Atlanta is a dynamic hub for thousands of workers and tourists who take advantage of the daily transportation options that buses provide. This makes the likelihood of a traumatic bus accident much higher, however.
Recovering compensation can be an overwhelming process for a bus accident victim. A skilled Atlanta bus accident lawyer can be helpful in this situation. Bus drivers and their employers are held to a higher standard of care than typical car drivers and have many responsibilities for the safe operation of their buses. However, there could be other obligations you must meet before filing a lawsuit, depending on the agency that owned the bus.
If you were recently injured in a bus accident, our Atlanta bus accident lawyers can help you devise the right strategy for your case. Call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case review.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Atlanta, GA
Buses can be difficult to operate even in the best conditions. The weight and size of the bus increase the likelihood of a devasting accident. The following are common causes of bus accidents in Atlanta:
- Distracted driver
- Driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Failure to obey traffic lights and signs
- Other passengers
- Accidents due to restricted maneuverability
- Driving in the blind spots of a bus
There are many other ways that a bus accident can occur, depending on the type of bus involved in your accident. Our Atlanta bus accident lawyers can offer support regardless of how your bus accident happened.
Common Carrier Bus Standards in Atlanta, GA
While all drivers have a standard duty to operate their vehicles safely, bus drivers are held to a higher standard of care for other drivers on the road and their passengers. Most buses are common carriers, meaning that the busing company offers their transportation service to the public in exchange for money.
Common carriers must exercise extraordinary diligence while in operation. This includes maintaining the bus safely and staying vigilant for road conditions and troublesome passengers. Common carriers that fail to exercise extraordinary diligence can be held liable for the injuries that result from their negligence. Our Atlanta bus accident lawyers can help you determine if the bus that injured you was a common carrier and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Recovering Compensation for Injuries from a Bus Accident in Atlanta, GA
Georgia is an at-fault state for the purposes of car accident insurance, in which car accident victims are compensated for their damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance. This rule also applies to bus accidents. This means that you have a few options to recover compensation after being injured in a bus accident. You can first file a claim against the bus driver’s commercial insurance to recover compensation. You may also file a claim with your own insurance for additional benefits. Depending on the facts of your case, you might also be able to file a claim with the busing company’s insurance carrier. If another driver caused the bus accident you were injured in, you could file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance.
The problem with insurance, though, is that it might not be enough to cover damages for what could be serious injuries. Insurance benefits generally only cover economic costs associated with your injuries, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Insurance will not provide additional benefits for non-economic damages, like the pain and suffering you have experienced due to living with your injuries. Fortunately, because Georgia is an at-fault state, you can sue the negligent party without restriction to recover the full amount that you deserve.
The bus driver will usually be the most likely party responsible for your accident. If a bus driver operated the bus carelessly or failed to control a situation with a dangerous passenger, they could be held liable for any damages they caused. Bus operators are also responsible for routine inspections and can be held accountable for accidents caused by their failure to maintain the bus properly.
You can sue the busing company that employs the negligent driver in many cases. Suppose you can show that the driver’s negligent behavior that caused the accident happened during the normal scope and duties of their job. In that case, the busing company could also be held liable under the legal doctrine of vicarious liability. For instance, if a city bus ran a red light while on its scheduled route and caused an accident, the busing company is also potentially liable for the accident.
Busing companies are also responsible for maintaining and inspecting the buses in their fleet. Further, trucking companies must provide adequate training to drivers and perform thorough background checks and drug screening on potential drivers before hiring.
Sometimes a bus accident can be caused by another driver or a passenger on the bus. If another driver was at fault for the accident, you could sue the driver directly for damages. If your accident was caused by the acts of a passenger onboard, a lawsuit can be filed against the passenger and possibly the bus driver, depending on the circumstances.
Many busing services are provided by city and state organizations. For example, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) provides transportation to thousands of people in Atlanta, making accidents common. However, cases involving government-owned buses present additional challenges because government agencies have what is known as governmental immunity.
The Georgia Tort Claims Act places many additional requirements on victims before they can file a lawsuit against a government busing agency. First, you will typically need to give notice to the organization of your intention to file a lawsuit. There is often a waiting period after notice is given before your lawsuit can be filed. In some cases, a bus accident victim might need to obtain permission to sue a government agency. Our Atlanta bus accident lawyers can help you manage the complexities of your case if you were injured by a government-owned bus or any other bus operator.
Our Atlanta, GA, Bus Accident Lawyers Can Help
Our Atlanta bus accident lawyers are dedicated to helping bus accident victims throughout the Atlanta area recover the compensation they are owed. For a free case evaluation, contact Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.