Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | May 4, 2020
Last month, five people were killed and at least two were critically injured in a head-on collision involving a MARTA bus and a small sedan. According to reports, the small sedan was packed with 7 people, including two young children, when the driver lost control and veered into the path of an oncoming MARTA bus. The crash took place shortly before 11 PM on Bolton Road, just south of the Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.
The driver is one of the two occupants of the Nissan to survive the crash. While the cause of the accident remains under investigation, it is very possible that the driver is targeted in a number of personal injury lawyers for her role. Surviving victims and families of those who died in the MARTA accident might attempt to hold her financially accountable for their injuries, costs, and suffering.
A Fatal Accident Can Lead to a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Atlanta
Wrongful death means that someone you love has died as a result of anther person’s negligence, carelessness, reckless actions, or wrongful conduct. In other words, their death could have been avoided if that other person had acted differently.
In Georgia, certain family members have the right to seek monetary damages in the wake of a tragic and avoidable death. This happens through what’s known as a wrongful death lawsuit.
This right is exclusive to the victim’s:
- Child(ren), or
When multiple surviving family members exist, damages can be apportioned among them. In other words, a settlement or award won in a wrongful death lawsuit can be divided up and shared by eligible family members. If the victim had a will, the damages are dispersed according to the victim’s wishes. If the victim died intestate (without a will), Georgia law dictates how the money is divided.
Damages Available in Fatal Accidents Involving Children
This particular car accident in Atlanta resulted in five deaths. Two of those deaths were children. One was 19 months old, the other 4 years old. The parents of these children are likely devastated. Money will certainly not dampen the pain of their tragic losses. However, it can provide a lot of support and relief during a very trying time. It can also serve as a bit of justice in the wake of an avoidable tragedy.
Valuing damages in any wrongful death cases can be tough. However, cases involving children – especially young children – tend to be the most challenging. That’s because, in a wrongful death case, families can recover compensation for the victim’s lost income. When a victim is just 19 months old or 4 years old, it’s hard to identify what that person would have likely earned over the course of their life, had they survived. So, there are often disputes over which statistics, trends, and data should be used in those projections.
Families can also recover damages for non-pecuniary damages related to the loss of a child. This can include money for the loss of companionship and help the child would have provided around the house.
These issues are dynamic and complicated. Insurance companies will almost always work to drive down the valuation of any damages in an injury case. So, it’s critical for grieving families to enlist the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer to help them navigate the process. It’s the only way to level the playing field and ensure that they have the best shot at recovering all of the money they deserve.
Multiple Parties Could Be Liable For the Fatal Car Accident
The police believe that the driver of the sedan lost control, veered over the center line, and went straight into the path of the MARTA bus. This might be due to the fact that she was distracted by her passengers. Or, maybe she was fatigued because it was so late at night. Either way, it appears as if her negligence is at least a contributing factor to the fatal wreck.
However, there could be other factors at play. There might be other things that contributed to the crash, at least in part. If that’s true, victims and families might have legitimate claims for compensation against multiple parties. This might include:
- The MARTA bus driver
- The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
- Mechanics responsible for bus or car maintenance
- Vehicle manufacturers, if a defect contributed to the collision, or
- Other motorists on the road.
In Georgia, anyone who contributes to an accident can be held financially responsible for the consequences. Only a thorough investigation will uncover why an accident happened and, in turn, who is to blame. These answers will be essential to a successful recovery in any personal injury case.