Although bus drivers should have sufficient safety training, accidents can still happen. Bus drivers must keep their occupants safe. When an accident occurs, it can leave you with medical bills, lost wages, and more. Talk to a Smyrna bus accident lawyer today.
At John Foy & Associates, we can help. You shouldn’t have to bear the costs of someone else’s mistakes. If a bus accident injured you or a loved one, you have options. We can help you build a strong case and seek the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call or contact us online.
Why Bus Accidents Are Different from Other Crashes
When you step onto a bus, you have no control over the driver’s actions. You are relying on the bus driver to keep you safe. Unfortunately, there are a few factors that make bus accidents substantially more dangerous than the average car accident:
- Buses are larger and more top-heavy than cars. Bus designs make them more likely to roll over during a collision.
- Buses can cause more damage during an accident. The size and shape of a bus can easily hurt occupants and other drivers.
- Buses don’t usually have seatbelts or airbags like passenger cars. If an accident happens, passengers have less protection.
- Bus passengers do not have to sit down during transit. Sometimes, there are no seats available. Passengers who are standing during an accident can suffer severe injuries.
Buses often tend to have more loose items. Passengers carry shopping bags, groceries, backpacks, and more. The force of a collision can throw these items around. Loose items can hit those inside the bus, causing more damage. You can sustain severe injuries in even a minor bus accident.
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Proving Liability After a Bus Accident
Bus accidents are also different from a legal standpoint. When an accident happens between two passenger cars, one of the drivers is usually at fault. The injured driver can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
When a bus accident happens, it’s harder to know who’s liable. The at-fault party could be:
- The bus driver
- A school district
- A transit company
- A mechanic or maintenance company
- The manufacture of the bus parts
Most of the time, the bus driver’s employer will be responsible. However, it’s not always that straightforward. It’s best to work with a Smyrna bus accident lawyer who can determine fault.
Determining Who Was at Fault for Your Bus Accident in Smyrna
In Georgia, the at-fault party in an accident is legally liable. You will need to determine who was negligent in the bus accident. It’s best to contact a Smyrna bus accident lawyer. Tell your lawyer about everything you can remember from the accident.
That includes any risky behavior you noticed from the driver. Your lawyer will investigate the accident and determine whose negligence led to the crash. The at-fault party will be responsible for your damages.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Smyrna
Bus drivers can partake in several negligent behaviors that can cause a bus accident to occur. Common accident causes include:
- Reckless driving
- Drunk or distracted driving
- Sudden stops
- Faulty bus parts
- Bus driver negligence
- Poor training
- Another driver failing to yield for a bus
- Driver distraction inside or outside of the bus
The law holds bus drivers and bus companies to a higher standard. They must adequately train their drivers to protect passengers and ensure that the buses in their fleet get cleared for safe operation. Failure to adhere to this duty of care means that you can file a claim to receive financial compensation under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-1-6.
Bus Accident Damages You Can Claim in Smyrna
After a bus accident that was not your fault, you can seek compensation. You will need to identify all of your accident damages. Damages are the costs or losses from your injuries. Examples of damages include:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
You might have a case if the bus accident injured you. For example, you could be a bus passenger, another motorist, or a pedestrian. Our Smyrna bus accident lawyers will accurately calculate all of your damages to ensure that nothing gets left out of your final settlement total.
Punitive Damages You Could Receive After a Bus Accident
Georgia law allows bus accident victims to recover an award for punitive damages if their bus accident case qualifies. Punitive damages exist to punish a negligent party for their reckless behavior. Qualifying for punitive damages requires that your case show that:
- The negligent party was intentionally trying to cause you harm.
- The negligent party was committing a crime when the accident occurred.
- The negligent party caused your accident through egregiously negligent behavior.
Not all cases can get a reward for punitive damages. But rest assured, if yours does, we will do everything in our power to get you the money you deserve.
What to Do If a Bus Accident Injured You or a Loved One
After your accident, there are things you can do to protect your case. You can begin gathering evidence immediately. However, your priority should be your health.
Get Medical Attention
If you have severe or life-threatening injuries, get medical attention immediately. If the police have already responded to the scene, tell them you have injuries. They should ensure you get prompt treatment.
If you don’t get medical attention at the scene, see a doctor soon after. You will need to have your injuries evaluated, even if you feel okay. If you wait too long to seek treatment, it will hurt your legal case.
Call the Police
If someone hasn’t already done so, call 911. Next, you will need to report the accident to the police. Officers will create an accident report on what happened. An official record of your accident taking place is critical evidence when you file a claim.
Talk to Witnesses
If other people saw the accident, talk to them. Ask for their names and contact information. Our lawyers will reach out to them for statements later. Witness testimony is crucial during negotiations as it strengthens your case immensely.
You can help preserve the accident scene with pictures. Take pictures of:
- Your injuries
- Any vehicle damage
- The entire accident scene
- Exchange driver Information
Take as many pictures as you can. Even if your photos seem trivial, they may come in handy later down the road. While you take photos, also try to get the information of everyone involved, including the bus driver. It’s important you get as much information as possible to make building your case easier.
Contact a Smyrna Bus Accident Lawyer
Bus accident cases can get complicated very fast. It’s best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can determine your legal options. Even though you don’t explicitly need a lawyer, don’t underestimate how hard it is to fight against the insurance company alone.
The Statute of Limitations for Bus Accidents in Smyrna
OCGA §9-3-33 gives bus accident victims in Smyrna a general two-year statute of limitations to file a claim. If you pass the two-year mark, you no longer have the legal right to pursue any action against the negligent party responsible for your damages. In other words, you miss out on your chance to win a settlement.
Don’t wait long to file your claim. Waiting to start your claim only gives the insurance company ample time to challenge you during negotiations or at trial. Instead, invest in hiring one of our lawyers to increase your chances of getting the settlement you deserve. We only get paid if we win you compensation. If we can’t, you pay us nothing.
Get a Free Consultation with a Smyrna Bus Accident AttorneyToday
John Foy & Associates has been assisting bus accident victims for 20-plus years. Our lawyers approach each case with experience and compassion. Don’t let the insurance company bully you into accepting a lowball settlement offer. To schedule your free consultation, call or contact us online. We are available 24/7 to provide assistance.
404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form