One small error on a bus in Carrollton could affect every passenger on the vehicle for the rest of their lives. We place a lot of trust in bus drivers. We count on them to get us safely to our final destination. When a driver isn’t paying attention or isn’t trained properly, it can result in accidents that have serious, long-term effects on both those in and outside of the bus. If you have been involved in a bus accident, you need to call a Carrollton bus accident lawyer to get help right away.
We know how confusing and overwhelming a bus accident can be. Our lawyers have over 20 years of experience helping bus accident victims just like you. We never work for insurance companies because we want to use our legal knowledge and experience to help victims fight back when an accident happens. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
When is the bus company responsible for my injuries?
Bus drivers are generally employed by a busing company. They represent the busing company through every action that they take while on the job. That means that the bus company is usually legally responsible for the driver’s actions through a concept called “vicarious liability.” This concept has been developed because of the relationship between the employee and the bus company.
A bus company can also be responsible directly as well. Situations where this occurs may include:
Poor training or hiring.
The bus company is responsible for hiring employees that are mentally and physically capable of driving a bus. Where a driver has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to drive, an employer must refrain from having them drive a bus. Employers are also required to ensure that drivers have the necessary licenses in Georgia to drive a bus. Training employees properly is also a requirement that a bus company cannot ignore.
Inadequate bus maintenance.
In most situations, the bus company must also maintain the bus so that it is in proper working order at all times. When they ignore this responsibility, then there is a higher risk that a breakdown will occur that endangers passengers’ lives.
Requiring unsafe working hours.
Bus drivers are only permitted to drive a specific number of hours per day without a break or sleep. While this requirement generally isn’t a problem when the bus is traveling in town, it can be a significant issue for tour buses or long-distance transport. When employers ignore laws and regulations to make money, it is a hazard to their drivers and all of their passengers.
In most situations, even when the bus company is involved in the lawsuit, the driver will be named as well. But, practically speaking, the bus company and its insurance company will likely be the primary players in your bus accident lawsuit.
Is there a higher standard of care for bus drivers compared to passenger vehicles?
Definitely. Bus companies must train their employees to realize that they are held to a higher standard than a passenger vehicle when driving a bus. Many people put their lives in the bus driver’s hands when they step on the bus. That means that even one small mistake that causes an accident will not be tolerated from a legal standpoint. The following examples are never acceptable actions for a bus driver:
- Checking their phone while driving
- Looking away from the road to talk to passengers
- Driving while intoxicated (including prescription drugs)
- Driving while drowsy
- Misjudging speed or distance
Even something like vision problems or health issues should be addressed long before a bus driver gets behind the wheel. No one is perfect, but because of the higher standard the bus drivers are held to, they must be pretty close.
Can I file a bus accident claim if I was injured on public transit?
Yes! Just because the government runs the bus doesn’t mean you have to give up your legal rights. But, the rules for filing a claim in Georgia against a government entity are slightly different than they would be if the case were against a private individual or company. And, the deadlines are much faster. That means that you need to take action quickly after your accident to be sure that you aren’t accidentally missing any deadlines.
Actions against the government require notice within six months of the date of the injury. The government will then investigate your claim and offer you a settlement, if appropriate. The government is far less likely to take a bus accident case to trial because it is expensive and time consuming for them to defend the action. It also generally looks bad to have negative publicity associated with their busing system.
Your attorney will be able to help you provide the proper notice to the government entity involved, but you have to contact a bus accident attorney quickly to get the process started.
What kind of injuries are commonly caused by a bus accident?
Buses are large vehicles, which means that those inside are actually safer in a collision than someone in a passenger car or truck. But, you can still suffer severe injuries when a bus accident occurs.
Because of their size, buses have a higher likelihood of tipping and rolling over. That type of severe accident can cause injuries that may affect you for the rest of your life. Other common injuries include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Back and neck strains
- Spinal cord damage that can result in paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- The need for amputation
A severe bus accident can also result in fatalities. If a loved one has been killed in a bus collision, you have legal options that often include bringing a wrongful death claim against the bus driver and bus company.
Talk to a Carrollton Bus Accident Lawyer for Free
Bus accidents are infrequent, but when they do occur, they can have serious and painful effects. You likely have legal rights after a bus accident that can help you get money. Don’t wait to get the legal process started. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get a FREE consultation today.