Types of School Bus Accidents and Injuries

Serving Clients in Trenton, Princeton, Pennington, Lawrence, and East Windsor NJ in all Matters Related to Personal Injury Cases.

Types of School Bus Accidents and Injuries AttorneysSchool bus-related accidents cause approximately 137 deaths per year, leaving hundreds of other people injured. However, there are years when this figure climbs higher. In November 2016, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 30 children were injured, and five others died in a school bus collision. The bus driver was identified as a 24-year-old male who was apparently speeding before the bus flipping over and crashing against a tree, being this a single-vehicle accident.

School bus accidents not only endanger our children’s safety while riding local buses. The school bus is, in fact, the safest place to be if a school-bus related tragedy were to happen. Deaths resulting from school bus collisions between 2001-2010 impacted 72% of the passengers and drivers of other vehicles compared to only 7% of people traveling inside school buses, having the remaining percentage represented by cyclists and pedestrians.

Growing figures of property damage, injuries, and death resulting from school bus accidents can be classified into three main types.

School Bus Collision Against Another Vehicle

Other motor vehicles are involved in nearly 75% of all school bus accident tragedies. An average family car is much lighter and smaller than a school bus, which is basically a truck, causing large damage and considerable injuries.

School bus routes are used during mornings and afternoons, affecting the regular traffic, slowing it down, and forcing other drivers to navigate otherwise easy-flowing roads. In other words, running late in your regular commute having a bus in front of you means the speed limit will drop to only 15 mph instead of the typical 45mph, including several stops to pick up or drop off children.

School bus drivers are sometimes found at fault for these motor vehicle accidents due to reckless driving, causing injuries such as fractured bones, whiplash syndrome, and even death.

School Bus Accident Involving Pedestrians

One cyclist or pedestrian is hit and killed by a moving school bus approximately once a month in the U.S. If the victim survives, they might suffer from extensive injuries ranging from fractured bones to paralysis. Whether you are a pedestrian or a vehicle driver, Complying with road safety regulations becomes of utmost importance during the school year (in-person school sessions).

Although crossing guards regulate traffic, they often halt traffic randomly filling the road with pedestrians. Pedestrians and cyclists could very easily get impacted by a distracted bus driver or a driver rolling through a stop sign, especially considering a large bus offers very poor visibility at a close range.

Bus Occupants Involved In School Bus Accidents

On average, over 23 million children in the U.S. are transported by school buses daily, and studies report that up to 17,000 injuries happen yearly inside those buses. Nearly 42% of the injuries result from actual school bus accidents, meaning that a larger percentage of the injuries are only minor scraping and bruising when occupants get on or off the bus or because of the bus not being in optimal conditions.

Bus Occupants Involved In School Bus AccidentsChildren between 11 and 14 years old sustained approximately half of the injuries, abrasions, strains, head injuries, and sprains shown as the most common ones. Unfortunately, nearly 7% of all school bus incident-related injuries happening onboard result in a child’s death.

Options are available to protect your family and children from situations that seem too hard to prevent, like school bus accidents. Study road regulations applicable to your state, avoid distractions while driving, maintain a safe distance from school buses traveling on the same road as you.

Learn more about personal injury claims and what they entail here: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_issues_for_consumers/personalinjury/

Contact our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free and Confidential Consultation

If you or your child are the victims of a tragic school bus accident, either as a pedestrian, cyclist, bus occupant, or another vehicle driver, you might have a personal injury or wrongful death claim; you are entitled to seek legal advice to discuss how to better recover from your losses.

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson,  we pridefully represent clients, including towns like Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area. Whether you or your child was injured in a school bus accident, do not let a personal injury or wrongful death claim affect your life.

You can call us at 609.528.2596 or contact us through our online contact form.

Who Will Pay My Medical Bills If I Am Hit By a Car While On My Bicycle? 

Serving injured clients in Trenton, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, and across the greater Mercer County area

Who Will Pay My Medical Bills If I Am Hit By a Car While On My Bicycle? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety keeps track of fatality statistics for various highway accidents, including bicyclists. Focusing on 2018 in particular, the data suggests some key facts for cyclists to consider while riding on the streets.

First, over 60% of the fatalities in 2018 were experienced while a cyclist was not wearing a helmet. Not all of these fatalities were necessary due to head injuries. However, the difference is relatively obvious and points to the fact that, in most cases, you are safer wearing a helmet than riding without one.

Second, 20% of the fatalities in 2018 occurred when a cyclist was intoxicated.  Alcohol and drugs are well-known to have a negative effect on various motor functions and critical judgment and therefore increase the risk of harm during an accident.

Third and finally, bicycle fatalities occurred primarily from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day. More than half (54%) of accidents happened during these hours, in which visibility is most likely reduced due to darkness.

If you are in a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, it is important to know how your medical bills will be covered and by whom.  An attorney can help guide you through the process, which can be complex at times.

In New Jersey, who will pay my medical bills?

New Jersey’s car insurance system is unlike most other states in that it is a no-fault system. In many other states, the insurer for the driver at fault is expected to cover all injuries in an accident. Still, New Jersey requires car insurance policies to include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. The first source of compensation for any injured driver is their own policy’s PIP coverage.

While no-fault coverage means there is less of a need to determine fault in minor accidents, the no-fault system has some complicated features of its own. For that reason, it is still a good idea for anyone who has been injured in a car accident to contact a lawyer before accepting any settlements.

Normally, these laws would prevent you from suing for non-economic losses unless certain limits are met for the injuries you sustain. However, New Jersey uniquely requires that standard auto insurance policies include the right to purchase an unlimited right to sue, which allows you to sue for non-economic losses without limitation.

If you do not have an auto insurance policy that can cover you, whether it belongs to you or a relative in your household, then you generally have the right to sue. This is because you do not have PIP benefits to cover medical expenses regardless of fault, and as such, must seek compensation from liable parties in a bicycle accident. In these cases, the liable party’s PIP benefits will be used to pay for your losses.

Who pays my medical bills if I am in Pennsylvania?

When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, if that pedestrian owns a car, the insurance company for that vehicle will be responsible for the medical bills to whatever the medical limit is on that policy.  If the cyclist does not own a car but lives with a resident relative who owns a vehicle, the insurance policy on that car will provide medical coverage up to its medical limits.  If the cyclist does not own a car or live with a family member who does and is not covered by an automobile insurance policy, the cyclist can get his bills paid under the insurance policy issued to any of the drivers involved in the accident.

Sometimes more than 1 vehicle is involved in a car accident. The insurance policy on any of these vehicles can be looked to for medical coverage, even if that vehicle never made contact with the cyclist. This becomes important because some of the vehicles on the road are uninsured, so the cyclist can look to any of the cars involved in the accident to get their medical bills paid.  The minimum coverage for medical bills in Pennsylvania is $5,000.00, and most of the policies are written with these limits in place.

The above answer seems counter-intuitive, but Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning that if you are in a bike accident, the above are the priorities set out by the legislature as to how your medical bills get paid. Although this answer angers many people, slightly adjust the facts, making more sense. What if the cyclist turned in front of the car and caused the accident that injured him? Again, the same applies, and the cyclist’s own auto policy and/or a resident relative’s policy becomes primary for payment of medical bills.

What can Bikers do to stay safe?

Riding a bike is great exercise and an activity the whole family can enjoy. Like other activities, there are safety precautions you should take to avoid an injury or worse.

While injuries can happen anywhere, be especially cautious when riding on roadways where most bicycle-motor vehicle collisions occur. Follow these tips:

  1. What can Bikers do to stay safe?Always wear an approved bicycle helmet (head injuries are the greatest risks for cyclists!)
  2. Obey all the traffic laws and use hand signals so vehicles know where you are headed.
  3. Wear protective and reflective clothing for the best visibility.
  4. Make sure your bicycle has a headlight if riding at night.
  5. At night, use a reflective vest and additional lights on the back of your bicycle to make sure you are seen.
  6. Keep your eyes and ears open. Avoid using headphones and smartphones.  It would help if you focused on what is around you, and music can be distracting.
  7. More than 70 percent of bicycle crashes occur at driveways or intersections. Before you enter any street or intersection, check for traffic. Always look left, right, and left again before proceeding into the intersection.
  8. Obviously, never get on a bicycle if you are impaired, such as if you have been drinking alcohol.

Contact our Pedestrian Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation at our Little Falls Office

If you have been the victim of a bicycle accident or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, all legal aspects of your physical, financial, and emotional losses must be considered to protect your rights and secure justice.

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson,  we pridefully represent clients in Trenton, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, and across the greater Mercer County area. Whether you have suffered a personal injury or have been accused of injuring someone, do not let your injuries or an accusation of criminal wrongdoing change your life.

Contact Info our offices by calling  (609) 528-2596 today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

What Mercer County Cyclists Need to Know in the Event of an Accident

Serving Personal Injury and Auto accidents injured clients across New Jersey and Pennsylvania with offices in Trenton, Bensalem, and Philadelphia

What Cyclists Need to Know in the Event of an AccidentAny cyclist knows that sharing the roadway with motor vehicles can be dangerous.  Despite taking every precaution, such as wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws, and wearing appropriate attire, accidents happen. If a driver caused your injuries and is at fault, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and loss of past and future earnings.  Below, we will discuss some common causes of accidents involving cyclists and the negligent acts of others that may contribute to these accidents.

There are many causes of bicycle accidents.  Some accidents and injuries are due to rider error, while others are caused by motorists, objects in the roadway, and distractions. One of the most dangerous types of accidents that cause the most serious injuries involve motor vehicles.

Bicycle Accidents Caused by Motor Vehicles and Distracted Drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that thirty percent of all bicycle accidents occur with a motor vehicle. One of the main reasons for motor vehicle accidents is due to distracted drivers.

At any given time, if you pay attention to drivers as they pass by, you will see them talking on cell phones, eating, or playing with the radio. One of the most dangerous activities displayed by motorists is texting while driving. Studies have shown that one text will take a driver’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds.  Taking your eyes off the road for any length of time can cause major injuries and fatalities, but five seconds is an especially extreme amount of time when it comes to an unprotected cyclist.  Close your eyes, count to five slowly: Doing so demonstrates just how long five seconds really is.  One text could mean the difference between life or death for a cyclist.  Injuries caused by distractions are injuries that should never happen, as all drivers are required to pay careful attention to the roadway.  As a result, if a distracted driver causes an accident with a cyclist, the driver will be legally at fault and the cyclist may be eligible for financial compensation. While distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, it is not the only cause of collisions with cyclists.

Injuries to Cyclist due to Motorists Speeding and Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

Motorists can be at fault in other ways.  For example, in most residential neighborhoods in New Jersey, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour.   Motorists often disobey the posted speed limit and, in doing so, they demonstrate a lack of regard for the well-being of others. A driver has a responsibility to obey all traffic laws for his own safety, as well as for the safety of others on the roadway. Going over the speed limit can be considered reckless and careless in both civil and criminal court. If the motorist is taken to civil court, he or she would be at fault for something called operator liability. Similarly, drunk driving is yet another way in which drivers display reckless and careless behavior that may cause accidents and injury to cyclists.

Drunk Drivers Responsible For Cyclist and Pedestrian Injuries

Those that drive impaired or drink and drive are deemed to be operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner.  Anyone who drives impaired and causes injury to another will be liable for the injuries caused to another person because the court recognizes that, but for the drunk driving, there would be no injury.  For example, if you are riding your bicycle in the bike lane and a drunk driver swerves into your lane and hurts you, they are responsible. Evidence that the driver was impaired will serve as proof in a civil claim that the driver is at fault for your injuries and financial losses.

In the drunk driving example, it is easy to see how the driver would be responsible, but not all accidents involving cyclists are as egregious. Sometimes, they can be caused by simple mistakes made by drivers.  Often, drivers are hurrying from place to place and do not want to be slowed down by a bicyclist.  Sometimes, an accident is caused by something as simple as not giving a cyclist enough space or room to travel. Regardless, a driver is responsible if he or she fails to drive with reasonable care, thereby causing an accident.

Causes of Bike Accidents Not Involving Motor Vehicles

Contact Our Mercer County Cyclists Accident and Car Injury Attorneys TodayWhile motor vehicle accidents account for serious injuries to cyclists, they are not the only cause of accidents or injuries to cyclists.  There can be any number of reasons for cyclist accidents. For example, another cause of cyclist accidents is poor roadway conditions.  Potholes, loose or uneven pavement or objects in the roadway can cause cyclists to lose balance and fall.  Missing road signs or faulty signals can be to blame as well.  In other cases, the accident may have been caused by a faulty bicycle or part, meaning the manufacturer caused the bike to malfunction.

Whatever the reason for the injury, if you believe someone else is at fault, you should seek legal assistance.  Speaking with our experienced attorneys will help you determine the potential legal responsibility of another party and whether you may be entitled to a recovery.  While financial compensation cannot make up for the injuries suffered by you or a loved one, it can make a difference in your medical recovery and financial stability.

Contact Our Mercer County Injury Attorneys Today if Injured in a Bicycle Accident

There are many ways a bicycle accident can occur, and basically all of them can be devastating. If you or a loved one have suffered injury in a bike-related accident, contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson and discuss the particular details of your accident.

Reach out to our firm for a free consultation by filling our online contact application or through our Trenton, NJ office and calling at (609) 528-2596.