Bus transportation serves the citizens of Statesboro well. Whether traveling to school, work, or even out of state, buses generally represent a safe mode of travel. Even so, bus accidents in and around the Statesboro area still occur. The injuries and property damage sustained can be serious and costly.
To protect your financial security, ensure continued medical care, and hold those at fault for your injuries responsible, speak to a Statesboro bus accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates as soon as you can following your accident.
Private, Public, and School Bus Regulations
The type of bus you are on will affect who you file your injury claim against and how that claim moves through the legal system.
Private buses, owned and operated by privately owned companies, are classified as carrier vehicles. They operate under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Among other factors, these regulations address
- Required safety features
- The number of hours and consecutive days drivers can work
- Mandatory rest periods for drivers
- Maximum number of passengers
- Weight restrictions
- Insurance requirements
- Driver training and licensing
Public and School Buses
Buses used for public transportation and school buses must also meet FMCSA regulations. School buses, however, must also comply with additional, comprehensive specifications established by the Georgia Department of Education.
Bulloch County’s 163 school buses transport over 5,500 students to and from school daily.
Drivers must have appropriate licensing and regular training. Bulloch County School mechanics are responsible for keeping buses safely maintained, conducting inspections, and required services every 20 days.
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Determining Culpability in a Bus Accident Can Be Tricky
Georgia is a fault state, which means the party more at fault for an accident pays the victim (the party less at fault or not at fault) compensation for the damages caused. If a motor vehicle accident involves only privately owned vehicles, the insurance company representing the at-fault party usually compensates the victim. Sometimes, the victim may file suit against the at-fault party’s personal assets as well.
In a bus-involved accident, knowing who to hold accountable is not always so clear-cut. Additionally, filing suit against a private bus company is much different from suing a government entity that oversees school and other public transportation.
When you have a bus accident lawyer in Statesboro handling your case, you do not have to worry about navigating those murky waters. Your lawyer from John Foy & Associates will know who to file against and how to carry that claim through the process.
Finding the At-Fault Parties
As a general rule, at-fault parties and the insurance companies representing them do not want to pay damages. In a bus accident, potentially culpable parties are likely to point fingers at each other to avoid paying out. You need a Statesboro bus accident attorney to investigate the accident and determine who needs to pay.
The possibilities can include:
- Bus drivers, if they were operating the vehicle recklessly while under the influence or otherwise distracted.
- Bus companies if they did not conduct proper background checks, training, or oversight of their drivers. Companies may also be responsible if any part of their operation did not comply with FMCSA rules.
- Vehicle or part manufacturers or installers, if a malfunctioning or improperly installed vehicle part or safety feature caused the accident.
- Vehicle inspectors, if they failed to conduct and document mandatory inspections.
- School districts, if they failed to meet state and federal standards.
- Government entities responsible for maintaining road conditions, traffic signals, and lighting if any of those factors contributed to the accident.
Filing Against Government Entities Is Complicated
If your claim is against a government entity, which can include school districts, the filing process, and subsequent procedures follow a unique set of rules aligning with Georgia’s Sovereign Immunity Statutes.
Under sovereign immunity, government offices or employees may be protected from lawsuits. In other words, you may not be able to file against them. The rules governing sovereign immunity are complicated, to say the least, and require the expertise of a bus accident attorney in Statesboro. Your lawyer has the skill and knowledge to understand the nuances of sovereign immunity and discover the best path to take your case forward.
You will likely endure physical pain and emotional trauma following a bus accident. Securing the help of a bus accident attorney in Statesboro will alleviate additional stress, as your lawyer will manage all your legal concerns and work toward your financial restoration and relief.
Your lawyer will:
- Prepare and file all required legal paperwork
- Investigate all aspects of the accident and collect comprehensive evidence
- Handle all communication with the at-fault parties’ insurance and legal representatives.
- Negotiate a settlement and ensure you are compensated justly.
- Represent you at court if at-fault parties refuse to offer fair compensation and you choose to take the case to trial.
What to Expect from a Fair Settlement
Your case will not be like any other case, which makes it difficult to predict a settlement amount. However, you can expect your Statesboro bus accident lawyer to seek compensation for
- Medical Care and Expenses: If you require ongoing care, your lawyer will seek a settlement accounting for future expenses.
- Economic Losses: You may miss work for several days, weeks, months, or even permanently if your injuries are catastrophic. Whatever wages you have lost, your lawyer will seek their recovery. If you cannot return to work, your lawyer will factor lost potential earnings into the settlement amount.
- Non-Economic Losses: The physical pain and emotional distress you endure should not go unaddressed. This pain deserves recognition, and a financial award can provide access to counseling or other opportunities that will support this aspect of your recovery.
Your lawyer will consider all other expenses you face because of the accident and add their worth to your settlement amount. If your loved one was killed in a bus accident, your Statesboro bus accident attorney can pursue a wrongful death settlement to compensate those left behind for death expenses, loss of income, and loss of a relationship.
Connect with a Bus Accident Attorney in Statesboro Today
It is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Prompt legal attention means your Statesboro bus accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates can file well within Georgia’s statute of limitations, collect evidence and witness testimony while it is still fresh, and set you on a path to financial recovery.
Contact us today for a free consultation. The Strong Arm of Georgia is ready to fight for you.