It’s a parent’s nightmare: getting the call that their child has been injured in a school bus accident. What do you do? Who do you call? Do you need to contact a Georgia school bus accident lawyer—and how soon? We’ll answer all of these questions below.
While every situation is a little different, the law is on your side. By understanding the facts about school bus accidents (including who is at fault for them), you can take the right action for your situation and protect the well-being of your family.
Do You Need a Georgia School Bus Accident Lawyer?
School bus accidents can be incredibly hard on a child and their family. If the child was injured, you’re looking at a certain period of treatment and recovery. And if the injuries were serious, you can face weeks, months, or even years on the recovery timeline. Plus, auto accidents are traumatic events even for adults. If the child saw other classmates get injured, they may be dealing with a lot emotionally as well as physically.
All this to say: serious injuries almost always warrant good legal representation. There are some specific legal obstacles parents can face after a bus accident. It’s important that you get the financial recovery your family needs and deserves. And an experienced Georgia school bus accident lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your compensation.
How Can a Georgia School Bus Accident Lawyer Help Me?
If you’re not sure about getting legal help, it’s best to at least schedule a consultation with a trusted lawyer in Georgia. Most personal injury lawyers (like John Foy & Associates) offer the initial consultation for free, so there’s no risk. During that consultation, you can discuss the details of your options and how they can help. Below are some of the main ways a Georgia school bus accident lawyer can help you and your child’s case.
Determining Who Was Really at Fault
If your child was injured because of the accident, you have the legal right to recover damages from the person or party who caused the accident. The problem is that the at-fault party is not always clear in a school bus accident. The ultimately responsible party could be the:
- Bus driver
- Maintenance company
- Bus manufacturer
- Bus company
- School district
- Or another driver on the road
Figuring out whose negligence actually led to the school bus accident gets complicated quickly. Plus, when you seek compensation for damages, you’re now dealing with the at-fault parties’ insurance companies who will begin investigating the situation. This is one of the primary reasons to contact a lawyer as soon as you can after the accident.
There are a number of factors that could lead to a bus accident. The driver could have been drunk, on their phone, or fatigued. Or the school district may have failed to properly vet or train the driver, which could make them fully at fault. If the accident was caused by lack of maintenance, the bus maintenance company may be totally liable. Some school districts use third-party companies who contract out their drivers, which might leave the company responsible. In other situations, multiple parties can share the blame, such as if another driver and the bus driver made poor driving choices before the accident.
If fault is questionable, you will need to do your own research into how the accident happened and who caused it. This is difficult to do alone, but a skilled Georgia bus accident lawyer will know what to do. Fault must be determined to know who is responsible for your child’s injuries and other damages.
Building a Strong Insurance Claim
To seek compensation, you’ll need to make an insurance claim against the at-fault party. This claim will need to include all the details of what your child suffered, including medical expenses, property damage, emotional damages, and more.
Medical bills are fairly easy to demonstrate, but emotional damages never have a clear dollar sign. A lawyer who understands the legal process with school bus accidents can help you compile a claim that accounts for all damages you experience—now and in the future.
Plus, there is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Georgia. Normally, that’s two years from the date of the accident. And if you’re filing a claim against a public entity like a county or city government, it’s six months. Either way, that time goes quickly and you should act as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you keep up with deadlines and get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Even if they make it seem like they care, insurance companies are not on your side. The insurance company of the party who caused the accident will be looking for ways to reduce what they pay out to the victims. They may try to downplay the injuries your child faced, place the blame on another party involved in the accident, or offer you a lowball settlement that doesn’t come close to covering your costs.
At John Foy & Associates, in the last 20 years of working in personal injury law we’ve learned how insurance companies operate. We know their tactics and how to handle them. If you and your family are facing pushback from the insurance company about your claim, we can help you negotiate a fair settlement so you don’t get taken advantage of.
Will I Have to Sue the School System or Anyone Else?
No, you won’t. In fact, you can’t legally sue a school district unless they agree to the lawsuit—which is unlikely. Most personal injury cases do not involve a lawsuit. Instead, an attorney can help you file an insurance claim for your damages.
In most cases involving school bus accidents, no matter who is at fault, a resolution is made during this phase without the need to file a lawsuit.
Need Help From a Georgia School Bus Accident Lawyer?
If you’re trying to decide whether you need a Georgia school bus accident lawyer, have more questions, or are ready to find the right attorney for your family, John Foy & Associates is happy to discuss the details. Working with us is risk-free because we don’t get paid unless we win you money—and the consultation is always FREE. To schedule your own free consultation today, call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form on this page.