A road accident involving a bus or other public vehicle in New York may raise more complicated issues of liability for victim compensation than a crash of privately owned automobiles. If you are injured as a driver or passenger in an accident involving public transportation, recovering compensation may require determining the cause of the accident and who is at fault.

As with all motor vehicle accidents in New York, the first step in seeking compensation is to file a claim with your own insurance company or that of a family or household member. All drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) — also known as no-fault coverage. Regardless of the cause of the accident, PIP will reimburse you for medical bills, lost wages and other out-of-pocket expenses up to the limits specified in your policy.

If serious injuries from a public transportation accident result in damages that exceed your PIP limits, you may have to pursue a claim against the transit company or authority. This involves showing that the driver of the bus or other vehicle was at fault to some degree, or that the vehicle itself had operational problems.

Fault could be apparent from how the accident occurred. A bus driver may have run a red light, changed lanes abruptly, exceeded the speed limit or otherwise driven carelessly. But sometimes the cause of the accident is not clear and requires investigation. Road and weather conditions, the roadworthiness of the vehicles and the conduct of other drivers can all be factors in the crash. Determining fault may require the use of accident reconstruction experts.

New York law applies the doctrine of comparative negligence, which means each party to an accident is liable for damages according to his or her percentage of fault. Even if you are more than 50 percent to blame for the accident, you can still sue another party whose negligence contributed.

If you are making a damages claim against a public transportation agency, such as the Port Authority or the MTA, there are special time limits that apply. You must file your notice of claim within 90 days of the date of the accident. You then have two years in which to bring a lawsuit seeking damages.

The Licatesi Law Group, LLP pursues fair compensation on behalf of victims of public transportation accidents in New York. Take advantage of a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys by calling us at (516) 227-2662 or contact us online at our Uniondale or Brooklyn office.