Bus accidents happen for many reasons, including faulty equipment, negligence of the bus driver, poorly maintained roads, debris in the road, negligence of another driver. However, one of the most significant contributing factors in a New York bus crash may occur long before the passengers board the bus and the driver takes the wheel.
Negligent hiring and/or training of a bus driver may mean that bus passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians on the street are at risk from an unqualified, reckless, or otherwise dangerous bus driver.
The fatal September, 2017 Queens accident between a charter bus and an MTA bus illustrates the dangers associated with putting the wrong person behind the wheel. The driver of the charter bus, who was one of those killed in the accident, had been fired by the MTA two years earlier.
The bus driver had been fired after hitting two cars while operating his personal vehicle, fleeing the scene of the accident, and ultimately being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) and evading arrest. Despite the prior termination and the DUI conviction, the driver, Raymond D. Mong, was hired to drive the private charter bus operated by Dahlia Travel & Tours.
Negligent hiring may involve a lax investigation into a driver’s history, or failure to perform an investigation at all. For example, the bus company may take the driver’s word that he has no past DUI convictions or other traffic-related issues rather than conducting a background check. Similarly, the company may fail to check the driver’s work history, or overlook something important in the process of verifying work history and checking references.
Alternatively, the hiring agent at the bus company may be aware of the past issues, but decide to hire the driver and entrust him with passenger safety despite a past DUI, history of speeding and other reckless behavior on the road, or a questionable work history.
In either situation, a company is likely to be found liable for damages sustained in the accident, since negligent hiring of an unqualified or dangerous driver wholly or partly caused the accident.
Of course, liability in this type of case doesn’t necessarily depend on a finding that the company was negligent in hiring the driver. There may be many other theories of liability, including vicarious liability for the employee, negligent training, and negligent supervision. In addition, there may be other responsible parties, including another driver, a passenger on the bus who interferes with the driver, the city responsible for road maintenance and more.
Determining all possible responsible parties in a bus accident can be complicated, as the case may involve employment issues, equipment maintenance, defective equipment, more than one driver, road conditions, and a variety of other factors. A New York personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling complex cases such as bus accident claims can be your best resource if you have been injured or lost a loved on in a bus crash.
You can take the first step toward protecting your rights and securing compensation right now, by scheduling a free consultation with one of our New York bus accident lawyers. Just fill out the form at the top of this page or call us at (844) 469-5291 to get started.