For passengers aboard a Parkchester-bound BxM6 bus, the evening of August 14, 2023 was no ordinary Monday in New York City.
Around 8:30 PM at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 48th Street, the MTA vehicle collided with an active bucket truck. The impact of the crash caused three of the bus’s windows to shatter completely, covering the streets in a blanket of glittering glass. Unfortunately, the glass confetti also sprayed straphangers. Eight people, including the construction worker who was operating the bucket truck and the MTA bus driver, suffered injuries as a result. The victims of the crash were taken to Bellevue and Weill Cornell Hospitals; the severity of their injuries is not currently known.
Bucket trucks, also known in the construction community as cherry pickers or lifts, are commonly used to provide elevated access to tricky areas or high places. According to a foreman, who told ABC7 that he had eyes on the scene of the crash, there were safety workers directing traffic to the far west lane of traffic on Madison Avenue so that the cherry picker could back into the construction zone—the massive site of a future Chase building. The MTA bus then attempted to move into a closer lane—at the exact moment that lift made its turn—and the two collided. Another construction worker who witnessed the crash told NBC4 that the bus specifically hit the bucket portion of the lift while the operator was inside of it. Thankfully, the lift operator was not thrown from his vehicle, due to the fact that he was safely and properly harnessed inside.
New York City bus crashes have been increasing steadily since 2019. According to NYC’s OpenData website, there were 2,789 reported crashes in 2020, which increased by 18% in 2021, and nearly 10% more in 2022. Due to the combination of state and local traffic laws as well as specific regulations which govern bus operations, bus accident lawsuits can be extraordinarily complex.
For instance, the rule of joint and several liability in New York allows plaintiffs to hold defendants—individually or collectively—accountable for the total amount of their damages. In the case of bus accidents, this means that if a bus driver is found to be even one percent at fault for an accident, passengers can collect 100% of their damages from that driver and the owner of his or her vehicle. The law protects bus drivers, too—even if they are found to be at fault in an accident. Vicarious liability theorizes that while a driver may have caused or at least been involved in an accident, his employer is also partially responsible for the accident, since the driver was on company time when the incident occurred. To complicate matters further, buses owned and operated by government entities—such as the MTA—have their own set of rules and regulations.
We at Block O’Toole & Murphy understand the complex ecosystem that is the law when it comes to bus accidents—specifically those owned and operated by government entities. Our bus accident attorneys are committed to fighting for the victims of serious physical or emotional injuries, and we’ve achieved outstanding results for those victims, including the following notable verdicts and settlements:
- $3,000,000 settlement for a self-employed barber who was unable to return to work after he was injured in a crash with an MTA bus
- $2,925,000 award to driver who suffered back injuries when his vehicle was broadsided by a school bus in Queens, New York
- $2,270,000 verdict for a bus passenger who was hurt when the bus rear-ended a tanker truck
Our family at Block O’Toole & Murphy wish all the victims, especially the eight hospitalized, a speedy recovery. To speak with one of our bus accident attorneys today, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online. We serve New York and New Jersey.