Whether taking public transportation or chartering a private bus, you might be injured in a serious accident. In such a case, you should get immediate treatment and contact an attorney for help.
One of the first ways a lawyer can help you in your legal quest for damages is by identifying the potentially liable parties. While the bus driver should be considered, their employer should also be evaluated for liability. You might sue a private bus company or even a governmental entity in charge of public transportation in your area. Evidence you can use to build a strong case might include records from the bus company about drivers, routes, schedules, and policies. We can also look for witnesses to provide testimony, and you might have recorded valuable photos or videos. Your damages should account for your physical injuries, medical costs, the value of damaged or lost property, and your psychological trauma. A lawyer can help you investigate for evidence, prepare evidence and witnesses, and effectively argue your case in court.
For a free, private evaluation of your legal claims, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and talk to our bus accident lawyers.
Parties You Might Sue for a Bus Accident in Dalton, GA
Part of what makes a bus accident so complex is the number of people involved. Not only might there be numerous injured victims, including yourself, but there might be multiple people and parties who share responsibility. Our bus accident attorneys can assess the accident and help you determine who should be named in your lawsuit for damages.
The first person many people look to after a bus accident is, of course, the bus driver. Many accidents are the direct result of a bus driver’s negligence. For example, the bus driver might be distracted by their cell phone or rowdy passengers. In other cases, drivers who are not properly trained and have too little experience are put on the road before they are ready, and their lack of training and skill causes the crash.
You might sue the bus driver if you were a passenger on the bus during the crash or in a separate vehicle struck by the bus. Since bus accidents can be hectic scenes, we may need to rely on the police to investigate and determine just what caused the crash.
Private Bus Companies
Not only can you sue the bus driver after an accident, but you might also be able to sue their employer. When it comes to private bus companies, you might sue the company under the legal theory of respondeat superior. This theory holds that an employer (i.e., the bus company) may be vicariously liable for an employee’s (i.e., the bus driver) negligence and any injuries caused by the employee.
Generally, respondeat superior only applies when the employee’s negligence is within the scope of their normal job duties. If the bus driver engaged in something outside their job description, like deliberate acts of harm, road rage, or drunk driving, we might need to find other ways to hold their employer responsible.
One possibility is to sue the bus company for negligent hiring. This might be possible if the bus company knew the driver was unfit to drive when they hired them. For example, suppose the bus driver caused the accident because they were intoxicated, and the bus company knew the driver had a long history of DUIs when they were hired. In that case, the company might be liable for negligent hiring.
Public Transportation Entities
Dalton, GA is served by the Whitfield County Transit Service. This is not a typical bus route. Instead, those without transportation may arrange a ride with the transit service to get to medical appointments, run errands, visit family, or go to other important places within the county. If you are in an accident with one of these buses, you might have a case against the local government.
Under O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5(b), a claim against a local municipality or governmental entity must happen quickly. You have only 6 months from the date of the accident to file a notice of your claim with the appropriate authorities. If you miss this deadline, you might be unable to hold the government responsible for the accident.
Evidence You Need to Support Your Dalton, GA Bus Accident Case
First, we should review any evidence you might have obtained from the accident scene. Photos or videos recorded by injured victims or others at the accident may be very important. Unfortunately, auto accidents are usually cleared away rather fast, and there might not be much evidence to find there now.
If there were witnesses, we need to find them and ask them about what they saw. Maybe a passenger on the bus saw the bus driver texting on their phone or talking to a passenger and not watching the road. Perhaps someone who knows the bus driver was with them at a bar drinking shortly before they started work.
Various records about your damages might be necessary. Medical records can help us show how badly you were injured and what medical care cost you. The same goes for records from a mechanic or auto repair shop.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Assist You in Your Bus Crash Claims in Dalton, GA
An experienced lawyer can help you investigate the accident, prepare evidence, and develop legal strategies and arguments for the courtroom. Our investigation for evidence may begin with anything you took from the accident scene. Many people take photos and record videos of a crash right after it happens. If you did not do so, other accident victims might have. We can also consult police reports about the crash to see if the authorities uncovered any evidence in their investigation that we can use.
Next, your lawyer can help you prepare evidence and witnesses for the trial. Evidence must adhere to rigid evidentiary rules and standards. Any evidence that deviates from these standards might be inadmissible in court. We can review evidence to make sure it is admissible. We can also talk to witnesses and prepare them for questioning in court. Witnesses are sometimes unfamiliar with court proceedings and might be wholly unprepared to deal with fierce cross-examinations from the defense. We can help them prepare so their testimony is as true and accurate as possible.
Speak to Our Dalton, GA Bus Accident Attorneys Today
For a free, private evaluation of your legal claims, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and talk to our Atlanta bus accident lawyers.