A bus accident can leave you injured and wondering where to turn. You may worry about paying your medical bills, and you may have questions about who is legally responsible and how to get their insurance to pay. But you don’t have to face these questions alone.
Let us connect you with a lawyer for free. We’ll give you a FREE consultation to explain your rights, answer your questions and tell you whether you have a case. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
How is a bus accident different than other types of accidents?
The size, weight and shape of a bus make it prone to serious accidents. A bus carrying a full load of passengers can weigh almost as much as an 18-wheeler. And buses are top-heavy, increasing the chance of tipping over in an accident.
Buses often lack the safety features found in passenger cars. Passengers are not protected by air bags, and many buses don’t have seat belts. Even when seat belts are available, passengers are less likely to buckle up than when they are riding in a car. This means that in an accident, bus passengers may be thrown from their seats or may strike their heads, arms or legs on the inside of the bus. Backpacks, purses, laptops and other personal possessions can become dangerous projectiles, causing additional injuries.
Who is “at fault” in a bus accident in Atlanta?
Georgia is known as a “fault state,” which means that whoever is at fault is responsible for all of the injuries and damages caused by the accident. Fault usually hinges on the concept of “negligence.” Drivers are negligent when they are not being as careful as they should have been. If they had been using safe driving behaviors and obeying traffic laws, the accident would not have happened. A negligent driver is legally at fault.
Fault is a little more complicated in many bus accidents because either the bus driver, the bus company, or a governmental entity may be at fault. For example, a bus driver may be employed by an independent bus company that is operating a bus under contract with a city or county. The driver may be negligent, and there may be reasons to hold the employer and the city or county liable as well. Because of these complexities, it is important to have a lawyers help in pursuing any bus accident claim.
What injuries are covered by bus accident claims?
Tragically, bus accidents often cause serious injuries or even fatalities, particularly when the buses are traveling on highways and interstates. Common bus accident injuries include:
- Fractured bones.
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
- Muscle and tendon injuries
- Psychological injuries
What costs can I recover in an Atlanta bus accident?
If you are hurt in a bus accident, you can recover 100% of your costs and damages from the party who was at fault. State and local governments that operate public transit and school buses are protected from lawsuits by the rules of “sovereign immunity,” but they have large insurance policies to cover bus accidents. Many charter bus companies also have hefty insurance policies. Many bus accident victims recover these types of costs:
- Medical expenses
- Prescription medication costs
- The cost of physical therapy and other rehabilitation
- The cost of mental health treatment for issues arising from the accident
- Lost wages, if you missed work time because of the accident
Some accident victims are entitled to far more. If you have severe injuries such as ongoing pain or a disability, you may be eligible for additional large damage awards. Wrongful death damages are available to people who lost a close family member in a bus accident. Money cannot undo the accident or restore life and health, but it can help you regain your financial footing and pay for treatment in a time of terrible uncertainty.
What if the bus was uninsured/underinsured?
State and local governments and major bus companies carry comprehensive insurance policies to pay for the losses in a bus accident. But some smaller bus companies don’t have enough insurance to pay for a devastating bus accident. The same maybe true of other motorists involved in the accident.
When there is no insurance or not enough insurance, we have several ways of recovering money. These might include:
- Making a claim under the uninsured motorist coverage of your own insurance policy
- Finding other insurance policies that might apply to your injuries, including policies held by the bus driver and other drivers involved in the accident
- Getting a court order in an Atlanta Georgia car accident law suitrequiring the other driver to pay you directly
- Making a claim with the manufacturer of the bus or its equipment, if there was a defect or malfunction
- Placing a lien on another driver’s personal or business assets until you are paid.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist accident claims are more complicated than claims where there is adequate insurance. It Is difficult for most injured people to recover money from an uninsured driver on their own. This is why it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after any bus accident.
The insurance company already offered me money. How can a lawyer help me?
Insurance companies are motivated by profit, and it is in their interest to offer you as little money as possible to resolve your claim. The “friendly” insurance company representative is hoping you’ll take the first offer they make and sign away your right to recover any more money later. We talk to many people who regret taking that first offer because they later learned that their injuries were much more severe—and expensive—than they originally thought.
A lawyer is experienced at evaluating insurance company offers and will send you to doctors who can offer a realistic estimate of the amount your injuries will cost and what it will take for you to recover as fully as possible. A lawyer knows how to use this information to convince the insurance company to offer you a fair amount—typically much more than that initial offer.
Talk to an Atlanta Bus Accident Lawyer for Free
Our entire law practice is devoted to helping accident victims the money they need to pay for treatment and put their lives back together. We won’t charge you unless we win money for you. We’d like to give you a FREE, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and help you decide what to do. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.