Paramus Bus Crash – Some of Your Legal Questions
July 17, 2018
BY: Domhnall O'Cathain
May 17, 2018. 10:20 am. Route 80 West. A nightmare unfolded.
This purpose of this blog is simple – to discuss some of the personal injury and wrongful death issues that the victims and their families should consider. As a parent of three kids, I cannot start to imagine the pain that is being suffered.
Can the Victims Sue?
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
For those who died, their Estates (and survivors) can file a lawsuit. For adults who survived with physical injuries, they can file a lawsuit on their own behalf. For a child who survived with physical injuries, their parents/guardians can file a lawsuit on behalf of the child.
What is a Notice of Claim?
The lawsuit will involve suing a municipality. When suing a municipality, a Notice of Claim must be served on the municipal entity within 90 days of the incident. This is very important to know for all adults who were injured and for families of the deceased. Because the children are minors, they are not held to the same timeline until they are adults. Because of the Notice of Claim requirement, families should not delay contacting an attorney.
Where Will the Lawsuits be Filed?
In New Jersey, lawsuits are usually filed in the county where one of the parties lives or where the crash happened. In this situation, most cases will probably be in Bergen County or Morris County.
What If the Bus Driver has No Money?
In New Jersey, the municipality is responsible for the negligence of its employees.
Can There be Punitive Damages?
Based on the facts reported in the news, it appears that the driver of the bus was reckless and had a horrific driving record. Often, a lawyer will include a claim for punitive damages in a case like this. However, in New Jersey, a municipality cannot be sued for punitive damages.
Will This Get Settled Without Going to Court?
When a victim files a Notice of Claim, the municipality has the opportunity to look at the damages and try to resolve the claim before a lawsuit is filed with the Court. The municipality has 6 months to review the claim and to decide if it wants to attempt to resolve the claim. If the parties do not resolve the claim within 6 months, the victim can file a lawsuit with the Court.