Recent Appellate Court Rulings Favor NYC Bus Injury Victims
Passengers on city buses have legal recourse if they are injured due to negligence by bus drivers and other employees of the New York City Transit Authority. Three recent decisions by the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division clarify some of the standards of proof applied in these cases and identify specific examples where the NYCTA can be held liable.
The cases involved serious injuries arising from situations that bus passengers in the five boroughs see all the time. The issues concerned were:
- Awareness of hazardous condition — The Appellate Division upheld a $2 million jury verdict for a woman hurt on a city bus. While trying to exit, her right shoe got stuck in a hole in one of the steps leading to the door and she fell down the steps. She testified that the hazard did not look as if it was “freshly created.” However, there were no maintenance records in evidence that might have shed light on how long the hole was there. Following a review of the trial evidence and the jury charge, the appeals panel ruled that there was sufficient support for the verdict.
- Injury caused by sudden braking — Under New York common carrier law, a plaintiff allegedly hurt by a suddenly braking city bus must show that the stop was “unusual and violent” in order to recover damages. In a recently decided case, the plaintiff alleged the driver slammed on the brakes after his bus had been cut off by another vehicle. The trial court rejected the claim, finding the incident stemmed from the “jerks and jolts commonly associated with everyday travel.” The Appellate Division reversed the decision, holding that the city had not disproved the assertion that the braking was unusual and violent.
- Passenger released between stops at an unsafe location — When a bus driver deviated from operating rules to let off a passenger between stops, and the passenger exited via the open rear door and stepped into a pothole, a negligence claim might have prevailed, the Appellate Division ruled, reversing a defense verdict that was based on an incorrect jury instruction.
Taking on the MTA following a mass transit accident can be a complicated process for injury victims. Retaining a lawyer with significant experience in these cases maximizes the likelihood of collecting fair compensation for medical costs, lost income and other damages.
Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson litigates cases stemming from injuries that occur due to accidents involving city buses, trains and other vehicles. Please call 888.746.8212 or contact us online for a free consultation if you or someone you love has been hurt in this way.