A car accident on I-20 in Newton County, Georgia has claimed the life of a Newton County woman. Misty McDonald, a 48 year-old resident of Social Circle, Georgia, died when her car rear ended an Emory University bus on December 16, 2015. Investigators did not release a cause of the accident, but they stated that the Emory bus had stopped in the middle lane of I-20 for unknown reasons. This is the second accident involving an Emory bus in the last few weeks. In the first accident, a sleeping ambulance driver crashed into an Emory bus.
Although a cause of the accident has not been released, investigators will likely focus on why the bus was stopped on the interstate. It is illegal to stop or park a vehicle on a roadway without any reason. It is possible that the bus driver was simply stopped for traffic.
However, it is also possible that the bus stopped because it broke down or ran out of fuel. Alternatively, the bus driver could have been distracted and stopped for no reason at all. If it is determined that the bus was not properly maintained or that the bus driver stopped the bus for no reason, then the bus driver, and Emory, may be held liable for Misty McDonald’s death. This is true even though Ms. McDonald rear-ended the bus. Georgia law follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, which allows injured people to recover damages for injuries or death as long as they were less than 50% at fault. If the bus driver and Emory can be held liable, then Ms. McDonald’s family members can bring a wrongful death claim to recover damages for the full value of her life, and her estate can bring a claim for any pre-death pain and suffering and funeral expenses. More information about wrongful death claims can be found here.