Multiple Bus Passengers Injured After Manhole On Northern Boulevard Sends MTA Bus Airborne In Corona, Queens
QUEENS, NEW YORK (November 10, 2021) – Multiple people were injured in a Corona, Queens MTA bus accident after the bus hit a loose manhole cover on Northern Boulevard.
New York City police officials are saying that the accident took place in late October. Video of the accident shows the bus being lifted into the air after it came into contact with the manhole cover.
The bus continued after being lifted into the air before it stopped when it struck a parked car. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help all of the victims.
A total of nine people are reported to have been injured and some were taken away on stretchers. One source told reporters that Northern Boulevard was recently paved.
The manhole was likely damaged when the road surface was ground up and removed by the New York Department of Transportation (DOT). They suspect that the manhole was never properly replaced after being damaged.
A full investigation into the cause of the Queens MTA bus accident remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In New York City Road Design Defect Accidents
Thousands of people have been killed or seriously injured in the United States in accidents along dangerous stretches of road. There are a number of ways that a road could potentially be in a dangerous condition. For example, a road could have unbanked turns which makes it more likely for cars to slide off the roadway. An intersection could lack adequate traffic signs or signals. An intersection may have an obstructed line of sight which makes it difficult for drivers to see cross-traffic. Victims of car accidents often suffer very serious and costly injuries including:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
Depending on the facts of any case, there could be numerous sources of liability for a bus accident. Even if an accident was largely caused by a road design defect, a bus driver could be liable through contributory negligence. Bus drivers in New York must receive a commercial driver’s license and are held to a high standard in terms of safety. Pursuant to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1180, no person is allowed to operate a motor vehicle faster than what would be prudent or safe given the prevailing conditions of the roadway. If a bus driver was speeding prior to an accident, this could create the basis of a negligence claim.
Consider, for example, the case of Francisco v. Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Dist. A woman was riding in the back of an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District bus in 2011. The bus driver went over a speed bump at twice the legal speed limit. That caused the victim to be thrown two feet in the air and she came down right as the suspension was coming up. This caused an explosive burst fracture to her lumbar spine. Her attorneys won a jury verdict, though the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District has since appealed.
New York City could also be held liable for a bus accident if it was caused by a defect in the roadway. In general, a city in New York can only be sued for an accident caused by a road design defect if they received prior written notice of the dangerous condition. But there are exceptions to this general rule. There is an exception in the event that a locality created the defect through an affirmative act of negligence. A second exception exists when a municipal entity receives a “special use” or confers a special benefit at the location of the defect.
The New York Department of Transportation (DOT) could potentially have created a dangerous condition through an affirmative act of negligence by failing to properly secure a manhole. The DOT has a responsibility to properly secure manholes. They must also periodically inspect local roadways to ensure that all manholes are properly secured. A company responsible for repairing the roadway could also be liable for a manhole accident. Repair crews must warn other drivers to avoid any areas where there are loose manholes. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any New York City bus accident.
- Surveillance footage of the accident should be sought.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- Department of Transportation work records should be examined.
- A New York City bus accident attorney should be consulted.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires buses that can carry 16 or more passengers to have at least $5,000,000 worth of liability coverage. Any person that is injured in a bus accident may be able to seek justice through a bodily injury claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. However, New York has an extremely strict statute of limitations for pursuing negligence claims involving road design defects. Plaintiffs must file a notice of claim within 90 days of an accident in order to potentially pursue a claim against a city. Failing to abide by the statute of limitations may result in a permanent forfeiture of your rights. A New York personal injury attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A New York City Bus Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our best wishes to all of the people injured in this Corona, Queens bus accident. There needs to be a thorough investigation for the sake of all who have been injured. Accountability for what happened is desperately needed.
This accident also raises a number of safety concerns. Why wasn’t this manhole properly secured? Was speed a factor in the crash? When was the last time that this manhole was examined? This tragic accident could have possibly been prevented had the manhole been properly secured to the roadway. The NY Department of Transportation should do the right thing and publicly admit fault for this accident. They should then begin taking steps to help the victims. Sadly, though, this is not likely to happen.