Buses, with their large size, pose a risk for those in passenger vehicles. On the other hand, the lack of seat belts and airbags puts the occupants of the buses in danger, too. New York residents who are involved in a bus accident should know about the laws and regulations around the filing of a claim.
First of all, many buses are owned by local or state government entities, and this may provide the drivers with the protection granted by sovereign immunity. This refers to the government entity’s immunity from lawsuits. Plaintiffs have to comply with certain strict procedural requirements; only then can the entity consent to a lawsuit. If the drivers themselves are injured, they may receive the benefit of an accelerated claims procedure.
It’s also important to know what the statute of limitations is. In New York, a person has 90 days to file a notice of claim, or notification of one’s intention to sue, when injured in an accident involving a city’s transportation system. If injured at the hands of a private individual, a person has three years.
Another thing to remember is that states may place a cap on damages. This is especially the case regarding non-economic damages like pain and suffering, loss of support, and loss of consortium. A similar cap may exist for punitive damages.
Those who are injured in government-owned bus accidents may want to see a lawyer before the 90-day period passes them by. That way, they may learn how strong a case they have and how much they might be eligible for in compensatory damages. If retained, the lawyer might hire third parties to investigate the crash and determine the extent of injuries. Victims may have their lawyers negotiate on their behalf for a settlement covering medical expenses, lost wages and more.