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Pedestrian Bus Accidents

Although bus operators are trained to be professional drivers, like everyone else, they do get involved in collisions with other cars and pedestrians.  These events should not be referred to as “accidents” because most of the time the cause of the collision is preventable driver negligence.  On rare occasions, pedestrian negligence can contribute to the cause of collision if the pedestrian was distracted by texting while walking, or they crossed mid-block.

Pedestrian collisions caused by bus driver negligence can cause pedestrian injuries both inside and outside of the bus.  Interior passenger injuries occur due to premature door closing, sudden acceleration, sudden stops, slippery substances on the floor, or passengers being tossed about due to a motor vehicle collision.  Often bus collisions result in death or serious injury.  In 2023 there were 177 pedestrian fatalities in New Jersey.

Exterior injuries can be caused by collisions, or by failure to observe a pedestrian within a crosswalk or yielding to a pedestrian crossing midblock.  Pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way, however, for pedestrians crossing midblock to have a viable claim, they must prove negligence on the part of the bus operator for failing to observe the pedestrian.  Anyone who has ever stood at an intersection corner while a bus is turning is well aware of the way the bus creeps toward the corner as the bus turns.  This makes bystanders safely step back to avoid injury.

As a common carrier, bus operators are held to a higher standard of care.  Bus drivers are trained to make observations all around the bus prior to moving since pedestrians often run from all directions to catch the bus before it departs.  In other words, it is foreseeable that a potential passenger will cross mid-block, or even run across the front of the bus to get to the entry door before it closes.

Recently, on February 20, 2024, at 6:22 AM a 64-year-old man was unfortunately struck at the intersection of Madison Avenue and River Road in New Milford, by a New Jersey Transit bus causing injuries to the man. The cause remains under investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office.

Lawyers representing victims of bus accidents should have a certain level of expertise and sophistication in investigating and recreating bus collisions.  Often accident reconstruction experts are hired early on to canvas the accident scene for evidence and video footage.  If a bus accident involves a New Jersey Transit bus, it is necessary to file a special “tort claims notice” with New Jersey Transit since they are a public entity within the State of New Jersey.  This formality must be done within 90 days of the accident.  Failure to do so can likely jeopardize a claim.

For serious injuries, the county fatal accident squad often conducts the same investigation as they would for a wrongful death case.  The results of such investigation can only be released if the Prosecutor’s office determines that there is no criminality on the part of the bus operator.  No one should jump to any legal conclusions as to the cause of the accident pending the release of the final report, however, the injured man or his family should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately to conduct their own investigation.  Quite often, a private personal injury law firm has the motive and resources to dig deep and uncover facts through a different lens than the police or prosecutor’s office when determining fault.  Injury law firms will generally accept a claim like this on a contingent fee basis shortly after an accident and will investigate and give counsel and advice to the injured person of their family free of charge, subject to payment only if there is a successful outcome.

Garry R. Salomon is certified as a civil trial attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and is a founding partner of the injury law firm of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C.  He is an expert in bus and wrongful death claims.   He has successfully litigated bus fatality cases involving adults and children and has secured a settlement for a motorcycle vs. bus injury case of $5.4 million.   For further information, he can be reached at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. at (201) 444-4444 or by visiting For further information regarding bus collisions, he can be contacted at

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Since 1981, the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon have been delivering results for our deserving clients. We are solely committed to helping injured individuals, never representing corporations. No matter how large or small your personal injury case is, you can trust that it is important to us.