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Dump Truck, School Bus Accident Sends Dozens To NJ Hospitals

/ Bus Accidents, Truck Accident /

PARAMUS, N.J. – A New Jersey school bus accident sent more than 40 people to area hospitals after the bus collided with a dump truck on Interstate 80 Thursday.

According to WNYC, a packed school bus taking kids on a field trip crashed on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive, New Jersey, killing a student and teacher, Jennifer Williamson of East Brook Middle School.

Jennifer Williamson’s husband, Kevin Kennedy released a statement to NJ Advance Media on Friday:

“My beautiful bride and I have been in total love every day of our lives since the day our eyes met on May 5th, 1994,” Kennedy said. “I am in shock, devastated and totally crushed by today’s tragedy to both sides of the Williamson-Kennedy families, the community she taught and the thousands of students and their families she was very proud to serve.”

Jennifer WIlliamson was 51 years-old. Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera told reporters that Jennifer Williamson spent her entire career in the town, which is a tight-knit community mourning the loss of a beloved teacher and one student after the Paramus school bus crash.

“I heard a scraping sound and we toppled over the highway,” fifth-grader Theo Ancevski told WNYC. “A lot of people were screaming and hanging from their seatbelts.”

Police said there were 45 people on board at the time of the New Jersey school bus accident, 38 of whom were students. Some remain at area hospitals in critical condition.

Officials didn’t immediately release details of how the crash happened, but an extensive legal investigation should be conducted, according to a New Jersey school bus accident lawyer.

The trucking company that owns the dump truck has been involved in a string of crashes in recent years, according to federal safety data, including a number of violations that kept its trucks out of service for some time.

Many families will likely be filing personal injury claims, in which the outcomes of these cases could help their loved ones gain closure and compensation for their injuries. An experienced New Jersey truck accident lawyer should be investigating this crash, and could uncover several key pieces of evidence. Some of the items an extensive legal investigation should be looking at include:

  • An analysis of the truck’s mechanical systems
  • Truck maintenance records
  • Driver records
  • Potential safety violations
  • The company’s safety record

In addition to examining the truck, it’s also important to take a look at the school bus, as mechanical issues and human error are not uncommon when these vehicles are on the highway.

A successful settlement or verdict could help dozens of New Jersey school bus accident victims cover the costs associated with such a tragic accident, including:

  • Expenses from first responders
  • Hospitalization costs
  • Rehabilitation
  • Pain and suffering
  • And more…

Many times, these claims can also sparking meaningful changes in public and private policies, improving safety for others across the state and country. These changes are often put in place so similar accidents, like the accident in New Jersey, can be prevented in the future.

Follow these links to find more information on truck accidents, bus accidents and wrongful death claims.

School Bus Runs Over Bronx Woman

/ Bus Accidents /

School BusNEW YORK – A woman walking in a crosswalk on Sedgwick Ave. near West Fordham Road was run over by a school bus on Friday in University Heights.

Carmen Puello, 43, of the Bronx was struck just a block from her home, the New York Daily News reported.

According to reporters at NBC 4, witnesses told police that the school bus was in the center lane on West Fordham Road when it made a right-hand turn onto Sedgwick Avenue, striking Carmen Puello as the driver made the turn.

The 47-year-old bus driver remained on scene while an ambulance transported Carmen Puello to St. Barnabas Hospital. Unfortunately, Puello did not survive.

Over the last decade, more than 1,200 people have been struck and killed by school buses and many more have suffered severe injuries.

According to statistics assembled by a Bronx bus accident lawyer, most of those injuries and fatalities have affected pedestrians who were outside the bus. Most often, the pedestrians have been small children or parents.

Many victims and their families also seek legal assistance after a bus crash in the Bronx and a claim can help families, survivors and beneficiaries get compensation for their loss. This compensation can cover the following aspects:

  • Sorrow, loss of companionship
  • Loss of income, financial support from the victim
  • Loss of services, protection or care
  • Expenses for care, treatment and hospitalization of the victim who passed

An attorney will gather all the evidence a victim’s family needs to not only get closure – but to get the best result possible from their claim. This evidence is not just limited to the incident report supplied by police.

According to a Bronx bus accident attorney, a legal investigation into the incident is vital. A lawyer will not only look at bus operator negligence; a qualified personal injury attorney will explore other factors that may have led or contributed to the crash, including:

  • Bus maintenance records
  • Bus driver records
  • Surveillance video on board the bus
  • Traffic cameras on the street
  • Eye-witness statements, recordings and other media
  • Records of mechanical flaws on the bus itself, including brakes and tire treads
  • Examination of bus blind-spots and windows
  • Road factors, including crosswalk markings and street lighting

In almost all cases, a fatal bus accident can be prevented. That’s why a Bronx bus accident lawyer should investigate all aspects of the crash to help their clients maximize their compensation. Many personal injury claims have also spurred meaningful changes to help prevent future incidents and improve the safety for millions of New Yorkers.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

Buses Crash Inside Lincoln Tunnel, Driver Ticketed

/ Bus Accidents /

Buses Crash Inside Lincoln Tunnel, Driver TicketedNEW YORK – More than 40 passengers were injured when a pair of New Jersey Transit buses collided inside the Lincoln Tunnel on Monday Sept 26th. The crash caused major delays as traffic was funneled into the remaining lanes of the inbound tube.

Authorities said the two NJ Transit buses crashed when the 127 line rear-ended a bus on the 128 line. Both buses were filled with morning commuters.

The accident happened just before 9 a.m. in the center lane of the tube and at least 44 injuries were reported. No injuries were considered life-threatening and ABC 7 News reported that the most serious injuries included a broken jaw and an arm fracture.

Authorities said the driver in the first bus (128 line) was issued three tickets for improper lane change, careless driving and unsafe lane change.

According to a Port Authority spokesperson, shifting lanes inside the Lincoln Tunnel is prohibited and in this case, the maneuver was a direct cause of the crash.

This is a crash that could have and should have been avoided by all accounts and a prompt accident investigation could look at everything that may have gone wrong.

New Jersey policy requires each NJ Transit driver to have a physical exam every couple of years to show that they are able to operate a large vehicle safely. An investigation conducted by a New York bus accident lawyer should look at this record and other records associated with a driver’s history.

Even with a perfect record, bus drivers can often make errors due to distractions, exhaustion, medical issues or just a bad decision which can put a passenger’s health and safety at risk.

Passengers Reeshabh Agrawal, Josh Sibenik and Emily Sorokes described the aftermath of the bus crash.

Some passengers saw the imminent collision and braced themselves for impact, passenger Reeshabh Agrawal told ABC 7 News. At least ten passengers were taken to area hospitals and one passenger suffered a seizure.

Bus passenger, Josh Sibenik told reporters that the bus was moving at about 35 or 40 mph at the time of the crash and another bus passenger, Emily Sorokes, told reporters that the accident caused several people to suffer broken bones and other injuries while dozens of passengers needed ice packs.

Reeshabh Agrawal, Josh Sibenik and Emily Sorokes were just three of the 89 passengers on board the two buses.

The ten passengers who were treated on scene were taken to Weill Cornell, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital, and Hoboken University Medical Center.

Officials said 34 people refused medical attention but doctors have found that victims in many crashes may not be aware that they are injured and pain can sometimes develop or worsen over time.

When passengers do get injured, treatment is a must. In many cases, medical bills can quickly pile-up and victims may also need compensation for lost wages, missing time from work and for their pain and suffering.

An intense legal investigation can help maximize a crash victim’s compensation and spur changes to make sure similar accidents and injuries are avoided in the future.

According to the Port Authority, roughly 42 million vehicles travel through the Lincoln Tunnel every year and accidents on bridges and in tunnels, like the Lincoln Tunnel, cost commuters millions of dollars in lost time and productivity.

An experienced accident investigation team will look at many different conditions, not just the crash report. New York bus accident lawyers said a strong legal team will look at the road conditions, road surface components and the accident history of the roadway, bridge or tunnel itself.

The analysis should also collect public surveillance videos – such as the cameras on the bus and along the roadway. Other evidence could also be helpful; eye-witness statements, photos and other media that were taken at the time of the crash can make a solid case for those who were injured.

New York bus accident attorneys could also analyze the vehicle itself for possible mechanical flaws or visual obstructions that may have contributed to the crash.

In any accident scenario, legal guidance may be necessary to obtain the best result possible.

Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888

Public Transportation Seen As Safer Option

/ Bus Accidents /

Public Transportation Seen As Safer OptionNEW YORK – The nation saw a record spike in the number of fatal car crashes last year and statistics show accidents are on the rise, despite safety improvements to both vehicles and infrastructure.

Many safety advocates attribute the rise to an increase in drivers sharing the road and better public transportation could drastically reduce the number of traffic collisions – and injuries.

A new study conducted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that people who use public transit are 90 percent less likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. That makes traveling by bus or rail roughly 10 times safer per mile than commuting by car or truck.

A Queens bus accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says using public transit may be a great option for some New Yorkers but it comes with its own risks.

“No mode of travel is risk free in Queens,” bus accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Each year, thousands of people are injured while riding the bus or train; it may be statistically safer than driving but these accidents can often be catastrophic when they do occur.”

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, about 38,000 people were injured in bus crashes in 2013. The year saw more injuries on buses than any of the previous 25 years. At the same time, more than 35,000 drivers were killed in motor vehicle collisions last year, a record 7.2 percent increase from 2014.

Many of those traffic collisions were attributed to distracted driving. Safety advocates and supporters of public transportation say taking the bus or train allows passengers to multitask without changing their safety risk.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently said that public transit could help keep high risk drivers, like teens, away from the driver’s seat. Taking the bus or train also allows the passenger to sleep and avoid the always-dangerous DWI.

Public transportation sounds like a safe alternative to driving but Queens bus accident lawyers said the nation’s tax-payer funded transit systems are falling behind.

“There’s an estimated $86 billion backlog of repairs that need to be made to various public transit systems across America,” Barnes said. “Trains and buses aren’t being maintained as much as they should be and railroads and bus lanes are falling apart. We continue to find safety oversights and technical issues when we investigate an accident.”

The APTA study acknowledges some of these hurdles, which are mostly financial obstacles. However, statistics show that when there are fewer vehicles on the road, there is a strong correlation to fewer accidents and a well-developed public transit system would certainly remove many cars and trucks from already congested roads and highways.

The Queens bus accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have helped many New Yorkers get the maximum compensation after a public transit crash. If you’ve been injured while on a bus or train, contact Cellino & Barnes today for a free case evaluation.

Officials ID Driver in Deadly Newark Bus Crash

/ Bus Accidents, News /

Officials ID Driver in Deadly Newark Bus Crash NEW YORK – Authorities in Newark say a second person, a passenger, has died after two New Jersey Transit buses crashed in Newark Friday morning. In addition to the passenger, a bus driver was also killed in the wreck and nearly two dozen people were sent to local hospitals.

Authorities with New Jersey Transit said Joseph Barthelus was the driver killed in the crash. Barthelus had been an NJ Transit driver for 27 years. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office did not identify the passenger who was killed on Friday but confirmed that a female passenger on board one of the transit buses had died from her injuries, hours after the crash.

According to transit officials, Barthelus was driving the No. 59 bus, heading west, when it t-boned the No. 13 bus at the corner of Raymond Boulevard and Broad Street in Newark. As of Friday afternoon, the crash caused 2 deaths and at least 18 injuries. Officials said at least one other person remains in critical condition at University Hospital.

A New York bus accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says many of the victims in this crash could receive compensation for their injuries and a crash investigation will determine exactly what happened.

“Many families are in a state of shock with their loved ones in the hospital and they want to know ‘why?’” New York bus accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Every driver is required to have a physical exam at least every two years and an accident investigation will look into all the possibilities including whether the driver had a medical issue or if exhaustion was at play.”

An NJ Transit spokesperson told reporters at nj.com that both drivers were in good standing. Barthelus had been driving for 27 years. The other driver, who survived the crash, was identified as James Roberts and NJ Transit said he had been driving for 35 years.

Witnesses described the Newark bus crash as a “nightmare.” Several people rushed into the intersection to help passengers who were injured during the collision. According to several witnesses who were immediately on scene, one of the buses was empty and was likely going through the intersection at a high speed.

Newark Mayor Ras Barkaka said at a press conference that preliminary data suggested that one of the bus drivers may have run a red light.

While speed and inattention could likely be a factor, New York bus accident lawyers said there many other aspects to look at.

“Buses can have mechanical malfunctions or visual obstructions, preventing the driver from being able to do their job,” Barnes said. “The investigation will also look into road conditions and whether or not the traffic lights were functioning properly.”

The intersection of Raymond and Broad can be particularly dangerous because it’s a five-corner intersection, lawyers said. Not only does Raymond Boulevard cross six lanes of Broad Street, Park Place stems from the intersection as well.

Officials estimated that seven passengers on the bus suffered catastrophic injuries and were taken to University Hospital in Newark, Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Michael’s Hospital, and Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth.

“Those who are in the hospital recuperating from the crash could have a difficult recovery ahead. Our firm has handled many bus accident cases and most of the victims and their families are looking for help.” Barnes stated.

“First, medical help so that they get the best immediate treatment and then the best follow up care.

“Then they want help answering why or how this accident happened. The state investigation and any private investigations of videos, driving records, bus inspection records, road design, road surface components, traffic light timing and positioning, intersection accident history and witness statements will be critical.

“The victims will also want help with loss wages, transportation issues, child care, missing time from work, and pain and suffering compensation.”

Barnes also said that every victim wants to make sure that this type of New Jersey bus accident doesn’t happen again.

Cellino & Barnes  800-888-8888

Buckling-up On the Bus

/ Bus Accidents /

Buckling-up On the BusBUFFALO, N.Y. – It may not be longer before your children start buckling-up on the school bus. A national push for better school bus safety is gaining momentum but some schools are fighting it.

In New York State, all newly manufactured school buses are required to be equipped with seat belts but the state doesn’t mandate that they be used. The law leaves seat belt enforcement in the hands of each school district.

Many other states are now reviewing their seat belt laws and coming up with ways to keep children safe.

“New York is one of just six states that require seat belts on school buses,” Steve Barnes, a Buffalo bus accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said. “However, many schools don’t require children to wear them – and the lap belts we usually see on school buses aren’t the safest product either.”

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is recommending that all school buses be equipped with three-point seat belts, which include a strap across the shoulder and chest, similar to those found in the driver’s seat in most vehicles.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the State of Maryland is currently drafting legislation that would require seat belts on school buses. However, it is not clear how the state would enforce the law.

“Most adults don’t have to think about putting on the seat belt in the car – it just happens because we’ve trained ourselves to buckle-up,” Barnes said. “Seat belts are worthless on school buses if children don’t wear them, so it’s important to educate and train them to wear a seat belt when they get on the bus.”

Cost is also an issue. State officials in Maryland believe installing seat belts on school buses would cost between $8,000 and $16,000 each – coming to about $6.4 million for the 8,000 buses operating in the Old Line State.

The need to improve school bus safety is clear: over the last decade, 327 school-age children have died in school transportation-related accidents, according to the NHTSA. More than 50 of those children were passengers on a school bus.

Most accidents occur outside the school bus – where there are no seat belts to protect children. But each year, school bus crashes send children to the hospital when a seat belt could have minimized their injuries.

Buffalo bus accident attorneys say almost every injury can be prevented with the proper education, training and safety features. But right now, those aren’t offered to children in most states.

Why Aren’t Seatbelts Required in School Buses?

/ Bus Accidents /

the back of a school bus, school bus accident, Dump truck school bus accident sends dozens to nj hospitalsROCHESTER, N.Y. – Any time you get in the car, your first reaction should be to buckle-up. Many of us are so used to it that we unconsciously put on the seatbelt every time, but when children get on a school bus it’s a different story.

School bus safety is now in the spotlight after a deadly crash in Texas. Two students died and many others were injured when their bus veered off a Houston overpass. Officials said the bus was equipped with seatbelts but riders weren’t required to wear them.

Rochester bus accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes say seatbelts have been proven to save lives and they could instill safety habits in a child’s routine.

“Seatbelts can be a vehicle’s top safety feature but many school buses aren’t even equipped with these in Rochester,” bus accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “There’s no good reason not to wear a seatbelt.”

Researchers across the country have concluded that seatbelts would make school buses safer but implementation may be unrealistic.

A study conducted by the National Research Council in 1989 rejected seatbelt requirements in school buses because it would cost taxpayers $40 million each year. Almost thirty years later, it would almost certainly cost more than the original estimate and researchers have suggested using these funds to make safety improvements to loading and unloading zones where fatal accidents are more likely to occur.

There’s also the challenge of getting students to properly wear seatbelts.

“Enforcement by the driver is almost impossible,” an Alabama study on the subject noted. “Costs far exceed benefits, and school bus seat belts appear to be less cost-effective than other types of safety treatments.”

Some bus unions disagree. One Houston union is lobbying for immediate changes following the tragic accident. Union leaders would like to standardize ‘three-point’ seatbelts on buses. This type of safety belt uses the shoulder strap, equipped in most driver and passenger seats in a car.

“If seatbelts can make school buses safer, why not do it?” Cellino says, “a child’s life may depend on these safety features.”

Depending on the accident, attorneys say the school district may be held liable for injuries on their school buses.

New Study Reveals Areas Where Vehicles Hit Children Most

/ Bus Accidents /

Where Vehicles Hit Children MostROCHESTER, N.Y. – An alarming number of children are getting hit by cars in America and what’s even more disturbing is where these accidents are happening. According to new research presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), almost every child struck by a vehicle was near a school or a bus stop.

Statistics show over 500 children are killed each year after getting struck by cars, trucks or buses and another 22,000 kids are treated in emergency rooms following this type of accident. Researchers said most of these accidents occur while children are unsupervised.

“School zones are really not as safe as most parents would think in many U.S. cities like Rochester,” bus accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “This study shows our schools really can and should be a lot safer than they are right now.”

According to the new research, children are most vulnerable around school zones during afternoons and evenings in spring months; specifically March, April, May, and June.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show some of these children are struck by school buses but there’s little data to support concrete explanations as to why these accidents are happening.

Doctors with the AAOS hope their new findings this month can help guide future prevention strategies.

“Most areas already have school zone speed restrictions and some have crossing guards,” Barnes said. “Is that enough?”

Trio of School Bus Crashes Send Children to Hospitals

/ Bus Accidents, Personal Injury /

Trio of School Bus CrashesNEW YORK – Several auto accidents involving school buses have sent nearly two dozen people to the hospital this week alone. In many cases, children were injured and one teenager was killed.

On Monday, two school bus drivers were charged for following too closely when a chain-reaction crash injured eight people in Chester, Va. According to ABC affiliate WRIC, seven students and one adult driver were taken to area hospitals.

More than 15 students were injured in other, separate accidents across the country. In Connecticut, nine children were hospitalized following an afternoon bus crash in Hartford. The city’s NBC affiliate reported the bus, carrying 18 students, collided with another car at an intersection. Police said it was unclear who was at fault.

In Maryland, a 17-year-old girl was killed after her sport utility vehicle crashed head-on with a school bus Wednesday morning. According to a Baltimore news station, the bus driver and one student on board were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Another person died in a multivehicle crash near Pittsburgh, Penn. Wednesday morning. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a bus carrying 26 students was involved in the wreck. School officials said four students received “bumps and bruises” in the crash.

In total, dozens of children were hospitalized after bus crashes in a three day period.

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