Atlanta Bus Accident Lawyer
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Bus Accident Lawyers in Atlanta, GA
We know that bus accidents can be devastating and can have a lasting impact on your health, your finances, and your family. We’re here to help you get back on your feet, and we’ll work to ensure that justice is served.
The bus operator is responsible for the safety of riders, as well as the safety of others on the road. If they or someone else was negligent in any way, you could be owed significant compensation for your injuries.
Common Atlanta Bus Service Providers & Questions
Bus accidents can involve anything from school buses, public bus services, or private charter buses and shuttles.
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Who Is Liable for a Bus Accident in Atlanta?
More than one party may be responsible for an accident involving a bus. The governmental or private entity that runs the bus line may be negligent if they failed to hire responsible and qualified drivers, or the driver may be at fault if they fail to obey the rules of the road or operate the vehicle responsibly. The driver’s employer will generally also be accountable for the driver’s negligence as well.
Maintenance workers may also be liable if the bus was negligently maintained or inspected. Other parties involved in the operation of the vehicle and its passengers may be responsible for damages as well. Manufacturers of the buses and bus parts may be liable if one of its components or the way it was designed or assembled is defective and is the cause of the bus accident.
Bus operators and owners must adhere to special regulations and are responsible for the safety of their passengers and others on the road. A qualified attorney could help determine whether these regulations were followed and who is liable for the accident if they weren’t.
In the eyes of the law, school bus operators owe a higher duty of care while entrusted with the safe transportation of children. There are both federal and Georgia state regulations in place to ensure this safety while the children are on the bus, boarding the bus, waiting at the bus stop or crossing the street.
Another driver altogether may be responsible for damages if a different vehicle caused the accident.
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Investigating Bus Accidents in Atlanta
Like any motor vehicle accident, an important part of handling any bus accident claim is investigating the cause of the accident. An adequate investigation will help determine who was at fault. In Atlanta, a police officer investigating a bus accident will generally try to determine who was at fault and issue a citation to the negligent driver. Although a citation is generally not admissible in Georgia, a guilty plea to a citation is admissible. If you hire a lawyer to handle your bus accident claim, you should expect the lawyer to thoroughly investigate the accident. This includes interviewing any witnesses who were either on the bus or were in another vehicle and saw what happened. Some bus accident investigations may require an inspection of the accident site. In bus accident cases involving serious injuries or wrongful death where liability is in dispute, the services of an accident reconstructionist can help determine who was at fault.
While Atlanta bus drivers have to follow the same rules of the road that apply to other drivers, bus drivers have additional rules that apply to them. Most drivers on the roadways have to exercise what is called “ordinary care” or “ordinary diligence.” However, buses are considered common carriers. This means that under Georgia law, they owe their passengers a heightened duty of care. Georgia courts have frequently said that this heightened duty of care requires the exercise of “extraordinary diligence.” This does not mean that bus drivers are always liable to their passengers following a bus accident, but it does mean that it is easier to hold them responsible for passenger injuries.
Bus drivers also must comply with various state and federal regulations that apply to the service they provide. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations may apply to the bus service, which would create standards for, among other things, the maintenance and inspection of the bus and hours of service requirements for the bus driver. An experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney can conduct the necessary legal research to find all of the local, state, and federal regulations that apply to the bus company and its drivers.
A common question that people have following a bus accident is what insurance is available to cover their damages. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including who was at fault and whether you were a passenger on the bus.
The person who was responsible for causing the accident should have liability insurance that can be used to pay your damages. For example, if the bus driver was at fault, then the bus’s liability insurance will provide coverage for the bus driver’s negligence. If another vehicle’s driver was responsible for causing the accident, then that driver’s liability insurance should apply.
But what if the at-fault driver’s liability insurance is not able to pay all of your damages? This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes into play. Your uninsured motorist coverage, or the uninsured motorist insurance for the vehicle you were in, may be available to pay for your damages if the negligent driver either has no insurance or not enough insurance. It is important to remember that your uninsured motorist insurance, as well as the uninsured motorist coverage for any resident relatives, is available to you even if you were a passenger in another vehicle at the time of the accident. So, if you were a passenger on a bus and sustained an injury, it is important that you notify your own car insurance company and the car insurance provider of any relatives you live with.
Every personal injury case is unique, and the settlement amounts depend on so many variables, including the extent of the injuries, continued care, and property damage, among other factors.
Settlement amounts are based on medical costs, future medical costs, damage to your vehicle, lost wages and compensation for future loss of earning capacity, legal and transportation expenses and for pain and suffering.
Damages can also include loss of enjoyment of life, loss of intimacy and support and mental anguish. Depending on the amount of negligence involved, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the party or parties liable for the accident.
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