Over the space of just a few days in May of 2024, numerous bus fires were reported in New Jersey. A bus accident is bad enough, but the addition of fire makes these crashes even more hazardous. If you were hurt in a fiery New Jersey bus crash, this is something that you are undoubtedly aware of. Bus fires can cause a wide range of serious injuries – including disfiguring burns and smoke inhalation. Due to the widespread proliferation of EV batteries, bus fires are now more likely to involve toxic fumes. What can you do after a bus accident in New Jersey? Is it possible to sue?

Fiery School Bus Crash Raises Questions About Lithium-Ion Safety

Numerous Bus Fires Reported in New JerseyIn May of 2024, students “narrowly escaped” a very dangerous situation after their school bus caught fire in Sayreville. Eight kids rushed off the vehicle as soon as it burst into flames and were able to get clear without any notable injuries. While the lack of injuries is good news, this incident raises worrying questions about school bus safety in New Jersey. 

Witnesses say that there was no collision prior to the fire. One neighbor says that she heard a large explosion that shook her entire house. Rushing outside, she saw the school bus engulfed in flames. Thick smoke was emanating from the vehicle, which shifted from white to black. 

A local fire chief later reported that the fire was caused by some kind of engine malfunction. The fire official also confirmed that the school bus was a newer model powered entirely by lithium-ion batteries. What makes this fire especially shocking is that it was mostly impervious to traditional firefighting methods. Water hoses seemed to do nothing, so the firefighters had to switch to specialized foam. 

One has to wonder what would have happened if the children had not escaped so quickly. What if the doors had failed to open, and the children were trapped on board? While this might seem unthinkable, it could become a reality with so many unsafe, lithium-ion-battery-powered school buses on the road. 

Tour Bus Bursts into Flames on the Garden State Parkway

Days later, another bus burst into flames. This time, the fire involved a tour bus heading down the Garden State Parkway. Images from the scene showed flames billowing out of all windows, sending plumes of dark smoke into the air in a truly horrific manner. Once again, all passengers were able to escape the inferno without any reported injuries. 

There is almost no further information about this bus fire. The driver is remaining tight-lipped about the incident, and the tour company’s insurance provider is likely recommending a policy of silence. However, images from the scene imply that the bus did not collide with any other vehicle prior to catching fire. The root cause may have been yet another malfunctioning lithium-ion battery. 

Many of these tour buses have built-in charging ports for phones and other devices. These charging ports can potentially spark fires. Although fire officials are still investigating this particular incident, some kind of charging malfunction is certainly a possibility. 

Can You Sue for a Fiery Bus Crash in New Jersey?

As a passenger on a bus, you are owed a duty of care. In other words, the company or organization that operates the bus service is responsible for your safety. If your child was injured on a school bus that caught fire, you may have the opportunity to sue the school district. If you were injured on a tour bus that crashed and burned, you could potentially sue the tour company.

Many fiery bus accidents lead to permanent, disfiguring burns. These injuries can affect your self-esteem for the rest of your life, and it is crucial to pursue compensation for this non-economic damage. However, you can only pursue compensation for non-economic damages in New Jersey if you step outside the confines of the no-fault system. A serious injury (such as disfigurement) allows you to sue instead of filing a no-fault claim. Speak to your lawyer to learn more about your legal options. 

Find an Experienced Bus Accident Lawyer in New Jersey

Bus accident lawyers in New Jersey can help you pursue compensation for your missed wages, emotional distress, and unpaid medical expenses. These damages can be quite high after serious bus accidents – particularly if you suffered disfiguring burns across your face. In this situation, it is important to pursue the compensation you are legally entitled to. Book your consultation with Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. to discuss your legal options in more detail. With our help, you can confidently pursue justice, compensation, and closure. 

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over thirty years.

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