Atlanta Bus Accident Attorneys
Buses in Atlanta may seem like safe alternatives to driving – and often they are. Unfortunately, police respond to hundreds of bus crash calls every year. Most of these accidents are minor, with bus passengers hardly experiencing more than a bump. In some cases, however, bus accidents end in serious injuries. If you suffered broken bones, muscle injuries, whiplash, or other harms in a recent bus accident in Atlanta, contact Butler Prather LLP. You may be eligible for compensation.
About the Bus System in Atlanta, Georgia
In Atlanta, most residents and commuters rely on MARTA to get around. MARTA, or the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, is the city’s rail system. It uses a combination of buses, trains, and streetcars to transport thousands of passengers per day. MARTA has 48 miles of track and 38 train stations throughout downtown Atlanta and the surrounding area. The average ridership for MARTA exceeds 430,000 people per day. Other buses in Atlanta include city buses, school buses, charter buses, tour buses, and bus companies such as Greyhound and MegaBus.
If an accident happens on a school bus in Atlanta, parents may have the right to file a claim against either the school (for private schools) or the city (for public schools). The school will be vicariously liable for accidents that involve their buses. If your accident happens on a city bus, the city could be liable. Claims against the city government in Georgia have shorter statutes of limitations. Seek help from a lawyer with your case.
All bus passengers in Atlanta, GA have the right to expect the owner or operator of the bus to behave with a reasonable degree of care for passenger safety. Bus companies must exercise due care in keeping their buses safe. This may include tasks such as regular bus maintenance, repairs, and properly training bus drivers. Failing to uphold duties of care to bus passengers can cause serious and preventable bus accidents. In these cases, victims generally have the right to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Bus accidents can be much more serious than the average Atlanta car accident. Bus accidents tend to involve more people, along with injury risk factors such as lack of seat belts. Yet bus accidents often happen because of the same reasons as typical car accidents – namely, human error. Human mistakes such as bus driver negligence can cause catastrophic and fatal bus accidents. Bus accidents in Atlanta have had a range of different causes.
- Bus driver distraction
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Third-party driver negligence
- Bus breakdowns
- Part malfunctions
- Dangerous bus interior
- Bad weather
Everything from a criminal attack to an exposed piece of metal under the seat could cause a bus accident in Atlanta, Georgia. As the victim of any type of accident, it is your responsibility to learn your rights by talking to an attorney. An Atlanta personal injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and let you know if you have the elements of a claim. If so, you may be able to hold the bus company, the city, or someone else liable for your damages.
The Bus Accident Investigation Process
Bus accident investigations are often necessary to identify the exact cause of the accident. An investigation could involve police officers, insurance companies, and/or law firms. As a victim, it is generally in your best interests to hire an Atlanta, GA personal injury attorney to conduct an investigation on your behalf. The strength of a personal injury case following a bus accident may rest on an attorney’s ability to gather evidence of someone else’s negligence.
A typical bus accident investigation in Atlanta may require interviews with the bus driver, interviews with eyewitnesses or other passengers, a review of police reports and photographs, a report of the weather conditions when the crash occurred, an investigation into whether the bus driver followed all traffic laws, an analysis of medical documents, and accident re-creation with specialists. The resources of the law firm you hire can determine the thoroughness of the accident investigation.
Damages Available After an Atlanta Bus Accident
If you or a loved one was recently in a bus accident, you may wonder about the potential benefits of bringing a claim. Legal action might be the last thing on your mind as you recover from your personal injuries, but a successful claim could give you the financial compensation you need to move forward. Winning a settlement or jury verdict after suffering injuries in an Atlanta, GA bus accident could compensate you for a variety of damages.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
A judge in Atlanta may award punitive damages if the bus company or other defendant was grossly negligent or intentionally caused the accident. Punitive damages provide the plaintiff additional compensation while also punishing the defendant. Learn the potential value of your claim during a free consultation in Atlanta.
What to Do After a Bus Accident in Atlanta
It is important to protect your own personal safety after a bus wreck in Atlanta. First, check yourself for injuries. Then see if anyone else has injuries. If you notice any injuries, call 911 and request an ambulance. Remain in a safe location until paramedics arrive. Try not to move too much while you wait for EMTs, as this could aggravate and worsen an injury to the back, neck, or spinal cord. Even if you do not think you have injuries, visit a doctor after a bus accident. A hospital visit could diagnose hidden injuries, such as bleeding in the brain.
Try to collect information about the bus accident while still at the scene. Take photographs of the accident and your injuries, as well as any important features of the scene, such as the spilled liquid that caused your slip and fall. Get the names of the bus operator and the bus company. Write down the bus number and its license plate information. If anyone witnessed the accident, get that person’s name and contact information. Call the police to report the accident if it caused any injuries, deaths, or over $500 in property damage.
Next, contact a bus accident attorney in Atlanta for advice. Bus accident claims are difficult to navigate, as they involve complex questions of liability between the bus company and the bus driver. A Georgia bus accident lawyer can help you figure out what caused your accident, who is liable, and where to file an injury claim. You may need a lawyer to negotiate a farrier settlement with an insurance company on your behalf, or take your case to court in uncommon circumstances. Getting in touch with a lawyer can help you know what to do next.
Pursuing Financial Recovery After a Bus Accident
A bus accident can leave you in the hospital, with mounting medical bills and thousands of dollars in lost wages. Your financial future may depend on what you can receive in a personal injury lawsuit. Our law firm knows a PI claim can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with competent attorneys. The Atlanta, GA bus accident lawyers in our office can help you identify the defendant(s), determine fault, and fight for just compensation for losses. Potential defendants in a bus accident can include:
- Bus driver. Despite being in charge of the safety of dozens of paying passengers, bus drivers may not take their responsibilities seriously. Bus drivers might operate the vehicle while drunk, drowsy, or distracted. Bus driver negligence can lead to a lawsuit against the individual but more likely against the company. Vicarious liability makes employers legally responsible for the actions of employees while on duty.
- Bus company. In most cases, bus companies are liable for the mistakes of drivers through vicarious liability. This means if the bus driver was on duty at the time of the wreck, the driver’s employer must pay for victims’ damages. If the company failed to investigate a driver before hiring him/her and missed a record of driving under the influence, the company would also be at fault.
- The City of Atlanta. Buses may be under the control of private companies or public entities. In the event that a public entity such as the city of Atlanta regulates the bus that crashed, victims will have to file claims against the government. These claims typically involve first writing a letter of intent to the correct administration under a strict deadline – often within six months of the crash. Always speak to an attorney about public bus accidents to ensure you obey the special rules that apply.
- A third party. Some bus accidents stem from third-party negligence. A third party can be a number of individuals and entities: manufacturers of defective bus parts, other drivers on the road, or a maintenance crew in charge of clearing roadway hazards. It may be possible to sue more than one party for your bus accident – for example, the bus company for hiring an incompetent driver and a third party for a malfunctioning traffic light.
There are many potential options when it comes to liability for your injuries. The important part is that someone pays for your physical, emotional, and financial losses. Let us take care of the legwork of filing a lawsuit for you in Atlanta. Contact us at (404) 321-1700 to discuss your Atlanta bus accident during a free consultation.