As bus accident attorneys in Atlanta, we’ve handled our fair share of bus accident cases. One common fact is that bus collision victims often do not know who the liable party is. The latter is the person responsible for the accident and by law, should compensate the victim for their losses.
Thus, determining liability is crucial in any accident case. Usually, the investigating authority determines the fault party by looking at the evidence from the crash scene. After establishing the fault party, the victim can commence a compensation claim against the liable party’s auto insurance policy or file a personal injury lawsuit.
This article looks at the possible liable parties in an Atlanta bus accident. If you get into a bus crash, contact us immediately at The Weinstein Firm for help. We offer excellent legal advice and representation.
What Are the Common Causes of Bus Accidents?
Traffic accidents involving buses, like other vehicles, occur for several reasons. They include:
No matter the vehicle type, distracted driving remains one of the leading causes of road accidents. There are three types of distractions recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are: visual, manual, and cognitive. While they exist alone, a bus driver could also exhibit the three at once, causing an accident.
Bus Driver Error:
Bus drivers are human beings. As such, they are not infallible. As a result, a bus operator could make a bad judgment call that might result in a crash. For example, the driver might take a turn too fast and veer off the road. Thus, a bus operator must always make sound decisions when behind the wheel.
Driving Under the Influence:
Driving while impaired, whether by drugs or alcohol, is another common cause of bus accidents. In Georgia, buses qualify as commercial motor vehicles. As such, a bus driver must have a blood alcohol concentration below 0.04%. Anything more would amount to drunk driving, which is a crime.
Poor Driver Training:
When transport companies or other employers of labor who use buses fail to train their drivers properly, accidents are bound to happen. Hence, a bus driver must be someone who has received the right training and issued a commercial driving license by Georgia’s Department of Driver Services.
Poorly Maintained Buses:
It’s not unusual for buses to crash due to lack of maintenance. Therefore, bus owners and drivers must ensure that they schedule regular maintenance and replace any defective parts.
Generally, when a vehicle travels too fast, it cannot stop in time to avoid a collision. When it’s a bus, the problem is worse due to the shape and size. Thus, drivers should maintain the posted speed limit on streets and highways.
Who Is the Liable Party in a Bus Accident?
Buses fall under what is known as “common carriers.” The term refers to vehicles transporting people or goods. It includes tour buses, school buses, and other commercial buses. Georgia law expects common carriers drivers to exercise a high degree of care because of the nature of what they transport.
However, no matter how careful a bus driver is, accidents are bound to happen. The question, therefore, is who is responsible when they do? Below are possible liable parties.
The Bus Driver
A bus driver whose negligence caused the accident would be liable in damages to the victim. Thus, where a driver’s error caused a bus accident, the driver would be the only defendant to any claim arising from the occurrence.
The Bus Company
A company here refers to a transport company, a school, or a tour company. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer is vicariously liable for their employee’s acts of negligence. Thus, where a company willfully and knowingly employs an untrained driver or one with a DUI history, they would be liable for any accident that occurs from such negligence.
The Bus Manufacturer
Defective parts could also cause a bus accident. When this is the case, the bus manufacturer would be the liable party. Here, the victim can commence a product liability claim and get the necessary entitled compensation.
A third party can be any other driver or person on the road. For example, suppose a pedestrian jaywalks, and a bus driver strikes your car while trying to avoid hitting them. The pedestrian would be the fault party. However, if the driver were distracted in any way, which limited their reaction time, they would also be liable.
Contact The Weinstein Firm Today!
Our Atlanta bus accident lawyers have the experience and legal knowledge to identify the appropriate fault party and get you maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free case review.