Atlanta Bus Accident Attorney
As common carriers, bus drivers owe a higher duty of care to their passengers than drivers of other vehicles. Bus drivers and bus companies must exercise the utmost diligence to ensure the safety of their passengers.
Important Information for Victims of Atlanta Bus Accidents
Public transportation contributes to Atlanta’s economy, reduces traffic, and curbs greenhouse gas emissions. The city’s extensive network of common carriers affords those living in the surrounding area easy access to cultural sites, historical landmarks, and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation is a $68 billion industry that employs over 420,000 individuals nationwide. Due to the growing popularity of public transportation, bus accidents are on the rise, as are related injuries and fatalities. Unlike car accidents, which typically only impact a few individuals, bus accidents can injure dozens of passengers in one accident.
Bus drivers must remain diligent to ensure passenger safety. Drivers are required by law to pass a comprehensive medical exam, conducted by a certified medical examiner, and to renew their certificate on a regular basis. Physical requirements mandate that a driver’s vision and hearing levels meet federal standards. In addition, a commercial bus driver must hold a valid commercial license and maintain the required skills. The driver of a bus involved in a collision may be liable to any passengers injured on the bus, and to anyone else injured in the accident.
The most common reasons for bus accident injuries include:
- Bus stops too suddenly
- Bus accelerates before passengers are properly seated
- Bus stops too far from the curb, causing passengers entering or exiting the bus to trip and fall
- The bus takes turns too sharply or engages in other careless or reckless driving
You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Despite the positive contributions to economic growth and development that buses provide, the possibility of a collision with a large bus is a real and growing concern to many drivers. Bus accidents can be both frightening and traumatic.
Unfortunately, the legalities involved with these types of claims are complex and make recovering compensation difficult. An experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney advocating on your behalf can make a difference in your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Whether you were a passenger on a bus involved in an accident, or the driver or passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a bus, it is important to consult an attorney regarding any potential claims.
Insurance carriers that represent bus drivers and companies routinely approach accident victims, often immediately following the accident, in an attempt to limit the victims’ recovery. Attorneys and adjusters who represent insurance companies (even your own) are not on your side. Their primary role is to mitigate the liability of the bus driver, and to ensure the lowest possible settlement amount. Let the experienced attorneys at Hasner Law handle negotiations with the insurance companies, while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
The Most Common Causes of Bus Accidents
- Driver fatigue and impairment: these conditions can significantly impact both reaction time and motor function.
- Defective parts or equipment: malfunctioning brakes and bad tires can have serious consequences. Seemingly inconsequential defects can cause catastrophic accidents, and injury to other drivers.
- Untrained drivers: bus companies are obligated to provide, and monitor, safety training.
- Adverse weather conditions: inclement weather is a common cause of bus accidents.
Additional factors to consider include:
- Traveling on unfamiliar roads
- Failing infrastructure
- Distracted drivers
- Lack of sufficient safety training/monitoring
MARTA Accidents Are Different
Accidents involving the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), or another government-owned and operated transportation entity, must be handled differently than accidents involving charter buses or other commercial vehicles.
To sue a local government, you must first send a “notice of intent to sue” letter within six months of the incident. Not only are the requirements of this notice time sensitive, but they are also specific and extensive. The letter must include not only the date and time of the accident, but also details that establish liability. Timing is of particular importance when filing a claim against MARTA.
Claims against government agencies are difficult to pursue, but not impossible. The Georgia Tort Claims Act permits recovery from an injury caused by government negligence.
At Hasner Law, we offer free consultations to discuss the validity of your potential claim. Talk to one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss your options.
Steps to Take After a Bus Accident
Our singular focus at Hasner Law is to give each client the individual attention required to build a strong case and to ensure maximum recovery. Your actions immediately following an accident are important. Below are important steps that you should take:
Notify law enforcement: A police report is a valuable document when defending against a bus accident. It is always beneficial to gather as much information as possible. Ask for a copy.
Take pictures of the accident scene: Including of the bus, every vehicle involved, damage to your car, and your obvious injuries.
Witness statements are impactful: To the extent that speaking to potential witnesses is feasible, get the names and contact information of persons who are willing to testify on your behalf.
See your healthcare provider: Seek immediate treatment for obvious injuries and be cognizant of symptoms that may surface at a later date. Of equal importance is a physician’s report, as your medical records will directly link your injuries to the accident.
Notify your insurance carrier and review your coverage: Following an accident, check with your agent to determine if you have coverage under an umbrella or homeowner’s policy.
Document everything: Specifically, any conversations you have with a representative from the bus company or any insurance companies.
Track your medical expenses: The cost of medical care, prescriptions, co-payments, mileage to and from appointments, and adaptive equipment may be reimbursable.
The personal injury attorneys at Hasner Law have the experience, resources, and dedication to fight for your recovery. The possibility of multiple liable parties, combined with a plethora of state and federal regulations, makes investigating and litigating a bus accident complicated and time-consuming.
Bus companies may only retain certain corporate documents for a limited amount of time. Unless you specifically request that they be preserved, vital information is often destroyed. Our experienced attorneys understand the importance of quickly securing documents that can prove liability and negligence. We act on your behalf, and in a timely manner, to obtain evidence such as:
- Maintenance records for the bus involved in the incident
- Data from any GPS or electronic onboard recorders
- Driver’s credentials, driving records, and training records
- Driver’s medical exam results and drug testing records
- Company employee handbook, and safety records
Long-Term Effects of an Accident
The immediate physical injuries to victims of impact bus accidents can be tragic, and even fatal. Survivors often experience life-altering long-term effects that are compensable. When severe injuries require extensive amounts of time away from the workplace, hard-earned careers can grind to a halt. Furthermore, victims may suffer more than lost wages. It is not unusual to feel a diminished sense of purpose and self-worth after a major accident.
Sustaining Injuries in Bus Accidents
Unfortunately, most buses do not have seatbelts. Consequently, when an accident occurs, bus passengers have little protection, and can be thrown from their seats. Being tossed around in a bus can result in severe head injuries, soft tissue damage, and/or multiple fractures.
The physical and emotional impact of severe injuries can eradicate lifelong goals. Career aspirations can disappear, as you shift your focus to dealing with long-term injuries. Even minimal head trauma can result in personality changes. A bus accident can impact and change personal relationships, reduce emotional stability, and exacerbate the physical, emotional and financial stress associated with any vehicle accident.
What You Can Expect to Recover
Although each case has unique characteristics, most victims can expect to incur significant medical bills, considerable time away from work, and some degree of pain. Individuals injured in a bus accident may be eligible to recover compensatory damages, which can include:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Prescription medication costs
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Adaptive equipment
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Compensation for non-economic damages (such as emotional distress and physical pain)
Do Not Suffer Alone after a Bus Accident
Being involved in any motor vehicle accident can result in both physical and emotional injuries. When the accident involves a commercial carrier like a bus, the end results can be devastating. The physical injuries may be catastrophic, the emotional impact may be life-altering, and the financial burdens may last a lifetime.
At Hasner Law, we are on your side. We are extremely proud of the testimonials we receive from satisfied clients, and we feel our success rate speaks for itself. We understand that no amount of compensation will compensate you for the damage that you and your family have suffered as the result of a bus accident, but it is a step in the right direction.
If you or a family member has been injured in a coach, MARTA, school, or private bus, contact Hasner Law today at 678-888-HURT (4878), or online, to schedule a free consultation. We are here to listen.