Given their size and the number of passengers they can transport in a single trip, both commercial and public bus drivers have an enhanced duty of care when it comes to protecting others. While most drivers and the entities that employ them fulfill their legal obligations without issue, there are those who engage in reckless or careless behavior that puts others around them at risk of serious harm.
If an accident involving a bus or other common carrier left you dealing with severe injuries, a Cobb County bus accident lawyer could potentially help you seek fair civil compensation. Once retained, your seasoned personal injury attorney could review your legal options, determine the best course of action for pursuing financial recovery, and work tirelessly on your behalf to secure a favorable resolution to your case.
Recoverable Damages Through a Successful Claim
Just like other motor vehicle operators, bus drivers are required to stay alert and follow applicable traffic laws and safety regulations at all times while they are in control of their vehicle. That includes while stopping to pick up or drop off passengers. Any act of negligence by a bus driver could impose liability on them or their employer for any compensable losses another person sustains as a result of that misconduct.
A Cobb County bus crash attorney could help demand payment not only for objective economic losses, but also subjective non-economic forms of harm as well. For example, a comprehensive claim might demand recovery for a person’s medical expenses, lost work income, physical pain, emotional suffering, and more, depending on what impact those injuries have had or will have on their life.
Limiting Compensation Through Plaintiff Negligence
However, if a court finds that the plaintiff in a bus accident claim is partially responsible for causing their own injuries or making their effects worse, they may limit the amount of compensation available in accordance with Official Code of Georgia § 51-12-33. Furthermore, under O.C.G.A. § 51-11-7, any plaintiff found 50 percent to blame or more for their injuries is ineligible to recover any compensation regardless of who else was partially at fault.
The defendant’s insurance company may try to blame a bus passenger for their own injuries by claiming they were standing up in their seat at the time of the crash. A lawyer could investigate further in order to fight back against this assertion.
Unique Requirements for Cases Against Municipal Entities
Accidents alleging negligence by a public bus operator—or by some authority responsible for managing drivers or overseeing bus maintenance—are one of the few circumstances under which government entities in Georgia do not have “sovereign immunity” from civil liability. Because of this, it is possible to file suit against a local agency or department responsible for a municipal bus system in the wake of a city bus or school bus crash.
There are a few rules applicable to these types of claims that do not apply to other bus accident cases, as a lawyer in Cobb County could explain in more detail. Most notably, anyone who wants to hold a city or county government entity liable for a bus wreck generally must notify that entity of their intent to file suit within six months of the accident occurring, as opposed to the two-year statutory filing deadline for cases against private companies set by O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
Schedule a Consultation with a Cobb County Bus Accident Attorney
Determining what to do after a serious bus crash can be a difficult decision to make, especially if you are struggling to cover expensive medical bills and deal with immense physical and personal losses. Things can get even more complex if the defendant would be a government entity responsible for managing the public bus service that ended up causing your injuries.
Fortunately, a Cobb County bus accident lawyer could stand by your side every step of the way. Call today to learn more.