A woman was recently injured in an odd bus accident involving a manhole cover in the Bronx. The MTA bus was reportedly en route to Manhattan when the manhole cover ripped through the floor beneath the woman's seat, splintering the wood and injuring her leg.
The bus driver said he heard the woman scream and what sounded like an explosion. However, the city's Department of Environmental Protection said the most plausible explanation for the accident is that the bus tire rolled over and somehow dislodged the manhole cover, causing it to shoot up through the floor of the vehicle.
The DEP has ruled out the possibility that an underground explosion in the sewer line caused the manhole cover to become dislodged. Cast-iron covers of this sort typically weigh up to 300 pounds and have a diameter of three feet.
An official with the Transport Workers Union said he doubted that a bus tire could really cause a manhole cover to come loose. The injured woman reportedly required hospital treatment for minor injuries. There was no word, though, as to how the injury might affect her daily life. Injuries initially described as "minor" often have medical and job-related consequences for months or even years after the accident.
This particular incident also raises important issues regarding how motor vehicle accidents are investigated. Each case has its own set of circumstances, and for a victim to recover the maximum in compensation for damages, a timely and thorough investigation is necessary.
For more on crashes with MTA buses, please see our New York City bus accident overview.