Savannah Bus Accident Attorney

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Every day, thousands of Georgia residents rely on buses to get to school, to work, or as a mode of transportation for travel. Although not quite as massive as a commercial truck, the average bus can weigh up to 40,000 pounds, which is significantly heavier than the average passenger vehicle. When a bus is involved in a traffic accident, it is often the occupants of the passenger vehicle who suffer the most serious injuries. If a motorist is injured in a bus accident, it is highly recommended that he or she contact an experienced bus accident lawyer. Determining liability can be a complex process based on the different types of buses, who the bus driver works for, and whether the bus company is privately owned or owned by the government or a school district. All of these factors can impact the claims process and settlement amount. A seasoned bus accident lawyer will understand the unique challenges associated with bus accidents and will work tirelessly to secure the best possible settlement outcome. 

What are the Different Types of Bus Accidents?

There are many different types of buses that transport passengers from one place to another. The nature and severity of a bus accident often depends on the type of bus; speed at which the bus was likely traveling; and whether there were other motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians in the vicinity. The following are examples of different types of bus accidents:

  • School bus accidents
  • Tour bus accidents
  • Public transportation bus accidents
  • Accidents involving private buses such as Greyhound, Megabus, or Coach
  • Charter bus accidents
  • Airport and shuttle bus accidents

What are the Most Common Causes of Bus Accidents in Savannah?

Bus accidents are less common than car accidents, yet they have many of the same causes, including the following:

  • Distracted driving: Bus drivers have a responsibility to keep their attention focused on the road, particularly when the bus is full of passengers. If the driver makes a phone call, reads a text message, or interacts with another passenger on the bus, they may not see another vehicle move into their lane or notice a pedestrian crossing the road. If the distracted behavior causes a bus accident, it can involve catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
  • Speeding: Owing to the size and weight of the average bus, they require more road space to slow down or come to a complete stop compared with a passenger vehicle. If the bus driver is speeding, it will be more difficult to stop in enough time to avoid hitting another vehicle, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian. The faster the bus is traveling, the greater the force of impact at the time of the accident.
  • Aggressive driving: In addition to speeding, other examples of aggressive driving include tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, and braking suddenly for no reason. This can be very dangerous for other motorists in the vicinity, as well as the passengers on the bus.
  • Improper maneuvering: Buses are more difficult to maneuver than the typical passenger vehicle because of their large size. If bus drivers fail to use the necessary caution when turning, changing lanes, and sharing the road with other motorists, serious accidents can occur.
  • Defective equipment: If the bus is equipped with a defective part, the risk of an accident increases significantly. For example, buses that have defective tires can be involved in a tire blowout accident. If the brakes are defective, the bus may be unable to slow down or stop in time to avoid an accident.
  • Drowsy driving: When a bus driver is fatigued, he or she may be less able to react quickly to unexpected changes in the flow of traffic. Coordination and reflexes are also impacted by drowsiness. In fact, studies suggest that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. When a bus is full of passengers, whether they are commuters or school children, this puts everyone on the bus at risk of being injured in a serious accident.
  • Poor road conditions: Although accidents caused by poor road conditions are not necessarily the bus driver’s fault, they may share liability if they were speeding or driving recklessly when approaching the unsafe road conditions. Examples of poor road conditions that can cause bus accidents include large potholes, damaged or missing traffic signs, debris in the road, and hazardous conditions caused by inclement weather. 
  • Inadequate training: Bus drivers must complete the required amount of training before they can get behind the wheel of a bus and transport passengers. If a bus driver did not complete the necessary training, he or she may not have the skills necessary to identify a potential hazard and take the necessary steps to avoid it.
  • Poor bus maintenance: Like commercial trucks, buses must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. If there is a part that needs to be repaired or replaced, the bus should not be driven until the repair has been made and the bus is safe to drive.

Who is Liable for a Bus Accident?

Unlike car accidents, where the at-fault driver is generally liable for the accident, there are a number of parties that may be liable in a bus accident, including the following:

  • Bus driver: If the bus driver was distracted, speeding, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or engaging in any type of unsafe driving behavior at the time of the accident, he or she will likely be held liable for the accident.
  • Bus driver’s employer: If the bus driver’s employer failed to provide the necessary training, employed a driver without conducting a thorough background check, or failed to keep the bus properly maintained, the employer may be held liable for a serious bus accident.
  • The bus manufacturer: If the bus accident was caused by a mechanical defect, including defective tires or brakes, this can significantly increase the risk of a serious bus accident.
  • The company or person responsible for maintaining the bus: There is an increased risk for serious bus accidents if the bus is not properly maintained, or a necessary repair is not made. In these cases, the maintenance company may be held liable for any resulting injuries.
  • Another driver: If another motorist’s negligent behavior caused the bus accident, he or she may be held liable for the accident.

How do Bus Accidents Differ from Other Types of Traffic Accidents?

Bus drivers must follow the same rules of the road that all other motorists must follow, including obeying the speed limit, avoiding distractions, and ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained. However, there are additional rules that apply to bus drivers. For example, bus drivers are subject to common carrier law, which is a legal term that applies to people or businesses that provide public transportation. It states that carriers owe passengers a higher degree of protection than the average person. In some states, including Georgia, bus drivers owe passengers the highest degree of care to ensure a safe method of transportation.

Accident happening in springfield

Although the common carrier law does not mean that the bus driver is always liable in the event of a bus accident, it does make it easier to hold the bus driver liable for injuries. However, it is always the injured party’s responsibility to prove that the bus driver was negligent. For example, if a passenger were standing on a public bus and the bus driver had to swerve or brake suddenly, the passenger could be thrown to the floor and injured. If the bus driver swerved or stopped short in order to avoid hitting a child who ran into the street, or another vehicle that suddenly moved into the bus’s lane, the bus driver may not be considered negligent. However, if the bus driver who caused an accident was distracted at the time of the collision, the driver may be held liable for any injuries the accident caused if the passenger could prove that the driver was interacting with another passenger or sending a text message when the accident occurred.

Another important difference between car accidents and bus accidents is the shorter statute of limitations. In Georgia, if the bus is a city or county vehicle, the deadline for filing a personal injury claim is six months after the date of the accident. If the accident was a state vehicle, the deadline is approximately one year after the date of the accident.

What Types of Injuries do Bus Accidents Cause?

Bus accidents can cause a range of very serious injuries. In extreme cases, they can be fatal. Unlike car accidents, bus accidents can be particularly devastating because they are more likely to cause catastrophic injuries to the passengers on the bus, the occupants of the passenger vehicle involved, and pedestrians in the vicinity. Most buses do not come equipped with potentially life-saving safety features such as seat belts or airbags. In addition, buses have a higher center of gravity, making them prone to dangerous rollovers. Depending on the nature of the accident, the following are examples of injuries that can occur in bus accidents:

  • Cuts and lacerations: These can occur if the windows on the bus shatter and the occupants of the bus are hit by the broken glass. Other sharp objects such as broken pieces of metal from the vehicles involved can cause serious cuts.
  • Whiplash: This injury occurs when a vehicle is struck suddenly and the occupant’s body is thrown forward violently, causing the neck to make a whiplike motion. For example, this can happen if a bus strikes another vehicle or brakes too suddenly. If whiplash is not properly diagnosed and treated, the victim can suffer from chronic pain.
  • Broken bones: When a bus is involved in an accident, the passengers on the bus can be thrown from their seats, resulting in broken bones or fractures. Occupants of passenger vehicles can also suffer broken bones if the bus hits the vehicle with extreme force.
  • Head injuries: These are common in bus accidents, particularly when the bus passenger’s head hits the window, the seat, another passenger, or the roof or floor of the bus in the event of a rollover. Occupants of passenger vehicles can also suffer serious head injuries when they are involved in a bus accident. If their head strikes the steering wheel, the windshield, the dashboard, or the side window, they may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other serious head injury.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Unfortunately, bus accidents can also cause serious spinal cord injuries when the force of the impact damages a person’s vertebrae and the disks that run the length of the spine. Depending on the severity of the injury and the location on the spine, the victim can suffer partial or total paralysis.

What Steps Should I Take if I am Injured in a Bus Accident?

Although there are key differences between car accidents and bus accidents, the steps that should be taken immediately following a bus accident are very similar. For example, it is critical that police are notified of the accident as soon as possible. In addition, if the accident caused injuries, calling 911 will ensure that emergency medical technicians are also sent to the scene of the accident. It is also imperative that the injured victim seek immediate medical attention, even if the injuries seem relatively minor. Certain injuries such head injuries or internal bleeding may not be apparent right away, particularly right after the accident when adrenaline is coursing through the body. If the injured party is physically able to do so, he or she is urged to take pictures of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicle, the position of the vehicle in relation to the truck, debris on the road, and the motorist’s injuries.

After the injured victim has been examined by a health care professional, it is highly recommended that the injured victim contact an experienced bus accident lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident; interview witnesses; and obtain copies of the police report, medical records, and other key pieces of evidence. In addition, he or she will help the injured victim navigate every step of the complex claims process and anticipate the legal tactics that bus companies and their insurance companies use to avoid costly financial settlements. A dedicated bus accident lawyer will protect the injured victim’s legal rights and negotiate the best possible settlement offer.

What Damages May I Receive if I am in a Bus Accident?

Bus accidents can cause very serious injuries and fatalities, particularly if the bus was traveling at a high speed and the passengers on the bus were not safely secured in their seats. Other motorists can also suffer very serious injuries because of the size and weight of the average bus. Depending on the nature of the accident and the severity of the injuries, bus accident victims may be eligible for the following damages:

  • All medical expenses related to the injury
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of intimacy or support

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

Savannah Bus Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Seek Justice for Bus Accident Victims

If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a bus accident, do not hesitate to contact the Springfield bus accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. Bus companies often have a highly skilled legal team who are paid to protect their financial interests. They will use a range of legal tactics to avoid costly settlements. Fortunately, our experienced bus accident lawyers will anticipate these tactics and ensure that the negligent party is held liable for your injuries. We will assist you with every step of the claims process and obtain the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we proudly serve clients in Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and surrounding areas.