries after a distracted truck driver struck the rear of the school bus. Our client needed neck and shoulder surgery and couldn’t return to work. We secured a total settlement of $910,000 for our client, which was the sum of the insurance claim against the truck driver and an additional claim against the school district.
In another recent case, Finkelstein & Partners secured a $475,000 settlement who was hit by a school bus. Our client waited at a bus stop with her older siblings when the bus driver ran over her foot. The child suffered severe scars. After a long fight with the insurance company, we finally settled our client’s case the night before the scheduled trial date.
The above cases are only examples of potential outcomes for bus accident claims handled by Finkelstein & Partners. We cannot guarantee a specific financial outcome for your Albany bus accident claim. Several factors impact the value of a claim and the amount of compensation you could receive. We can, however, diligently investigate your bus accident and pursue the maximum amount of compensation commensurate with your injuries and related losses.
Bus Accident Injuries We Handle at Finkelstein & Partners
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates 15,000 bus accidents across the nation each year, leading to even more injuries. Fortunately, not all bus accidents lead to injuries. Bus accident victims’ experience varies based on the speed at which the crash occurred, the location of the crash, and whether the victim was in a car, the bus driver, or a bus passenger.
If you have suffered severe Albany bus accident injuries, you need to consult with an attorney. You should also consult with a lawyer if you are unsure about whether your injuries warrant legal action. It’s better to know than to miss out on the opportunity to recover compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.
Examples of bus accident injuries we handle at Finkelstein & Partners include:
Some broken bones heal quickly without long-term physical consequences. Yet, other times severe fractures, especially multiple broken bones or multiple fractures in the same bone, make it less likely that bus accident victims will recover completely from their injuries. Treatment for fractures includes mobilization, physical therapy, and sometimes one or more surgeries. In the most severe cases, bus accident victims face lifelong discomfort and pain at the site of their injuries.
Bus accidents can lead to direct and indirect head trauma that sometimes causes traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Even the mildest concussion can have lifelong effects for accident victims.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who suffer a TBI potentially face long-term struggles with:
- Memory, logical reasoning, and other functions related to thinking
- Vision, balance, numbness, tingling, ringing in the ears, and other functions related to the senses
- Communication, expressing ideas and feelings, and understanding ideas and feelings
- Anxiety, depression, anger, social appropriateness, increased aggression, and other struggles related to personality and emotions
Brain injuries are especially dangerous and sometimes hard to detect in infants and young children, whose brains do not develop until age 20. Sometimes parents do not notice the symptoms of a brain injury until their child misses one or more important developmental milestones.
Bus accident victims can suffer a wide range of neck injuries, including soft-tissue injuries and damage to the vertebrae in the neck. The force of a crash causes the neck to move back and forth, often leading to injuries.
Neck sprains and strains often referred to as minor whiplash, typically heal completely with proper rest and care. Torn soft tissue in the neck and fractured neck vertebrae can lead to chronic pain and discomfort for accident victims. Recurring migraines or headaches are especially common among those with severe neck injuries.
Even the most minor back injuries from a bus accident can have a lasting impact on someone’s life. Back pain, no matter how severe, makes it difficult for accident victims to find comfort while sitting, standing, or lying down. In severe cases, bus accident victims who suffer back injuries must undergo one or more surgeries to fix broken vertebrae, bulging discs, and other maladies related to the spine. Surgery alleviates pain for some, but others still face a lifetime of pain management to cope with their injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Suffering a spinal cord injury in a bus accident is among the most costly and devastating injuries someone can experience. Spinal cord cells do not regenerate and heal the same way other cells do. Minor spinal cord injuries cause swelling and bruising, sometimes leading to a full recovery once the swelling subsides.
However, many spinal cord injuries involve injuries that lead to permanent functional loss. The injury’s location along the spinal column plays the largest role in determining the loss someone faces. As a general rule of thumb, injuries closer to the brain result in the most loss. For example, someone who suffers a spinal cord injury in their neck faces paralysis from the neck down, commonly referred to as tetraplegia.
Bus accident victims can suffer an amputation. They are rare, but when they occur, victims face massive physical pain and emotional trauma from losing a limb. Bus accidents create conditions where passengers or those in other vehicles sometimes get pinned under a seat or steering column. This leads to one or more crushed limbs, especially legs.
Emergency responders and doctors do everything possible to restore blood flow to the affected area. However, sometimes saving the limb is not possible. In these cases, doctors must make the tough decision to amputate to prevent infection from spreading throughout the body. Amputation leads to permanent scars, and many amputees face psychological struggles, such as phantom limb pain.
Most Albany Bus Accidents Occur Because of Negligence
Buses continue to be the safest form of ground transportation. Yet, each year thousands of crashes occur across the United States, resulting in thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities. According to the FMCSA, 13 percent of fatal bus accidents occur on intercity buses, about 40 percent of fatal bus accidents occur on school buses, and 35 percent of fatal crashes occur on transit buses.
Bus accidents are comparatively rare compared to other traffic accidents, but most occur because of negligence. Careless practices by bus drivers, bus companies, and other drivers lead to preventable and dangerous accidents. Negligent actions and behaviors that lead to dangerous bus accidents include:
Bus drivers in Albany and throughout the United States must hold a commercial drivers’ license (CDL), which means they must comply with federal driving laws and New York driving laws, including the ban on handheld electronic devices while driving.
Cell phone use is typically the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of distracted driving, but it’s doubtful you will see an Albany bus driver use a cell phone. However, bus drivers face a wide range of other distractions—some of which they can control. Examples include unruly passengers, eating, drinking, and watching an event outside the bus. Other distracted motorists can also cause a bus accident that includes multiple vehicles.
Sometimes bus accidents occur because other drivers cause an accident. Many drivers in cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles get impatient when they have to wait for buses to stop and go. Some drive recklessly or aggressively and improperly pass stopped buses or fail to yield when a bus driver has the right-of-way.
Aggressive driving is especially dangerous for school children when they exit and enter a bus and on busy Albany streets like Central Avenue. Bus drivers can be guilty of reckless driving, but it’s more common among those that share the road.
Ignoring Traffic Control Devices
Bus drivers and other motorists often do not intentionally ignore traffic control devices. Yet, distracted drivers who miss a stoplight, stop sign, yield sign, or other traffic control device put bus passengers and others at risk for a dangerous collision.
These crashes usually occur at intersections, and at least one of the vehicles is traveling at the full posted speed limit, making them especially dangerous. Drivers in passenger vehicles who ignore stop-arms on Albany school buses risk striking a child crossing the road during pick-up or drop-off.
Poor Maintenance Practices
In Albany, the city owns the school buses for the City School District of Albany and the Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA). Bus owners, including the City of Albany, have a legal duty to maintain their buses in roadworthy conditions. This includes regular inspections, preventative maintenance, and fixing any known issues.
Buses that do not receive proper maintenance can break down at a critical point, cause drivers to lose control, and lead to serious bus accidents. Simple things like changing tires, filling up fluids, and servicing brakes sometimes make the difference between life and death for bus passengers.
Every motorized vehicle has a weight limit, including buses. Overweight buses and other vehicles are difficult to control, making it more likely for drivers to get in an accident. Overcrowded buses translate to dangerous overweight buses. Regular school bus and CDTA routes rarely suffer from overcrowding. However, special events might overcrowd CDTA buses, and private charter bus companies do not always follow the rules.
Poor Employment Practices
The City of Albany, school districts, bus companies, and any organization that hires bus drivers has a legal duty to hire qualified bus drivers. Those who do not have the skills they need must undergo additional training.
Holding a CDL does not substitute for training and experience. Bus drivers have far more responsibilities than truck drivers. They must keep passengers safe and deal with continuous stopping and starting in heavy traffic. Only experience and practice allow drivers to perfect these skills.
Bus companies and others who hire unqualified or inexperienced drivers or do not adequately train new drivers face liability for damages if one of their drivers causes a bus accident.
Albany Bus Accident FAQs
Many factors could cause a bus accident. Some are the driver’s fault, some the company’s fault, and some are a third party’s fault. Although the weather causes some accidents, the driver often has a hand in that type of accident.
Causes of bus accidents include:
- Distracted driving.
- Driving under the influence.
- Reckless and/or aggressive driving.
- Another driver driving distracted, under the influence, or recklessly.
- In some cases, the driver is driving too fast for conditions, while in other cases, the driver might do everything right and still reck the bus.
- Poorly maintained roads.
- Poor maintenance.
- Incorrect installation of parts.
- Manufacturing defects for the bus and/or aftermarket parts.
Many people could share in the responsibility for your damages, including:
- Another driver on the road.
- The bus manufacturer.
- Aftermarket parts manufacturers.
- The auto technician who repaired the bus if they improperly installed parts or knowingly installed defective parts.
- The bus company.
- A town, county, or state that did not properly maintain roads.
When you retain an Albany bus accident lawyer, your legal team will investigate the accident, including learning who might be at fault for the accident.
You have up to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in most cases. However, you should always contact an Albany bus accident lawyer as soon after the accident as possible.
Evidence tends to disappear soon after an accident. The defendant could destroy evidence without knowing it or purposely. If the defendant repairs the bus, the repairs could destroy evidence just as much as if the defendant intentionally destroyed it. The weather could also erode evidence. And the police could unknowingly destroy evidence.
You could also misplace evidence if you wait too long. You might lose medical bills or even forget pertinent facts that could help your case.
Finally, the defendant could argue that you did not take legal action immediately because your injuries are not as severe as you claimed.
You can take several steps to help protect your rights after a bus accident:
- Check on other drivers and call first responders.
- Take photos of the interior of the bus if the wreck threw people and belongings around if you were a passenger on the bus.
- Take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident.
- If a bus crashed into you, take pictures of the bus accident from all angles. Be sure to take photos of any damage to nearby property and the road.
- Obtain the driver’s license, registration, and insurance information, including the driver’s regular license and CDL license information.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses. You can also ask witnesses what they saw.
- Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over at the scene.
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if your injuries seem minor. In many cases, injuries take hours or even days to manifest.
- Contact an Albany bus accident lawyer as soon as possible, even if you are still in the hospital.
- Obtain copies of the police report.
Any documentation you can get at the time of the accident could be helpful to your case, especially since you will not have any control over the evidence or what happens to it.
Once you retain an Albany bus accident lawyer, your legal team starts investigating the accident, including visiting the accident scene. Your legal team will also begin gathering evidence, including any photos you took, your medical records, and any records from the bus company, including driver logs and maintenance records.
In short, because insurance companies are not honest. They are in business to make money. Paying out claims means they lose profits. Thus, insurance companies will do anything to deny your claim or offer you as little as possible.
Insurance companies use several tricks on unsuspecting accident victims, including twisting their words to blame the accident on the victim.
Another trick the insurance company uses is admitting that its client is at fault and then offering you a settlement. The trick is that the insurance company will never offer you the compensation you deserve. It hopes that you will believe it is honest with you and accept its pittance.
Finally, you do not need the hassle of going back and forth with the insurance company while you are trying to recover. Leave that stress to an Albany bus accident attorney.
Yes. Bus drivers must abide by the hours of service regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A bus driver can only drive 10 hours after an 8-hour break. Furthermore, a driver cannot drive after being on duty for 15 hours. On duty means driving time and working time, such as cleaning the bus or doing paperwork.
Finally, a driver cannot drive more than 60 hours in seven days or more than 70 hours in eight days.
A bus passenger could suffer many types of injuries depending on the circumstances.
Injuries might include:
- Bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts, and scratches.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Crushed bones.
- Crush injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Road rash.
- Chemical and thermal burns.
- Internal injuries.
- Ear injuries, including deafness, if the accident causes an explosion.
You could also suffer from secondary injuries, such as infections, especially if you have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, immunodeficiencies, or are taking medications and/or treatments that lower your white blood cell count.
If the accident caused additional injuries to pre-existing conditions, the defendant can also be held responsible for those injuries. Although you already had a condition, you would not have the medical expenses and the additional pain and suffering that caused your injury or condition to worsen if not for the bus accident and the actions or inactions of the defendant.
Many people that first retain our firm ask how much their case is worth. No attorney can estimate your damages without investigating your case and knowing the extent of your injuries. However, an attorney can tell you what others received in settlements or jury trials in similar cases as yours. That, however, does not mean you will get that amount—you might get less or more.
You could recover compensatory damages in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages after a bus accident.
Sometimes called special damages, economic damages have a monetary value. The court orders a defendant to pay economic damages to make you financially whole again. Economic damages include:
After a bus accident, you could have a plethora of medical expenses. Since you did not cause the accident, neither you nor your insurance company should come out of pocket for your injuries and other damages.
Medical expenses might include:
- Doctor’s appointments.
- Surgeries and follow-up appointments.
- Prescriptions and doctor-prescribed over-the-counter medications.
- Ambulatory aids.
- Occupational therapy appointments.
- Cognitive therapy appointments.
- Physical therapy appointments.
- Psychological therapy appointments.
- Hand controls for your vehicle.
- Updates to your home, including but not limited to wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, grab bars, and handrails.
- Medical equipment you might need at home, including oxygen machines and/or tanks or shower chairs.
- Home health care aids.
- The cost of living in a rehab facility or nursing home.
Depending on your injuries, you might lose work for a few weeks or the rest of your life. The defendant can be responsible for paying lost wages, even if you are out of work for a few weeks. If your injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities, you could recover loss of future earning capacity through the time you would normally retire.
The defendant may need to pay for the damage or destruction of personal property, including your vehicle and anything on your person or in your vehicle, such as cell phones and computers.
If a bus accident caused the death of a loved one, the family may recover:
- Any medical expenses the decedent incurred.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses.
- The cost of a probate attorney and/or probate filing costs and certain other probate costs.
Sometimes called general damages, non-economic damages do not have a monetary value. The court, however, orders the defendant to pay non-economic damages in an attempt to make the victim whole again. While the money does not take away your pain or bring back a loved one, it can help you financially.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress. In some cases, an accident could have been so traumatic that a person suffers from psychological issues in addition to physical issues, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Loss of quality of life if you have to change your lifestyle, such as taking prescription medications or using ambulatory aids for the rest of your life. Even insignificant changes are something you did not have to do before the accident and could inconvenience you, so you should receive compensation for that inconvenience.
- Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy time with your family or participate in family activities and events.
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a foot or an arm.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as your hearing, eyesight, or bladder control.
- Loss of independence. In many cases, accident victims can no longer perform chores around the house. You deserve compensation to replace the money you have to spend to have someone do your grocery shopping, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, and even home repair and maintenance you might have done in the past.
- Amputation of a digit or a limb, whether the amputation happens during the accident or a doctor must amputate because they cannot save a limb.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement, such as the scarring you suffer after severe burns or disfigurement because of broken bones.
Our bus accident attorneys provide a free initial case evaluation without obligation. If you retain a personal injury attorney, they often work on a contingency basis. That means that they do not get paid unless they win or settle your case for you. During your initial case evaluation, you will go over the contingency contract, which outlines the fees and other costs and when the attorney would get paid.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a bus accident, contact an Albany bus accident attorney as soon as possible.
Get the Legal Help You Need After an Albany Bus Accident
If you or your child has suffered injuries in an Albany bus accident, you need to focus on healing and recovery. Let the experienced personal injury lawyers at Finkelstein & Partners handle the details of your claim and help you seek compensation for damages. Contact us today online or at (518) 452-2813 for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your bus accident.