NEW YORK. Last month, the New York Times reported on a charter bus crash at an intersection in Flushing, Queens. The accident killed the driver, two other people, and left 16 people with injuries. Any accident is a terrible tragedy, but the charter bus accident has resulted in particularly strong outcry because it was later reported that the driver had been fired from his job from the M.T.A. after he left the scene of an accident on I-95 in New Haven. Further investigation into the charter bus company’s track record found that it was in the bottom 20 percent of bus companies due to the number of violations the company has amassed.
According to the New York Daily News, approximately 50% of all charter bus companies in New York were found to have poor driving track records. Families who purchase the low-cost tickets on sale from these companies may not always be aware of their drivers’ poor track records. New York City is currently looking into ways to increase safety in the charter bus industry.
Yet, the fact remains that the charter bus company had hired a driver who had been charged with leaving the scene of the accident. The company that hired him claimed that he had a license to drive in New York and that he also had a valid medical certificate. Yet, when the New York Times looked more closely into the situation, it learned that the company failed to let the state know that the driver was working for the charter company. Had the state been alerted, the driver may not have been permitted to keep working given his driving record. However, the investigation continues, and it isn’t clear whether the company was in violation of state or federal law.
The dangers present in the charter bus industry are not likely to improve until federal and local regulators change the law to protect passengers. A driver fired from the M.T.A. for poor driving should certainly not have been hired by a private company.
The fact remains that as long as dangerous drivers are able to operate commercial vehicles, that accidents will continue to happen and people will continue to get hurt. For many families, a personal injury lawsuit is the easiest way to raise awareness and to hold companies accountable when they fail to properly vet their drivers. What options do you have if you are hurt in an accident with a charter bus? First, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages under the law. Victims may be able to seek damages from the charter bus company itself and from other stakeholders involved in the accident. Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, L.L.P. are personal injury lawyers in New York who work closely with victims of crashes to help them seek the recovery they may deserve under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in New York, visit http://126.96.36.199/~aeelaw/ to learn more about your rights and options.