Bus Accident Lawyer Atlanta

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, bus and large truck accidents were responsible for 12% of auto accident fatalities in 2016. That year, there were 4,079 crashes involving a large truck or bus, and these accidents resulted in an estimated 4,564 fatalities. Moreover, both the number of fatalities and the number of fatal accidents increased five percent and six percent respectively from the previous year, and Georgia was one of the top ten states with the highest average number of fatal large truck and bus crashes from 2014 to 2016.

Large truck and bus accidents in Georgia along with California, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, and North Carolina represent 51% of all fatal accidents involving a large truck or bus and 50% of all fatalities involving a bus or large truck. Accidents involving a bus can be particularly dangerous for a few reasons.

Why are Bus Accidents so Dangerous?

First, many buses can be as heavy as a small commercial truck, and due to this, they can cause damage to multiple vehicles, drivers, and passengers at the same time. Second, bus accidents tend to be more catastrophic because of the large amount of passengers that buses carry. For example, the seating capacity of a Greyhound bus ranges from 25 to 55 passengers. Thus, any serious accident involving one of these vehicles can involve multiple fatalities and injuries, but some of the most devastating bus accidents are those involving children.

School Bus Accidents in Atlanta, GA

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1,282 people killed in school-related-transportation accidents from 2007 to 2016 equaling roughly 128 fatalities per year. Out of all of the fatalities that occurred during that time period, 68 of those fatalities were occupants of the school-related-transportation vehicle. When a child or a loved one is injured or killed as a result of a negligent driver’s actions, it can be a devastating event for your family. This is why you should always speak with an experienced bus accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been involved in a bus accident.

Bus AccidentBus Accident Laws in Atlanta, Georgia

Some of the laws that govern buses in the state of Georgia are similar to those that govern large trucks in many respects. For example, the insurance requirements for buses are controlled by either state or federal law. The factor that determines which insurance requirement applies is whether or not the bus is engaging in interstate commerce or intrastate commerce. Remember, companies that own and operate buses provide a service, the transportation of passengers, for a fee. If the company only transports passengers exclusively within the state of Georgia, the company is required to carry insurance with the following policy limits pursuant to state law:

  • Buses with a seating capacity of 12 people or less
    • $100,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance coverage
    • $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance coverage
    • $50,000 per accident in property damage liability insurance coverage
  • Buses with a seating capacity of more than 12 people
    • $100,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance coverage
    • $500,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance coverage
    • $50,000 per accident in property damage liability insurance coverage

However, these rules only apply to private companies, not buses owned and operated by the state or a municipality. Unfortunately, buses that are owned and operated by the state of Georgia or some other government entity such as a city or county fall under a different set of rules, because the government is exempt from liability under the doctrine sovereign immunity, which states that the government or an agency of the government cannot be sued unless the government waives its immunity in a legal proceeding. This principle applies in school bus accidents as well, unless the school district has contracted with a private company to provide school-related transportation in which case the company will normally be bound by all applicable state laws regarding bus insurance and the duty of care bus companies owe their passengers. Moreover, many school districts have insurance policies that cover car accidents caused by their driver, but limit the district’s liability to the limit of the insurance policy.

Federal Bus Insurance Requirements

When bus companies transport passengers across state lines, they are engaging in interstate commerce, and as a result, these companies must have insurance policies that comply with federal law. Unlike state law, federal law requires motor carriers to carry public liability insurance policies, and this type of insurance does limit the insurance carrier’s exposure for a particular class of damages like bodily injury or property damage. Rather, public liability insurance policies have one limit that is meant to cover all of the damages combined.

For example, suppose you were involved in an accident with a bus that had a public liability insurance policy with a $1,000,000 policy limit, and you sustained $100,000 in property damages and $100,000 in bodily injury damages. Under state law, the amount that a bus company’s insurance would normally pay would be capped at $50,000 or the policy limit purchased for property damages, but due to the fact that the bus company has to purchase a public liability policy, you would have access to $1,000,000 in insurance coverage to cover both the $100,000 in property damage and the $100,000 in bodily injury damages. Federal law requires companies or entities that own or operate buses that travel across state lines to carry public liability insurance policies with the following limits:

  • Buses with a seating capacity of 14 passengers or less: $1.5 million
  • Buses with a seating capacity of 15 passengers or more: $5 million

Damages You can Recover After a Bus Accident

Factors such as how the accident occured, who caused the accident, and whether or not you were a passenger, another driver, or a pedestrian involved in the accident can all impact the specific laws that govern how your accident is approached from a legal perspective. However, the damages you can seek as a result of the accident remain the same as any other car accident. Under Georgia law, you are allowed to recover damages for things like:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Future Medical Care
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Mental Anguish

The amount of damages you can recover are often dependent on the specific factors of your case and the severity of your injuries, which is why you should always contact a bus accident attorney if you have been involved in a bus accident.

Bus Accidents in Atlanta, GA

At Cambre and Associates, our team of bus accident attorneys have years of experience in helping bus accident victims like you seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Our attorneys will explain the relevant factors and laws that could affect your claim, interview and cross examine witnesses on your behalf, and seek the best possible resolution to your bus accident claim. So don’t wait. Call our office today for a free consultation.

These types of accidents can result in serious neck injuries, contact our team of neck injury attorneys today and get the representation and compensation you deserve.

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