People of all ages in Lawrenceville ride buses to school, work, and more. And while we trust most bus drivers to be responsible and careful, these big vehicles can lead to accidents if something goes wrong. If you were involved in any kind of bus accident and it wasn’t your fault, it’s time to speak with a Lawrenceville bus accident lawyer.
Our attorneys know how to help you. With over 20 years of experience working on Lawrenceville personal injury victims, like bus accidents, we know what’s required to win at a trial or get a fair settlement in these situations. Let us give you a free consultation to talk about your case.
What Should I Do if I Was in a Bus Accident in Lawrenceville?
If you’ve been involved in a bus accident, for whatever reason, there are several things you’ll want to do:
Call the Police
The bus driver or staff hold responsibility for calling for help, but if they were disabled in the accident or refuse to call 911, you’ll want to do it yourself. The accident will need to be reported to the police so they can create a report documenting the accident and its details.
Get Medical Attention Right Away
Any lawsuit arising out of a bus accident must be filed within a certain amount of time, known as the “statute of limitations,” or any legal claims or right to sue will be lost. In Georgia, when a government entity like a school is involved, that time period can be as short as six months.
This is why it’s so crucial to consult with a Lawrenceville bus accident lawyer as soon as you can, rather than taking a “wait and see” approach. Some injuries may seem okay right after they happen, but they could have long-term consequences or residual symptoms that last much longer.
Document Everything You Can
If you’re well enough to do so, note what you see at the accident scene. Get names, phone numbers, physical and email addresses, and other forms of information from the bus driver, other passengers, witnesses to the accident, and any other people involved. That includes the officer who arrives on the scene.
Your lawyer may need to reach out to any of these people when investigating your bus accident claim.
Get Legal Help
Bus accidents can be especially complex, and the consequences are often more extreme than a typical car accident. Buses don’t have the same amount of safety equipment—like seat belts and airbags—found in regular motor vehicles. Injuries can potentially be more serious and involve more steps to recovering money for your suffering.
Talk to an experienced Lawrenceville bus accident lawyer for the help you need today.
What Are the Most Common Types of Bus Accidents?
There are a number of accidents that can occur with buses. They may include:
- City buses
- School buses
- Hired/charter buses
- Long-distance buses
- Large vehicles like vans or shuttles for hotels, airports, or establishments that count as buses
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, school bus accidents account for the most bus fatalities per year than other types of buses. Bus accidents can happen with cars, motorcycles, other buses, pedestrians, illegal passing, or bus malfunctions.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Most Common in Bus Accidents?
Any bus accident can result in injuries and/or damage to the vehicles involved. Victims in a bus accident could be passengers, bicyclists or pedestrians, someone slipping and falling while getting on/off the bus, or people in another vehicle that is in an accident with the bus.
Just like with car accidents, the types of injuries can vary. Bus accidents can cause:
- Bruising and bleeding
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Even death
Since buses have different construction than other smaller vehicles, bus accidents can also cause unique injuries. For example, most don’t have safety restraints or seat belts due to their high center of gravity which makes them more prone to rollovers. Passengers are also more likely to hold onto their items, which can increase the risk of projectiles if the bus stops abruptly.
The chances of bus accidents are typically lower than with other vehicles, but the injuries that can result from them can potentially be much worse.
Who Is at Fault for a Bus Accident in Lawrenceville, GA?
It depends. Bus accidents are different legally from regular auto accidents. In car accidents, for example, the insurance company of the driver will usually take care of claims.
In bus accidents, the process is not as straightforward because the bus passengers probably don’t have insurance coverage for this type of accident. Plus, a third party may be involved in the accident (such as another car) and the bus company might hold certain liability immunities to protect them.
If a third-party driver is at fault for the bus accident, you can usually make a third-party claim with the insurance company of that driver. You can seek compensation for medical expenses for injuries, damages, and loss of income. However, if the bus driver is at fault for the accident, the situation can get much more complicated.
Many times, government entities like school districts or local transportation authorities are operating the buses.
Bus Accident Claims Against the Government
There’s much more involved when filing a claim with a government entity versus a typical insurance claim in a car accident because many government entities self-insure. So, if the government denies your claim, you’re left trying to file a personal injury claim against the government entity, which can get very complex and confusing.
In some cities, there are complicated rules for how to appeal insurance denials—or the window of time to make a claim is very small. And if those rules aren’t followed, it can potentially threaten your chances in a later lawsuit.
This is why working with a bus accident lawyer is so crucial to making sure the process goes smoothly and you avoid a worse outcome.
How Georgia’s Shared Fault Laws Could Impact Your Compensation
In Lawrenceville bus accident claims, it is more common than you might have thought for the injury victim to be accused of sharing fault for their injuries. Fortunately, since Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system, if you do share fault for your injuries, you do not need to worry about being barred from having your case heard unless your portion of falls exceeds 49%. This threshold is the absolute maximum amount of liability an injury victim can carry if they hope to seek compensation in the Georgia civil court system.
You might be partially at fault for causing your bus accident injuries if:
- You were roughhousing with other bus passengers
- You were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident
- You were in violation of the bus’s code of conduct
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
- You were distracted when you were struck by the vehicle
These are just a few examples of ways you could be accused of being partially responsible for your bus accident injuries. It is important to note that if you do share liability for your injuries, your compensation will be affected.
How Liability Affects Compensation
Expect your compensation to be reduced to account for your percentage of liability. For instance, if the judge assigned you 25% of the liability in your case, your injury settlement would then be reduced by 25%. If you were awarded a bus accident settlement of $1 million, this would then be reduced by 25%, which would leave you with a bus accident settlement worth $750,000.
Sharing liability in a bus accident claim can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your case. If you hope to avoid having unwarranted fault placed on you, make sure you have a dedicated legal advocate on your side who will ensure fault is assessed accurately in your bus accident claim.
How Lawrenceville Bus Accident Victims Are Compensated
There are multiple ways you can receive compensation following a bus accident in Lawrenceville. Generally, two of the most popular ways to seek compensation are through an insurance claim or civil lawsuit. Here is more about what to expect when pursuing compensation through these avenues:
Insurance settlements are one of the most popular ways bus accident victims can recover compensation for the damages. Georgia is a fault-based state for auto insurance purposes. This means when you were involved in an accident, you will file a claim with the liable party’s insurer instead of your own.
Of course, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurer, but only if you purchased personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Still, your lawyer may not recommend filing a claim with your own insurance company, as this could increase the amount of your overall auto insurance premiums in the future.
Tactics Insurance Companies Use
Since you will be dealing with another party’s insurer, you can expect some pushback. The insurance company is unlikely to subtle your claim without putting up a fight. They will lose money if they pay out on your settlement, so they are looking for opportunities to reduce their financial obligation wherever possible.
Some insurance companies have gone so far as to manipulate the statements given to them by bus accident victims to place unwarranted blame on them for the accident. Other insurance adjusters will make bus accident victims an insultingly low offer, hoping to tempt them into accepting less than they may otherwise deserve.
Do not let yourself get taken advantage of by the insurance company. When you have been through the trauma of a bus accident, have your legal advocate step in and negotiate with the insurance company for you. This way, you do not need to worry about profit-hungry insurers denying you the funds you are entitled to.
Insurance settlements are often not enough to meet an injury victim’s needs. Since the amount of compensation you are awarded from an insurance settlement is dependent on how much coverage the liable party has, it is more common than you might think to have residual damages.
Fortunately, when you bring your case to trial, you can seek compensation for all of your losses. You will not be limited by the types and amounts of coverage purchased by the policyholder when you bring your case to court.
The Statute of Limitations for Bus Accident Claims in Lawrenceville, GA
The statute of limitations for personal injury and bus accident claims in Lawrenceville is only two years. Generally, claims must be filed within two years of the date of the accident for your case to be heard in the Georgia civil courts.
However, the exact deadline the statute of limitations will expire can vary widely based on the specific details of your case such as when you were diagnosed with an injury related to the bus accident when the bus accident occurred, and other factors. Do not risk the statute of limitations running out in your case, as this could result in the court system prohibiting you from filing your lawsuit in the future.
The Cost of Hiring a Bus Accident Attorney
After suffering critical injuries in a bus accident and dealing with the aftermath of what you have been through, the thought of hiring a bus accident lawyer can be overwhelming. You might have many preconceived notions about what it would cost to hire an attorney.
However, the good news is that many bus accident victims will be willing to work with you on a contingency agreement. Your lawyer will handle all of the costs associated with pursuing your case, and not require you to cover any out-of-pocket expenses or costs upfront. You will only be expected to cover your attorney’s fees if we win your case.
If we do not win, you are no worse off than you were prior to the beginning of your bus accident claim.
Talk to a Lawrenceville Bus Accident Lawyer for Free
Do not get left without compensation after a bus accident. Having an attorney on your side makes a big difference—and takes a complex legal process off your plate. Our lawyers will give you a free consultation, and we never charge anything for our services if we do not get you money.