NFTA Bus Accidents – What You Need To Know
Each year, many people are hurt in NFTA bus accidents. Rules for getting medical bills paid, or lost wage payments due to bus accidents are complicated. So is the process of suing the bus company. Under New York State law, the bus company has many privileges that regular people do not have. As such, if you are hurt in an NFTA Metro bus accident you should talk to a Buffalo personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Recovering no-fault benefits or bringing an NFTA bus lawsuit can be problematic. The Buffalo accident attorneys at Feroleto Law are experienced in claims and lawsuits against the NFTA and NFTA Metro bus company, the Niagara Frontier Metro Transit Authority.
Under New York law, the bus company, the Niagara Frontier Transit Metro System, Inc. (also called the NFTA Metro) has special privileges. One such privilege is that it gets to write the accident reports for its bus crashes. This is different from when another car driver causes an accident with you. In a car versus car accident, typically a local Police Department will complete the report. For example, the New York State Police investigate and complete an accident report in certain situations, such as those that occur on the New York State 90 and 190 Thruways.
However, under special rules the bus company, the NFTA bus company, can have its own investigators perform the accident investigation, instead of the local police such as the Buffalo police, Amherst police, Cheektowaga police, etc. You may feel like you are already starting behind the eight ball when the bus company is describing how the accident happened, or the cause of the accident between your car and a bus.
It gets worse. If you are a passenger on a bus, making a claim for payment of medical bills or lost wages, the bus company is granted a special right under law to take your written statement. Under normal circumstances, if you are injured in a car crash and need to apply for no-fault benefits, the insurance company is not seeking to take your written statement. When taking your statement, the bus company investigator will ask questions and may phrase questions or your answers in a way most favorable to the bus company. The bus company investigator may write down what you are saying in a way favorable to the bus company. Before giving a statement, you should talk to a Buffalo personal-injury attorney experienced in bus accident lawsuits.
Another privilege the NFTA bus company has is that there are strict time limits to file a lawsuit for injuries suffered as a result of a crash involving an NFTA bus. The bus company, the Niagara Frontier Transit Metro System, Inc. is a separate affiliated company of the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority. The Niagara Frontier Transit Authority operates the Buffalo Niagara Airport, the Niagara Falls Airport, and owns property. You should determine if a notice of claim is necessary, before bringing a lawsuit. Notice of claim must be filed promptly. You should talk to a lawyer familiar with personal injury accidents to determine if a notice of claim is necessary in your case. You should get advice on the statute of limitations (the time in which you may bring a lawsuit) which applies in your situation.
Even when you timely notify the bus company of your injuries and explain the negligence or carelessness, which caused the bus crash or injury, the bus company will likely dispute your description of the bus accident and the description of your injuries your doctor provides.
Frequently passenger injuries are caused when the bus driver accelerates suddenly while the bus passenger is attempting to get to his or her seat. Short stop or sudden stop injuries occur when there is insufficient room allowed to stop the bus. Sometimes it is not the bus driver’s fault.
You should know that the NFTA buses have cameras recording the inside and outside of the bus. The bus company should have a written policy on saving the video recording of injury incidents, so responsibility can be shown. Unfortunately, on occasions the bus company has not kept the recordings of the incidents. The bus company also should have a written policy identifying under what circumstances they will keep or retain the video recordings of injuries or accidents. If you are involved in a bus accident, you should immediately request that the NFTA Metro retain any video recording of the accident, whether it is bus accident with a car or other vehicle, or passenger injury within the bus.
Under New York no-fault law when there is an accident with two cars or trucks, the insurance company for the vehicle you are in would pay no-fault medical and lost wage benefits. However again, the bus company has special privilege. If you are passenger in a bus and are injured because of bus company’s negligence or carelessness, you must apply for no-fault benefits from your own auto insurance company, or the auto insurance company of a member of your household. Yes, it is understandable that it can be confusing.
You should talk to a bus accident attorney as soon as possible after a bus crash.
If you have no vehicle insurance of your own and there is no vehicle owned by another member of your household, then, the bus company must pay your no-fault lost wages and pay for your medical care. However, New York State regulations allow the bus company to direct you to a doctor of their choosing for what is called an “independent medical exam” or IME. Frequently, the bus company doctor will provide an opinion contrary to your own doctor. Based on its own doctor’s opinion, the bus company can deny payment of your medical bills or no-fault lost wage benefits. This is true even if your primary doctor or specialist feel you need further treatment or that it is inappropriate for you to return to work. The bus company can use its doctor’s opinion to stop all payments of lost wages and medical bills.
If you have been injured in a bus accident, you should call a personal-injury attorney as soon as possible. The bus accident lawyers at Feroleto Law are experienced in dealing with bus accidents with the NFTA Metro and with long-distance bus companies, private bus companies, and coach bus companies. You can reach personal-injury attorneys who handle bus accident lawsuits by contacting us through this website or calling us for confidential free consultation at 716-854-0700