Bright yellow school buses are a staple in Atlanta, ferrying thousands of children to and from school each day. While school buses are generally safe, they can be involved in accidents just like any other vehicle. Since 2003, 1353 people nationwide have been killed in accidents related to school transportation, and many more have been injured, sometimes severely. If your child has been hurt in a school bus related accident, you do not have to bear the cost yourself. You are entitled to recover 100% of the costs of your child’s injuries, including medical expenses, prescription drugs and physical therapy. An experienced Atlanta school bus accident lawyer can help.
At John Foy & Associates, we know how important your children are to you, and we are committed to getting a financial recovery that will ensure they have all the care and treatment they need to recover as completely as possible from their injuries. Our law firm has spent the past 20 years helping accident victims—in fact, it’s the only thing we do. We start each case with a free consultation to review the facts and discuss your options. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What are the most common causes of school bus accidents?
School buses are generally regarded as safer than most passenger cars. They’re subject to strict safety and maintenance standards. Drivers must be trained and they’re required to follow all transportation laws and be especially careful. The Georgia Department of Education works with school districts and transportation officials to establish these rules and make sure they are followed. But accidents do happen, for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons we’ve seen for school bus accidents include:
- Bus driver error, including distracted driving, driving under the influence, or making a maneuvering error
- A driver of another vehicle failing to stop for a school bus and injuring students on foot
- Inadequate driver training
- A driver failing to obey traffic laws, including speeding or failing to stop or yield
- A bus that is poorly maintained or has outdated equipment
- Another driver’s vehicle striking the bus
There are many possible reasons for a school bus accident, and depending on the cause, a variety of people and institutions may be legally responsible. Because determining the cause can be complicated, it’s always best to work with an experienced Atlanta school bus accident lawyer.
Do I have to sue my child’s school if there’s a bus accident?
No. School districts and other government entities are subject to something called “sovereign immunity,” which basically means you can’t sue a government entity unless it agrees to be sued. Fortunately, the City of Atlanta and most other communities do purchase insurance that covers school bus accidents. We can often help you win an insurance claim with no lawsuit needed.
If the insurance coverage is not enough to pay for your child’s injuries, there are other ways to get financial recovery, depending on who is legally at fault. These might include:
- The uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your own auto insurance policy
- Insurance policies held by another driver who caused the accident
- The bus driver and/or the driver’s insurance policy, if the driver’s negligence caused the accident
- The manufacturer of the bus or its equipment, if there was a defect or malfunction
We start every case with a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. Then we look for all insurance policies and other possible avenues of recovery that we might pursue. In many cases, we are able to resolve your claim and get the compensation you need without ever going to court.
What should I do if my child is involved in a school bus accident?
Finding out that your child was in an accident is every parent’s nightmare. But you can help your child and protect your rights by staying calm and taking a few simple steps. These include:
- Go to the scene of the accident as quickly as possible and make sure your child is receiving any needed medical attention.
- If your child doesn’t need to go to the hospital right away, talk to other people at the scene who may have witnessed the accident or heard statements made by the bus driver or drivers of other vehicles. Get contact information for people who heard or saw something.
- Take some photos and/or video with your cell phone. Get pictures of the damage to the bus and other vehicles, the general accident scene, and your child’s injuries.
- Ask your child what happened and record the response.
- Get names and insurance information for other drivers involved in the accident. Police officers at the scene may be able to facilitate this.
Even if your child does not appear to be seriously hurt, it is important to have him or her evaluated by a doctor. Bus accidents can cause head injuries, sprains and broken bones that aren’t always readily apparent. Children may want to avoid going to the doctor or may have trouble describing their symptoms accurately. Visiting a doctor right away also shows that you believed your child’s injuries were significant from the beginning, and this can be helpful in pursuing a case in court or through insurance companies.
Do I need a lawyer to help with a school bus accident claim?
Getting a settlement means dealing with the insurance company, and all insurance companies are driven by profit. They will offer you as little as possible to protect their own bottom line. In 20 years of representing accident victims, we have learned how insurance companies work, and we know the kind of evidence and negotiating tactics we need to get them to substantially increase their offers. We also understand the local court system.
In addition, many school bus accidents involve complicated claims. For example, the accident may have been caused by the bus driver, a maintenance company, the bus manufacturer or another driver on the roads. The bus may be privately owned and contracted to the school system. When other parties are legally responsible, their insurance companies also come into play. You need to speak to a lawyer as early in the process as possible.
Talk to an Atlanta School Bus Accident Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we want to make sure you get all the financial recovery you are entitled to. If your child was involved in a school bus accident, we will give you a free consultation. We’ll listen to you and talk about your legal options, with no obligation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.