Shutterstock 1418573228

Who Is Liable for a Bus Stop Trip and Fall?

City buses are one of the main forms of public transportation in New York City. According to the MTA, the average weekday bus ridership was at 1.8 million in 2018. Unfortunately, the locations where people get on and off public buses aren’t always properly maintained. Uneven pavement, cracks, depressions, potholes, and loose sidewalk flags can create hazardous conditions that may cause trip and fall accidents resulting in severe injuries. 

Bus stop trip and fall cases are often complex, and there can be multiple parties who should be named in the action. Determining who’s liable for your injuries will ultimately depend on who is responsible for maintaining the specific portion of the sidewalk on which you fell. 

NYC’s Sidewalk Rule

Under NYC’s Sidewalk Rule, the City is not responsible for most trip and fall accidents that occur on sidewalks, with a few exceptions. Consequently, if you tripped and fell on a defective sidewalk condition while waiting for the bus, the City isn’t automatically liable for negligence — liability for your injuries will depend on precisely where the defect was that caused your fall and whether the City is responsible for maintaining that area.

For instance, if you tripped and fell on a sidewalk condition while walking to the bus stop or fell due to a defect that was some distance away from a bus shelter, liability will likely fall on the abutting property owner of that area of the sidewalk — unless the fall occurred in front of a one, two, or three-family owner-occupied home. However, if a sidewalk flag at a designated bus stop or bus shelter owned by the City was defective, the City could be held liable for negligence if it had notice of the problem and failed to repair it.    

Trip and Falls While Entering and Exiting the Bus

Trip and falls can also happen while passengers are exiting and entering the bus. In these cases, liability is fact-specific. If a bus driver failed to come to a full stop before letting you off the bus, or the bus moved while you were entering, the bus driver, New York City Transit Authority, or another negligent party may be liable for your injuries if you tripped and fell as a result. 

Similarly, negligence can arise if a bus driver was careless in where they stopped the bus. Whether they were too far from the curb or they allowed you to exit the bus where there was an obvious pothole or defect, they may be held liable for your injuries — along with the NYCTA, the City, and any other party responsible for repairing the condition who had notice of the defect. Con Edison may be accountable if the fall occurred due to tripping on a faulty grating. 

Contact an Experienced New York City Trip and Fall Attorney

If you tripped and fell at a bus stop or while getting on or off a city bus, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries you sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Every bus stop trip and fall case is unique. A skilled New York City personal injury attorney will know how to investigate your claim to ensure the negligent parties will be held accountable for your injuries. It’s important to understand that in cases involving the City or any of its agencies, there is a 90-day notice requirement that begins running the date the accident occurred before you can commence any lawsuit — this is why it’s critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County, and on Long Island in Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us at 1-800-2-DEARIE for a consultation. 

John P. Dearie

John P. Dearie is a graduate of Regis High School, The University of Notre Dame, and St. John’s University School of Law. After working at a corporate law firm in New York City for two years following law school graduation, he joined The Dearie Law Firm in 2011.

John represents injured New Yorkers in third-party negligence litigations, as well as first responders, workers, volunteers and residents in claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.