Bus Accident Lawyer in Atlanta
Understanding the legal complexities of a bus accident involving MARTA or other public transportation systems (such as Gwinnett Transit, CobbLinc, Xpress, and Chatham Area Transit) in Atlanta can be daunting, especially considering the specific rules and strict statutes of limitations you must follow to pursue a successful personal injury claim. Bus accident victims often experience devastating outcomes, including life-changing injuries, emotional distress, financial hardships, and even death.
A leading Atlanta personal injury attorney at The Pendergrass Law Firm, P.C. is here to guide you through the legal process and fiercely advocate for your rights. With a personalized approach and unwavering determination, our legal team will tirelessly fight for the justice and financial compensation you deserve, helping you reclaim the reins of your life.
Types of Buses Involved in Accident Cases in Atlanta
Our bus accident lawyers in Atlanta have thorough knowledge of the different types of buses running throughout Georgia that can be involved in a bus accident.
Public transportation buses
Collisions involving buses from a public transportation system can be particularly complicated due to the involvement of government agencies and the specific rules and regulations that may apply. Some of the biggest systems include:
- MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority)
- CobbLinc (Cobb County Transit)
- GCT (Gwinnett County Transit)
- CAT (Chatham Area Transit)
- Xpress (Georgia Regional Transportation Authority)
- BCT (Brunswick-Glynn County Transit)
- Athens Transit System
Private bus lines
Accidents with a privately-owned bus like Coach, Megabus, or Greyhound might entail different liability issues, insurance company policies, and regulations compared to public transit systems.
Airport and hotel shuttle buses
These buses frequently carry passengers in congested areas and near airports and hotels, raising the likelihood of accidents. Identifying liability in these situations may involve multiple parties, such as the shuttle service, airport, or hotel.
Accidents with charter buses can arise from driver negligence, inadequate vehicle maintenance, or other factors. Establishing responsibility in these cases may involve the charter company, bus owner, or even the organization that contracted the bus.
Accidents with tour buses can stem from various causes as well, including driver mistakes, subpar road conditions, or mechanical issues. These cases might necessitate an assessment of the tour company’s obligation to ensure passenger safety and their compliance with industry regulations.
School Bus Accidents in Atlanta
A school bus accident can result in serious injuries for the children on board and may necessitate navigating additional legal considerations related to school districts and their accountability for student safety. If the school bus driver is at fault, the school district may be held liable for the driver’s negligence. School districts have a duty to ensure their bus operators are properly trained, licensed, and follow all safety regulations.
According to Georgia’s “Stop for School Buses” law, drivers are required to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading passengers, when the bus’s stop sign is extended and its red lights are flashing. In an accident involving a driver’s failure to stop for a school bus, the driver may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages.
If you or someone you care about has been involved in a bus accident, it’s essential to consult an experienced Atlanta bus accident lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of your case.
Proving Liability in Bus Accident Claims in Atlanta
Several factors can contribute to a bus accident, with multiple parties involved. Our Atlanta bus crash attorneys will move fast and take the following steps to prove liability:
Identifying the responsible parties
Identifying the at-fault parties in a bus accident case is an essential step in the process of seeking justice and compensation for the bus riders. This may include:
- Bus driver: If the bus driver’s actions, such as speeding, driving under the influence, or violating traffic laws, contributed to the accident, they could be held liable for the resulting injuries sustained and damages.
- Bus company: The company operating the bus might be responsible if they failed to provide proper training to the bus drivers, neglected to maintain the vehicle, or enforced policies that encouraged unsafe driving practices, such as unrealistic schedules or excessive overtime.
- Third-party driver: In some cases, another vehicle may be involved in the accident, and the driver of that vehicle could be held liable if their negligence or violation of traffic laws led to the collision.
- Government agency: In situations involving public transportation, a government agency may be responsible for the accident. This could be due to inadequate oversight, poor maintenance of roads or infrastructure, or failing to address known safety hazards.
- Bus manufacturer: If the accident was caused by a design flaw, manufacturing defect, or faulty part in the bus, the bus manufacturer might be held accountable for the damages.
- Maintenance company: A maintenance company contracted to service the bus may be liable if their negligence, such as failing to replace worn-out parts or properly address known mechanical issues, contributed to the accident.
Investigating the cause of the accident
Finding out what caused your bus accident in Atlanta is the next crucial aspect of determining liability and obtaining justice. The most common causes include:
- Driver negligence: An investigation may reveal that the bus operator was at fault for the accident due to negligence, such as distracted driving, speeding, or failing to follow traffic rules. In such cases, obtaining witness statements, reviewing traffic camera footage, or examining the driver’s driving history can help establish negligence.
- Mechanical failures: Sometimes, an accident can be traced back to a mechanical issue with the bus itself. In these instances, inspecting the vehicle, reviewing maintenance records, and analyzing any potential manufacturing defects can help pinpoint the cause of the accident.
- Poor road conditions: Hazardous road conditions, such as potholes, inadequate signage, or faulty traffic signals, can contribute to a bus accident. In these cases, photographs of the accident scene, documentation of the road conditions, and consultation with traffic safety experts can help build a strong case.
- Inadequate maintenance: If the bus company or maintenance provider failed to properly maintain the bus, it could lead to an accident. To prove this, investigators may examine maintenance records, interview mechanics, and assess whether the company followed industry standards for vehicle upkeep.
Collecting evidence is an integral part of the investigation process. This will involve gathering physical and forensic evidence from the crash site, obtaining witness statements, evaluating police reports, and reviewing other critical evidence, such as bus maintenance records, surveillance footage, and accident scene photographs.
At The Pendergrass Law Firm, P.C., we can help guide you through the intricacies of the investigation, gather crucial evidence, and build a strong case to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
Understanding Georgia’s negligence laws
In Georgia, the law follows a modified comparative negligence system (as outlined in Georgia Code § 51-12-33). This means that if you’re injured in a bus accident, you can still recover compensation even if you’re partly at fault for the accident. However, there’s an important caveat: you must be less than 50% responsible for the accident to be eligible for any compensation.
Assessing the role of each party
After identifying the responsible parties and determining the cause of the accident, it’s essential to assess the role each party played in contributing to the accident. This may involve evaluating the bus driver’s actions and bus company’s policies.
Our Atlanta bus accident lawyer will conduct a thorough analysis of the bus company’s hiring and training procedures, safety protocols, and vehicle maintenance schedules to reveal whether the company may have contributed to the accident by neglecting their responsibilities or failing to adhere to industry regulations.
If a maintenance company is involved in the bus accident claim, we evaluate their adherence to safety regulations and industry standards. This can include checking if they performed regular inspections and maintenance on the bus, as well as identifying any potential mechanical issues that may have contributed to the accident.
Applying relevant regulations and statutes
If you were in a bus crash involving a public transportation system, it’s vital to consult with an Atlanta bus accident attorney who is well-versed in the applicable rules and regulations. These guidelines govern various aspects of public transit operations, including driver training, vehicle maintenance, and passenger safety protocols.
This is where you need to be aware about governmental immunity, also known as “sovereign immunity”. In the context of public transit agencies, governmental immunity can limit the liability of these agencies and their employees in certain bus accident cases. This means that if you’re injured in an accident involving a public transportation system, it might be more challenging to hold the agency or its employees responsible for your bus accident injuries due to this immunity.
There are exceptions to governmental immunity that could apply to your specific case. Many states, including Georgia, have enacted laws that waive or partially waive sovereign immunity for specific types of claims, such as personal injury claims resulting from negligence. In Georgia, the Georgia Tort Claims Act (GTCA) is one such law that provides limited waivers of sovereign immunity under certain circumstances.
Statute of Limitations for Bus Accidents in Georgia
For most personal injury cases in Georgia, including bus accidents, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident (Georgia Code § 9-3-33). This means you have two years to file a lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for your injuries.
Importantly, there are some exceptions to this two-year rule, such as:
- If your accident involves a city or county-operated public bus, you generally have only six months from the date of the accident to file a Notice of Claim.
- For accidents involving state-operated buses, the deadline to file a Notice of Claim is typically 12 months from the date of the accident.
The “Notice of Claim”, also known as an ante litem notice, is a formal, written notification that you plan to pursue a claim against the government agency. The notice must include:
- The name of the government agency you’re filing the claim against
- The specific details of the accident, including the time, place, and circumstances
- The nature of the loss or injuries you’ve suffered
- The amount of compensation you’re seeking
If you fail to provide the required notice within these specified time frames, it could result in the dismissal of your claim. Since the process of filing a claim against a government entity is more complex and has specific requirements, it’s essential to consult with experienced Atlanta bus accident lawyers who are familiar with these procedures.
Your Recovery Begins Here: Reach Out to Atlanta’s Highly Experienced Bus Accident Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has sustained losses in a bus accident, you need a battle-hardened legal team on your side. At The Pendergrass Law Firm, P.C., our seasone Atlanta bus accident attorneys are committed to getting you the financial compensation you deserve. With our extensive knowledge and experience, we’ll gather strong evidence to build a solid case on your behalf, which may include:
- Security video footage
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Skid marks and other forensic evidence at the crash site
- Driving records
- Bus company employment records
- Driver’s medical records
- Witness statements
- First responder statements
- Police reports
- Testimony of accident reconstruction experts
We will not hesitate to hire top expert witnesses to piece together the evidence and paint a clear picture of what happened, who was at fault, and why you deserve to be compensated. By choosing The Pendergrass Law Firm, P.C., you’re enlisting a team that can stand up to the biggest insurance carriers and bus companies in the nation, holding them accountable for your injuries and losses.
Contact us online or call us to schedule your free and confidential consultation with an Atlanta bus accidents lawyer.