For many people in Bergen County, the use of public transportation is common. Buses, subways and trains are convenient - and often less expensive - ways for people to commute to work or run their daily errands. However, riding a bus does not necessarily reduce or extinguish a person's potential of being injured in a traffic accident.
Multiple passengers involved in a recent mass transit accident in Queens experienced this tragic reality. Sixteen passengers on an MTA bus were injured, four seriously, when a yellow school bus side-swept multiple cars, causing one of the cars to be launched into the MTA bus. The yellow school bus, which was not transporting any children at the time, did not stop after the accident occurred and police are still investigating the cause.
Buses and other modes of public transportation, which are known as "common carriers," owe a special responsibility to each of their passengers. Their drivers must exercise the highest degree of care. This means using extra caution and doing everything possible to ensure the safety of their passengers. This responsibility extends to not only the operator of the vehicle, but the owner as well, and both may be liable to victims of an accident involving these forms of public transportation. When accidents involving a common carrier occur, public transit authorities begin investigating as soon as possible, and victims should make sure that nothing is missed or overlooked during the investigation.
Although these forms of travel are convenient for passengers, it is incumbent upon the owners and operators of these vehicles to make the safety of their passengers the top priority. If an accident does occur, a victim must act quickly to obtain compensation, since the window of opportunity to bring a claim against the MTA is limited.