New York personal injury lawsuits can last a very long time. In order to know that you are efficiently and effectively represented, you need an experienced personal injury attorney.
Lyons v. Lancer insurance Company is a 2012 case arising from a 1989 accident in New York. Michael Thomas (Thomas) was a school bus driver for T.F.D. Bus Company (TFD). TFD was a commercial transportation company that was authorized to transport passengers in any of the contiguous states within the United States. The majority of TFD’s business came from its transportation of students on school buses around the State of New York.
Thomas was negligently driving a bus full of students when he collided with the vehicle of Mr. Lyons (plaintiff), which was stopped at a red light. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries, and sued Thomas and TFD (collectively, defendants) for negligence.
Negligence is a civil wrong which results in injury or damage to another person. This does not require a negative intent, just recklessness or carelessness. In order to prove a case for negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the four elements of negligence. First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a specific duty of care to the plaintiff. Then the plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this required duty of care. Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. And lastly, the plaintiff must show that they suffered damages.
This personal injury lawsuit was brought to a jury which in 2006 awarded the plaintiff’s $2,470,000 plus interest from 1992. The problem arose when TFD did not make the requisite payments, causing the plaintiffs to sue Lancer as the insurance company.
Plaintiff’s relied on the Bus Act which set a minimum permissible financial responsibility of $5,000,000 on vehicles that have a seating capacity of sixteen or more.
As part of TFD’s insurance policy with Lancer Insurance Company (Lancer), coverage was extended only to interstate trips, meaning trips between states. On the day of the accident, Thomas was traveling on an interstate mission. However, at the time the accident occurred Thomas was traveling wholly within the State of New York. For this reason, Lancer entered a motion for summary judgment because it argued the policy TFD had did not cover accidents that occurred when the buses were traveling within the same state. The lower court granted this motion for summary judgment and Lancer was released from any additional liability for this accident.
The plaintiff’s appealed this court decision to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Their basic argument was that Lancer should be liable for damages because the route Thomas was suppose to be on was interstate in nature. Thomas was supposed to be traveling to another part of New York, which required him to travel through the state of Connecticut. Had Thomas complied with his assignment, he would have been on an interstate trip covered by Lancer. However, at the same time as Thomas was suppose to be on the interstate route, he was actually picking up children in an entirely intrastate assignment.
Because Thomas’ route was solely within the state of New York, Lancer was not required to pay the $5,000,000 minimum required by the Bus Act.
If you have been injured contact New York injury attorneys at Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC to schedule a free appointment. Call 718-261-0546.