An MTA bus was in a major accident around 3:55 PM on Wednesday, leaving 23 injured. According to the Daily News, the bus crash was part of a three car pileup that took place on Utica Ave and Clarendon Road in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. While charges have yet to be filed, police are still investigating the causes of the accident.
According to police, the crash occurred when a BMW heading south on Utica Avenue struck a Nissan Altima exiting a parking lot. After striking the Altima, the BMW careened into the path of an oncoming B46 bus. The two crashes left the front end of the BMW a crumpled wreck. The accident caused injuries to 23 individuals, 16 of which were treated at the scene of the accident, and three—all passengers in the BMW—are reportedly “clinging to life” in critical condition. While charges have yet to be filed by police, numerous legal actions could quickly follow from the injured individuals.
This accident presents a unique legal situation as injuries were sustained by individuals in each vehicle. Anyone injured in this accident may have grounds to file a lawsuit to recoup any monetary damages suffered in the accident. In order to have grounds for a claim however, the injured individual must be able to prove that the driver(s) who caused the crash acted negligently and was directly responsible for their injury. Additionally, the injured party must also be able to prove that the accident was directly responsible for any economic or non-economic damages they may have suffered. Due to the fact that the accident involved three cars, who each passenger may be able to recoup compensation from may depend on which vehicle they were driving in:
- Bus Passengers: Passengers on the MTA Bus who suffered injuries in the accident may have grounds to file lawsuits against the driver of the bus, the bus company, and/or their insurance company. Additionally they may also have grounds to file suit against the drivers of either the Nissan or BMW and their insurance companies.
- BMW Passengers: The passengers who suffered injuries in the BMW may have grounds to file suit against the driver of the BMW and their insurance company, the driver of the Nissan and their insurance company, or the bus driver and the MTA. Additionally The driver of the BMW may be have grounds to file suit against the driver of the Nissan and their insurance company and the driver of the bus and MTA.
- Nissan Driver: The driver of the Nissan may have grounds to recoup compensation from the driver of the BMW for any economically damaging injuries or damage to their vehicle.
It should be noted that while all of the aforementioned scenarios are possible in theory, not all will be a reality. In order to have grounds for a claim the injured parties must be able to prove that one or more of the drivers acted negligently and that that negligence was directly responsible for the accident and subsequent injury. Due to the fact that three vehicles were involved in the accident, it is highly unlikely that all three drivers were negligent; limiting injured passengers’ potential legal options. For instance, if it’s determined that only the Nissan’s driver acted negligently, then the injured passengers in the bus and BMW will likely only be able to recoup compensation from the negligent driver and their insurance company. Additionally, as mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind that only individuals who suffered economic damage directly resulting from the accident may be eligible to recoup compensation for their injuries.
While negligence and economic loss are essential to having a valid auto accident lawsuit, any individual who has suffered an injury in such an accident—even a minor one—should immediately seek the counsel of an attorney with experience handling vehicle accident claims. Determining liability in these types of accidents is often a complex process. As a result, it is important that injured individuals retain an attorney who has experience dealing with the complexities of car and bus accident lawsuits. An experienced attorney will investigate all aspects of the accident, including reviewing the police reports, interviewing witnesses, and hiring investigators who are experienced in determining liability in these types of cases.