On November 12, 2012, a Martz Trailways bus headed to New York City rear-ended a New Jersey Transit bus near the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel. The Martz Trailways bus originated in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania in the Poconos at about 5:15 a.m. It seated fifty-five passengers, but the number of passengers at the time of accident is not known. The New Jersey Transit bus had approximately forty-five passengers and a driver.
Both buses were disabled and had to be towed from the scene. The resulting tunnel closure lasted until 10:30 a.m., causing major delays in both directions. Twenty bus passengers were injured by the crash. Three passengers were removed from the buses while strapped to backboards, with two of the injuries classified as serious.
Bus accidents may be more common than you realize. Approximately 19,000 people are injured by bus accidents each year. New York has one of the highest rates of bus accidents in the country. School buses account for 39% of the fatalities related to bus accidents, while municipal buses are responsible for 37%. Unfortunately, with the number of passengers in a bus generally in excess of forty people, bus accidents usually have a large number of injuries. And the lack of safety restraints mean that injuries in a bus accident may be more serious than those sustained in a similar car accident.
There are many reasons for bus accidents. Buses are very large and heavy, making them difficult to drive. Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers have been a major factor in many bus accidents. In addition, drivers who are overly tired or distracted, like those driving charter buses for long distances, cause a significant number of accidents. The condition of a bus may cause many accidents, especially the braking system required to stop such a large vehicle.
If you are injured in a bus accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit for payment of medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, disfigurement and emotional distress. In fact, bus accidents may occur while riding a bus, walking on a street and being hit by a bus, or driving a car and having a bus hit your car. Bus accidents may sustain terrible injuries to passengers, pedestrians and riders in other vehicles. Many bus accident victims sustain brain and spinal cord injuries, sprains, fractures, internal and soft tissue injuries, burn injuries and even death.
Buses are considered common carriers. A common carrier is a company that offers transportation to the general public without discrimination under license or authority from a regulatory body. Common carriers owe a greater obligation to provide a higher level of safety to its passengers. If a personal injury occurs because the bus company was not in compliance with safety regulations, the bus company will have total liability for personal injuries. Liability issues in bus accidents often involve driver negligence, driver training, inadequate security, dangerous roadways, weather conditions, defective products, drunk driving or improper maintenance.