Although buses provide an essential service to schoolchildren, commuters, and travelers of all kinds, they can be difficult to operate. Large, unwieldy vehicles like buses are frequently involved in collisions and can cause serious injuries to passengers, pedestrians, and occupants of other vehicles.
A person who suffers injuries from a motor vehicle accident involving a bus might be able to receive financial compensation with help from a Marietta bus accident lawyer. Georgia allows injured victims only two years from the date of an accident to bring a claim for damages, so it is important to consult with a proactive personal injury attorney immediately after an automotive collision.
In order to collect damages, the person bringing a case—the plaintiff—must establish that another party was negligent. A plaintiff must show that someone owed them a duty and breached it, which caused the accident that led to their injuries.
As common carriers, buses and the transportation companies that own and operate them are subject to a higher duty of care than private motorists. Bus drivers must obtain commercial licenses under the law and may need additional endorsements that require specialized training, especially if their vehicle will be transporting children. Establishing a duty on the part of the driver and the transportation company is straightforward in most bus accident cases.
Many instances may demonstrate a breach of duty, such as:
A local attorney well-versed in bus accident cases could investigate multiple avenues to identify potentially liable parties.
Georgia’s law embraces a modified comparative negligence theory. This means that all parties are responsible for their part in contributing to an accident.
If a plaintiff is found to be more than 49 percent responsible for an accident, they cannot collect damages from other negligent parties. If a plaintiff’s degree of fault is between 0 and 49 percent, the plaintiff may receive a settlement. However, their total damages award will be reduced according to their percentage of responsibility.
State and local governments may be defendants in many bus collision cases. Some municipalities own their own commuter buses and employ drivers, and government entities might own buses to transport children, employees, and prisoners, among others. If poor road maintenance or inadequate signage was a cause of the accident, the corresponding government entity may also have liability.
It is important to act quickly in bus crashes involving government entities. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §50-21-26 requires anyone who believes they have a claim against the state to file a formal notice within one year. If the potential defendant is a city, town, or county in Georgia, plaintiffs have only six months to file a notice of claim with that local government.
Failure to file a timely notice of a claim protects the government from liability, and a plaintiff will lose their claim against that potential defendant. Bringing a nearby attorney onboard soon after a bus accident could ensure that notice requirements are met and help to preserve a plaintiff’s right to bring claims against all potential defendants.
State claims notices and comparative negligence laws can be confusing and tricky to navigate. Transportation companies also vigorously defend against bus accident claims to limit their financial and legal liability. Negotiating with them within a complex system of statutes is a job for an experienced legal professional.
A savvy lawyer could investigate the circumstances of the accident thoroughly to identify all potentially negligent parties. Work with a persuasive professional who could support and guide you in seeking compensation for your injuries. Contact a Marietta bus accident attorney today to schedule your free consultation.