Atlanta has the eighth largest rapid transit system in the United States.  Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Buses operate within a network of bus routes linked to a rapid transit system consisting of 48 miles of rail track with 38 train stations.  Nearly twenty people were on a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority bus when it was hit by a stolen speeding SUV.  Some of the passengers reported they flew out of their seats upon impact and suffered minor injuries on February 7th due to the collision into the bus.

Size, weight and number of passengers on bus could increase damages.

Accidents involving school buses, tour buses, charter buses and public transit buses make news headlines around the United States repeatedly. The sizes of the buses could be a contributing factor to the amount of accidents on record.  A bus is a large and heavy motor vehicle that can carry more than 10 passengers including the driver thus increasing the potential for larger monetary damages compared to that of a single motor vehicle accident. Damages including personal injuries sustained in bus accidents are often more severe and involve a larger number of people.

Negligence.

When an individual fails to exercise the degree of care expected of a reasonable person, and it results in an injury, it is called “negligence.” Negligence could be due to a person, owner maintenance, mechanical error, weather, other drivers or a transportation route itself. Passengers, pedestrians, and other motor vehicle operators should know what actions to take if they are involved in a bus-related accident that negatively affects someone’s livelihood, their own livelihood, and results in damages to their person, property or ability to earn wages.

Comparative fault state.

Georgia is a Comparative Fault State which enables plaintiffs to seek damages even if they played some part in the accident and are partially to blame up to 50 percent, plaintiff shall not be entitled to receive any damages if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed.  It is a tort law that allows plaintiffs to sue for the percentage of damages caused by the defendant. Legal action can be brought against the bus company if the elements of negligence are present including: defendant owed the duty of care; had a breach in the duty of care; and the breach caused the injuries or loss to the plaintiff.

Damages sustained through any type of bus accident should be addressed in accordance with Georgia law, the accident and damages should be addressed within the two-year statute of limitations period for personal injury claims, and four years for property damage claims. Bus accident injuries are generally a result of negligence by either the bus operator, the bus owner or another vehicle.  These include charter bus lines, school district buses, public transit buses, and tour buses.

The persons that can be sued in a bus accident scenario are:

Driver of another vehicle;

Owner(s) of bus as employer;

Driver of bus;

Commercial insurer of bus;

Regulatory agency supporting bus safety on issues of bus manufacturer and parts manufacturer;

Licensing agencies of privately owned and public transit vehicles, city, county or state.

Damages.

The two types of damages that victims can sue for include:

1) compensatory damages which are those damages causing economic (loss of wages, medical bills, and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering); and 2) punitive damages meant to punish the persons being sued (Defendants). Seeking professional counsel to navigate through the legal action process regarding bus accidents and a positive outcome is suggested.

Bus accidents may occur due to:

  1. A lack of proper training for bus drivers;
  2. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  3. Talking on the phone or texting while driving;
  4. Limitations to bus driver visibility;
  5. Aggressive driving techniques, speeding or dangerous maneuvering of bus;
  6. Sudden acceleration or braking;
  7. Poor bus maintenance;
  8. Fault of another driver of vehicle.

Seek legal counsel.

If you are involved in a bus accident in Atlanta, Georgia, choosing a direction regarding legal action should be determined as close to the accident date for the best possible settlement. Contact a personal injury specialist with experience settling matters involving bus accidents.

Sources:

https://gtakg.com/georgia-comparative-fault-state-meaning/

https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-9/chapter-3/e/9-3-33

https://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-51/chapter-12/article-2/51-12-33/