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Bus Accidents in New Jersey: What Rights do Victims Have?

trucks on NJ highwayJust before 8 a.m. on December 17, a tractor-trailer quickly switched from the right to center lane on the New Jersey Turnpike and struck the rear of a NJ Transit bus. The four-vehicle collision occurred in Linden at marker 97.7 and backed up northbound traffic for seven miles from exits 8 to 13, according to State Police. The bus was carrying 61 passengers from Lakewood in Ocean County to Lincoln Harbor.

Ten people were hurt in the accident, including two people with serious injuries. While no charges have been filed yet, the investigation into what exactly caused the crash is underway and New Jersey bus accident lawyers at Eisbrouch Marsh are paying close attention. The preliminary findings are that the bus driver was not at fault.

Bus accident causes financial hardship for at least one NJ family

The morning commute shook up many of the passengers – even the ones who suffered no injuries. “I felt glass flying over my head,” Bus Passenger Tom Flynn recalled. “There was an instant where the bus felt like it would rollover, but it didn’t.”

Jonathan Biggs, a 51-year-old Freehold resident, had been on his way to work in Jersey City when his bus was struck by the tractor-trailer. Biggs was pinned to the ground until authorities extricated him and suffered a broken femur, broken ribs, lacerated liver, and trauma that required surgery. He transferred from intensive care to a rehabilitation unit early this week.

“The scary part is over,” says his wife, Mary Ann, but she still isn’t sure how her family will cover the medical expenses. Her husband had just returned to work this year after being laid off from IBM three years ago.

An elderly man from Howell was also seriously hurt in the crash, but details on his condition have not been released.

From a quick lane change to a serious crash

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration found that up to 10 percent of all car accidents involve unsafe lane changes, such as what happened on the New Jersey Turnpike this month. While that may not seem like much, that amounts to over 230,000 people killed or injured due to reckless lane changes.

Sometimes a quick lane change is just a momentary lapse of judgment on the part of the driver and it’s deemed a truly unintentional accident. Other times, contributing factors turn an accident into a prosecutable crime, say New Jersey bus accident attorneys from Eisbrouch Marsh.

One may have a case against the truck driver if it is discovered that he or she:

  • Was working too many hours without a break due to illegal scheduling
  • Failed to maintain an accurate logbook of all rests and breaks, as mandated by law
  • Was using alcohol or stimulant drugs at the time of the crash
  • Drove a poorly maintained vehicle
  • Improperly merging by failing to obey the law
  • Operated a tractor-trailer without the appropriate licensing and training
  • Was using a cell phone or was distracted in another way while driving
  • Used aggressive driving tactics
  • Operating without headlights

Eisbrouch Marsh investigate NJ bus accidents

People who have been injured in these crashes may be eligible for compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages and productivity, emotional hardship, and other losses. Families who have lost a loved one in such a crash may receive a settlement or award to cover medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, lost wages, pain and suffering.

Experienced NJ Transit accident lawyers from Eisbrouch Marsh represent plaintiffs who have been seriously injured or have tragically lost a loved one. We have more than 25 years of trial experience in this particular area of legal representation. Whether victims were hit by a truck, a car, or another bus, we’ll cut through the “he said, she said,” delve into the police reports, interview eyewitnesses, assemble crash data experts, and get to the bottom of what happened.

If someone is at fault, we’ll make sure they pay! Call 201-781-1937 for a free and confidential assessment.