Can You Sue the State if You’re Injured in a MARTA Accident?

Learn what to do if you were injured in a MARTA accident.

People get hurt in bus accidents in Georgia every day. The problem is that the MARTA bus system is owned by the State. And, not surprisingly, your MARTA accident lawyer in Atlanta isn’t usually able to file suit against the state.

The good news is that thanks to the Georgia Tort Claims Act, there are exceptions to this rule.

MARTA Buses Are Owned and Operated by the State of Georgia

Because the MARTA bus system is owned by the state, it isn’t a given that you can sue them. If you’re injured in a bus accident, it’s a good idea to call one of our accident lawyers in metro Atlanta right away.

While there’s always the chance you may have to sue the other driver, if the bus driver was at fault, you only have one option. Since there are strict limitations on when you can sue the government, there’s no guarantee you can file a claim for damages.

Normally, You Can’t Sue the State of Georgia for Damages

In most cases, you aren’t allowed to sue the State of Georgia or a county. For example, if you’re hit by a car during a high-speed chase, you may not have a leg to stand on. Your only option will be to file a claim with your own insurance company and hope they’ll pay your claim.

Like it or not, the State has almost total sovereign immunity. However, Georgia does have a law that allows accident victims to file a lawsuit against the state in certain circumstances. This law is called the Georgia Tort Claims Act.

The Georgia Tort Claims Act Does Allow You to Sue in Certain Situations

The Georgia Tort Claims Act (GTCA) allows you to sue the State in very limited situations. In fact, the law spells out the situations in which your Atlanta bus accident attorney can sue the State.

According to OCGA §50-21-20, a car accident caused by a state employee does qualify under the GTCA. This means that your accident lawyer in Atlanta can sue the State, or County, for damages if you’re injured in a MARTA accident.

Your Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Must Prove That You Meet Two Specific Conditions

To qualify under the GTCA, your Atlanta MARTA accident attorney must prove that you meet two very specific conditions.

The first condition is that your accident took place while the bus driver was acting within the scope of their employment. It is hard to imagine why a driver would be operating a MARTA bus or train unless they were on the clock.

It’s not as if the bus driver works for a repair company where they can take the company vehicle home at the end of their shift.

The second condition you must meet is that your incident must be listed as actionable against the state in the GTCA.

Since motor vehicle accidents are specifically listed, your accident lawyer in Atlanta shouldn’t have a hard time demonstrating that your claim qualifies under the Georgia Tort Claims Act.

Call a bus accident lawyer if you were hurt using the MARTA.

Your Atlanta Bus Accident Attorney Must Provide the State with Special Notice Before You Sue

According to the GTCA, before you sue, your accident lawyer in Atlanta must first provide notice to the State. This notice is referred to as an “Ante Litem Notice.” This just means you must provide notice before you litigate, or file suit.

This notice must be filed within twelve (12) months of your accident. Of course, your Atlanta bus accident attorney would never wait this long. Besides, you have to file your suit before the statute of limitations period is up anyway.

Your Ante Litem Notice Must Contain Very Specific Information

When you file your notice of intent to sue, you need to include very detailed information. If you fail to file the proper notice in the required timeframe, you’ll lose your chance to sue.

The information your accident lawyer in Atlanta must provide in your notice includes the following:

  • The date and time that the accident occurred
  • A brief description of the accident that gave rise to your intent to sue
  • The name of the government entity and employee who caused your injury
  • The nature of your loss
  • The amount of your loss

You don’t have to worry about filing this on your own. Your Atlanta bus accident attorney can help do this for you.

What Happens After Your Accident Lawyer in Atlanta Files Your Notice?

Once you file your notice with the State, one of three things will happen. The State may decide to pay or settle your claim after an investigation. If this is the case, they’ll reach out to your Atlanta MARTA accident attorney and negotiate a settlement.

If the State decides to deny payment, then you’ll move forward with your lawsuit. This is also what you’ll do if the State fails to respond within ninety (90) days. After three months go by, you have the right to sue by default.

Your Atlanta MARTA Accident Attorney Will Have to Prove the Bus Driver Was Negligent

It’s important that you remember that, just because you have the right to sue under the GTCA, you still have to prove your case.

Your accident lawyer in Atlanta will need to prove that the bus driver was negligent. This can be hard because, as a passenger on a MARTA bus, you can’t always see what’s going on. Your attorney will have to rely on the police report, photos and videos, and statements made by the drivers and eyewitnesses.

Call Today for a Free Consultation!

If you or your loved one have been injured in a MARTA accident, you may need help. These cases are handled a lot differently than regular personal injury cases. We suggest that you contact our office and speak with one of our experienced Atlanta accident attorneys.

When you call, you can schedule your free, initial consultation. Or, if you prefer, you can do this through our website.

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