Every time you send your child off on the school bus or step onto a municipal bus, you are placing your trust in the bus driver and the company that employs them. Most people don’t expect to be involved in a bus accident, but they do happen. If you or someone you love was in a bus accident, you need to contact a bus accident attorney in Kennesaw, Georgia as soon as you can.
When a bus accident happens, it is not just the passengers and drivers who are impacted, but their dependents and families also suffer emotionally and financially. For this reason, there are legal mechanisms in place that ensure the victims can receive compensation for any expenses or costs that arise from the accident. Speak to a Georgia bus accident lawyer, and they will be able to guide you through the process you need to follow to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard defines a bus as a motor vehicle with a capacity for 10+ passengers. This definition includes school, church, municipal, airport, tour, and interstate buses. Under the law, most buses are termed ‘common carriers,’ which means they are subject to state and federal licensing requirements.
However, since buses are generally operated by companies, assigning liability in a bus accident case can be more complicated as compared to simple auto accident cases. That is because it has to be determined who is really at fault – the bus driver or the bus company. Due to the legal complexities of accidents involving commercial carriers, it’s always recommended to hire a bus accident lawyer in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Bus Accidents in Kennesaw, Georgia
Commercial bus firms carry thousands of passengers every day, often for long distances or on interstate routes. Since there are so many buses on the roads, there is an increased risk of accidents taking place. Some of the most common causes of bus accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Negligent driving
- Mechanical failure
- Defectively manufactured mechanical parts
- Hazardous road conditions
Another factor that is specific to buses is the risk of an attack on the bus driver. Buses are open to the general public. All types of people ride the bus, and there is no formal evaluation of bus passengers to ensure that the passengers are safe and reliable. It often happens that violent and emotionally disturbed bus passengers assault a bus driver due to reasons of their own. According to Greyhound’s research, there are numerous incidents each year where a passenger has attempted to grab the driver or their steering wheel while the bus was moving.
Buses also do not have seat belts to protect passengers. This can make children particularly vulnerable to being thrown around the inside of a school bus or even ejected from their seats altogether if there’s a collision. Bus companies and bus drivers are not legally required to provide seat belts to their passengers as this is seen as an unnecessary expense.
Despite the lack of legislation to enforce fitting passenger restraints in tour buses, bus accident lawyers know that if negligence and fault are clearly established, courts will hold bus drivers and bus companies liable. Speak to a personal injury lawyer for more information in this regard.
Do I Need to Hire a Bus Accident Lawyer in Kennesaw, GA?
When an accident happens, it’s understandable that things can become very chaotic. Those involved will naturally be shocked and distressed. However, remaining calm in the aftermath of a bus accident will help you keep a clear head as you complete the following tasks:
Check yourself and your loved ones for injuries
The welfare of people injured in accidents is paramount. That is why you should immediately seek medical attention if you or any bus passengers have been injured. Try not to get caught up in the panic and offer support to those who have sustained injuries or are trapped by wreckage. The bus driver is the one responsible for reporting the incident and calling for medical help. If they are unable to do so because of injuries, then someone else on the bus should do the same. If the bus driver fails to call for medical help even though they were well able to do so, they can be held accountable for their actions. If possible, once emergency services have been called, contact a local bus wreck lawyer.
Move to a Safe Place at the Roadside
If you are able to move without pain or difficulty, it’s wise to remove yourself from the crash scene, particularly if it has taken place on a busy road or congested location. Until emergency services arrive, the whole crash site will be a hazard to other road users, and there is a risk of additional collisions. If there are people who are unable to move away from the bus, there should be safety cones or triangles on board so that you can highlight the area to oncoming road-users.
Contact Bus Accident Lawyers
If you are in a safe place and are waiting for the emergency services, now is a good time to make your first call to a Georgia bus accident lawyer to find out what options are available to you. A bus accident attorney will be able to tell you exactly what you should do next based on your answers to their questions.
Wait for Emergency Services and Remain Calm
Since a bus is a commercial vehicle, if there is an accident, the bus company is responsible for the costs of any injuries sustained by passengers. For that reason, it is important to stay at the scene and wait for the police because your statement will be vital to compiling an accurate police accident report. You should stay at the scene unless your injuries are severe enough to require extensive medical attention. Once you have given your statement and you have been checked to see if you have any injuries, your bus accident attorney can help you start the process of filing a claim for compensation.
What Kinds of Compensation Can I Receive?
The compensation you will receive depends on the nature and extent of your injuries following a bus accident. In general, your Kennesaw bus accident lawyer could help you file a compensation claim for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Reduced earning capacity
- Physiotherapy costs
- Occupational rehabilitation
- Workers’ compensation
- Punitive damages
- Death caused by negligence
Car accident lawyers are in the best position to determine which damages you can claim and which you cannot. The circumstances surrounding the accident will determine how liability for damages is apportioned. Let your bus accident attorney take care of all that for you. Your focus should be on recovery.
There are several different factors taken into account when it comes to claiming for damages including the extent of injuries, ability to earn a living, marital status, number of dependents, current medical bills and expected medical costs in the future. Since there are so many factors involved in calculating damages, it is in your best interest to contact a bus crash attorney for assistance.
Choosing a Bus Accident Lawyer in Kennesaw, GA
If you’ve been involved in a bus accident, you’ll naturally have concerns. Depending on your injuries, you may have to take time off work, which can make it difficult to make ends meet while also paying for any medical expenses. A Kennesaw, Georgia bus wreck lawyer will be able to put your mind at rest as they have the necessary experience to navigate state and federal law and any regulations governing bus services on your behalf.
One of the main advantages of hiring a bus accident lawyer is that they will be able to pursue all the potential sources of compensation for your injuries, loss of earnings and any emotional distress caused by accident. A bus wreck lawyer will determine liability and will help determine who should be held liable – the bus company, the bus driver, or any other vehicles involved in the crash.
Determining Liability for Bus Accident Injuries
Determining fault for a bus accident will be based on the initial police report, the evidence collected, witness statements and injuries sustained by victims. However, it is not a good idea for you to take this in your hands. You need legal support, and you need knowledge about regulations governing commercial bus carriers to establish liability. Speak to a bus accident lawyer as they will help all those responsible for the accident.
Based on the evidence and factors surrounding the accident, your bus accident lawyer may identify the following parties as being responsible:
The Bus Company:
Sometimes accidents are caused because the bus operator knowingly puts a defective bus on the road. It is also possible that the bus company has failed to properly train drivers or have failed to enforce adequate safety measures. In some cases unraveling responsibility can be a lengthy process, which is where a bus accident lawyer can help you through this difficult time.
Bus Maintenance Companies:
Independent companies can sometimes be hired by bus operators to maintain their fleets, which is something a bus wreck lawyer will be able to find out for you. These independent companies are responsible for ensuring buses are mechanically sound and maintained to a good standard. If there’s an accident, and if the accident were due to a mechanical fault, these maintenance companies would be liable to pay damages to the victims. A bus accident lawyer will know how to find out this vital information on your behalf.
State or Local Governments:
Some tour buses are government-owned in which case the particular department or division involved may be held responsible for any injuries or damages. Bus accident lawyers will ensure that you are compensated by the government, especially if the accident was due to the driver’s negligence or due to the negligence of a city worker. The government may also be found liable if the condition of the road where the accident took place was below standards or hazardous.
School Districts and School Boards:
If your child is injured in an accident involving their school bus, the school board will be liable for the negligence of the driver. In addition, if it is found that the accident could have been prevented by implementing certain safety guidelines, the case may become even more complex. A bus wreck lawyer will be able to ensure you receive full and fair compensation for your child’s injuries.
Affiliated Cruise Lines and Tour Operators:
If you are traveling through tour operators and are involved in a bus accident, the owner or operator of the tour can be held liable for damages. This also applies if a bus trip is an affiliated service and part of a wider package booked from a tour operator. In this case, they may have to accept liability as well.
Sometimes, bus accidents can be caused by the driver’s negligence. Ignoring stop signs, wavering across the road, violating traffic controls or falling asleep at the wheel are all reasons bus accidents happen. The driver of a bus involved in an accident is potentially liable for any damages caused by the wreck. If this is the case, your bus accident attorney will be able to gather evidence to prove their fault.
Get the Compensation You Need and Contact a Bus Accident Lawyer in Kennesaw, Georgia
Although being involved in any kind of traffic accident can be a distressing time, it’s also important to remain calm and find out solutions to deal with the consequences of the accident. Speak to a bus accident lawyer in Kennesaw, Georgia as soon as you can, and you’ll feel much more supported through this difficult time. If you have been hurt in a bus wreck, you need to spend time focusing on your recovery and your family. Call today and let the attorneys at The Weinstein Firm take care of your case and gather the evidence you need to prove that you deserve to be compensated for your loss.