Marietta, GA Bus Accident Lawyer

Bus accidents can be particularly devastating, leaving you with significant injuries and other losses. Fortunately, our attorneys can help you get damages from those responsible.

Bus accidents tend to be complex cases, as several defendants might be involved. A further complicating issue is whether the bus that injured you was a private one or publicly operated. Our team understands the complex rules that factor into these claims and can explain how they will impact yours. If you were injured on CobbLinc, we usually cannot sue the driver who hit you, but we can sue the government for damages. If a private bus caused the accident, we can file your claim against the company and driver. We will also determine if other drivers caused or worsened your injuries.

For a free case review with our bus accident attorneys, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (470) 287-3070.

Suing a Public Bus Company for a Bus Accident in Marietta, GA

When you are injured in a bus accident, determining the type of bus involved is critical. Arguably, the most common bus accidents are those involving public buses. For example, the CobbLinc buses that provide transportation to people in Marietta are public buses. This is a vital detail because public buses are owned and operated by state government agencies.

Thus, important legal rules will come into play in these cases that are not usually a concern in other bus accident claims. “Sovereign immunity” protects the state and its agencies from liability. While it will limit you in crucial ways, it will not prevent you from recovering compensation.

How Long You Have to File

Perhaps most importantly, you have less time to file a lawsuit against a government agency. Under O.C.G.A. § 36-11-1, you only have one year from the date of the accident to initiate a claim. Missing this deadline means that you will not be able to pursue compensation for your case. Thus, you should contact our bus accident lawyers as soon after getting medical care to start collecting evidence. We will not need all the evidence for your claim at first but will need some to substantiate your claims when we file, so do not hesitate to reach out to our team.

Who You Can File Your Lawsuit Against

Sovereign immunity will also limit who can be named as a defendant. According to § 36-92-3(a), government employees are shielded from being held directly liable for their negligence. This means that if a public bus driver carelessly injured you, they cannot be sued individually. In fact, they cannot even be named in the lawsuit. Instead, lawsuits must be directed at the government agency the driver works for.

If the bus driver worked for CobbLinc, we would file your complaint against the Cobb County Department of Transportation. This government agency oversees all transportation in Marietta and Cobb County. These rules would also apply if the person who caused the accident was a school bus driver. In these instances, we would sue the Cobb County School District. We might also file a claim against the city itself if its negligence played a role, such as setting negligent policies.

We also have to make sure that the accident occurred while the driver was officially on duty. According to § 36-92-2(c), the public bus company is not liable for its drivers if they were not performing their job duties. This means that if, for instance, the driver used the bus for personal reasons after finishing work, the government cannot be taken to court.

Damages You Can Recover

Unfortunately, the rule of sovereign immunity will also limit how much compensation you can ultimately be awarded. This might not be an issue if your injuries were not too bad. However, even minor bus accidents can result in serious injuries, leading to expensive financial and non-economic damages. While it is unfair, if your damages go over a certain amount, you will be responsible for the remaining damages.

Under § 36-92-2(a)(3), damages are capped for single plaintiffs at $500,000 for bodily injury and death and $50,000 in property damage. If multiple victims are making a claim for the same bus accident, which is common, compensation is capped at $700,000 total. This means damages will need to be divided amongst the plaintiffs, lessening your final share. Our lawyers can help determine if any of these limits will impact your claim.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Commercial Bus Company in Marietta, GA

Filing a lawsuit against a private bus company tends to be much less stressful than filing a lawsuit against a public one. Most of the standard rules that apply to typical car accident claims apply to these cases. Thus, using a private bus driver is much more like using any other driver.

Unlike public bus companies, however, private bus companies can be held liable for their drivers’ negligence. Respondent superior, a legal principle commonly referred to as vicarious liability, allows our lawyers to sue a private bus company whether or not the driver acted negligently. It is enough that the driver acted negligently while conducting their job duties.

For example, you might have been injured on a Megabus while getting into Marietta. Greyhound Bus is another example of a private bus company we can file a claim against for driver negligence. The driver could have been speeding, distracted on their phone, or other passengers. Whatever the case, we will help you prove how the crash occurred.

Of course, we might find evidence that the bus company did act negligently in addition to the driver’s negligence. Perhaps you were injured by a negligent driver who should not have been behind the wheel in the first place. If the bus company kept a driver they knew was potentially dangerous, they could be held liable, increasing your chances of recovering compensation.

You will also have one year longer to file your claim. § 9-3-33 provides two years to file a lawsuit against a private bus driver and company, as opposed to the one you get for public cases.

Filing a Claim Against Other Drivers for a Bus Accident in Marietta, GA

While the bus driver will be the most likely liable party in the accident, others could have contributed. Many drivers treat buses like road construction to get around. In many cases, though, drivers do not predict the bus’s movements well and crash. This can easily lead to a multi-vehicle accident where several drivers could be responsible for your injuries. Our team will go through the evidence to determine how much more damage was caused by other drivers. Most of the time, we will sue all parties involved and determine liability during negotiations.

Our Marietta, GA Bus Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help

Contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras by calling (470) 287-3070 to receive your free case assessment with our bus accident lawyers.