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Can I Get No-Fault Benefits as a Passenger in a New York Bus Accident?

Can I Get No-Fault Benefits as a Passenger in a New York Bus Accident?

Many New Yorkers rely on public buses to get to and from work, school, and home each day — MTA, NYCTA, and NICE buses are common transportation methods. Since many New York City residents don’t have cars, they might also rely on private buses, charter buses, and tour buses to get out of town for a day trip or vacation. Although busses are convenient, they’re not always safe. Hundreds of bus accidents occur each year throughout the city. If you suffer injuries as a passenger on a bus, you may be entitled to No-Fault benefits to help cover your medical care costs.

“Use and Operation” to Invoke No-Fault for New York City Bus Accidents
Since buses are considered common carriers, bus operators, drivers, and companies owe a duty of reasonable care to passengers. Buses must be adequately maintained, and drivers must exercise appropriate caution to avoid accidents.

Every bus accident has different circumstances. An insurance company will consider particular facts when determining whether No-Fault for a bus accident is applicable. Generally, a bus passenger may be able to receive No-Fault benefits if their injuries arose from the “use and operation” of the bus. This means that you may be entitled to No-Fault benefits for injuries resulting from instances such as sudden and jarring stops or reckless driving.

While No-Fault may not cover certain instances — such as trip and falls while the bus is at a full stop — you may still be able to pursue a personal injury action to recover your damages.

Applying for Bus Passenger No-Fault Benefits
If you were injured on a bus due to an accident, the clock starts ticking from the date of the accident to apply for No-Fault benefits — you have a window of just 30 days. The process involves filing an “NF-2” application with the appropriate insurance company. This document provides personal details and information about how the accident occurred and the injuries you sustained.

You must send the NF-2 application to the correct insurance company to avoid having your No-Fault benefits claim denied. If you or someone else in your household owns a vehicle, you MUST send the NF-2 to your own auto insurance company, even if you were a passenger on the bus — this No-Fault law often surprises bus accident victims. However, your auto insurance company must provide these benefits under the law, if you are entitled to them. If no one in your household owns a vehicle, the NF-2 application should be sent to the insurer for the bus company.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Action for a Bus Accident
Regardless of whether you are entitled to No-Fault benefits for a bus accident, you can still pursue a personal injury action if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. No-Fault will cover your medical costs up to $50,000 and 80% of lost wages up to $2,000 a month — this may not adequately compensate you for your injuries. In a personal injury action, you
may be able to recover damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium in addition to medical expenses and lost wages.

It is essential to be aware that filing for No-Fault benefits is an entirely separate process from filing a personal injury claim. If your accident involves an MTA, NYCTA, NICE, or another city bus, you must file a notice of claim within 90 days to preserve your right to pursue a personal injury action, even if you filed a No-Fault claim with that company’s insurance carrier. In addition, for personal injury actions involving a city bus, you only have one year and 90 days to commence an action.

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you were in a bus accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately who can protect your legal rights and advise you of your legal remedies. A personal injury attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, and time lost from work.

The Popick Law Firm has over thirty years of experience in obtaining compensation for victims of bus accidents. Located in Fresh Meadows, NY, The Popick Law Firm handles personal injury cases in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact The Popick Law Firm today for a consultation.