Holding School Districts and Others Accountable for Atlanta School Bus Accidents
School bus accidents happen with uncomfortable frequency. In fact, the headlines in Atlanta’s newspapers regularly report another crash involving a school bus, causing serious injuries—and sometimes, even deaths.
School bus accidents, however, are not always like other bus accidents when they involve public school buses. Victims need to understand that the process of receiving compensation is different when it involves a government agency. For assistance with your claim, please contact an Atlanta school bus accident attorney at Brauns Law right away to discuss your case.
Types of School Bus Accidents
School buses have a reputation as a safe and reliable method of transportation, which is true to some extent. Of course, no method of transportation is entirely perfect, and the same is true of school buses in Atlanta. You or your child could suffer injuries in many different accidents involving school buses:
- A school bus strikes another motorist on the street because the bus driver was aggressive or not paying attention. In this case, the bus driver is to blame.
- Another motorist on the road strikes a bus, causing damage to it and its passengers. Here, the other motorist is responsible for the crash.
- A school bus strikes a bicyclist or pedestrian because the driver was insufficiently careful. The driver is probably to blame.
- A child suffers injuries getting on or off the bus by, for example, falling down defective steps. Here, the bus might be defective, or the school district could be to blame for not properly maintaining the vehicle.
- A child suffers injuries while riding on the bus when the driver collides with another vehicle or with a stationary object. The motorist who caused the collision is to blame.
- A bus runs over a child who is crossing in front of or behind the bus. The driver is usually to blame.
Each of these accidents is tragic and, more often than not, entirely avoidable. If you or your child is injured, you should consider what legal options you have.
Whether you are the parent of an injured child or a member of the public injured by a bus, you might be able to receive money for your injuries, called damages. Georgia law requires that bus operators use sufficient care when transporting people, including school children. Any carelessness can result in the driver or his employer paying out compensation to injured victims.
At Brauns Law, we help our clients receive money to help with the following:
- Medical treatment costs
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Not every client receives the above damages. For example, your child probably does not hold a job, so they would not qualify for lost wages. But you should meet with an experienced Atlanta school bus accident attorney for more information.
Who Is Liable?
If another motorist caused an accident, you might be able to file a lawsuit against them. At a minimum, you could submit a claim with their insurer to cover your losses. Things are more complicated when the school district or the bus driver is responsible for the accident. Georgia law limits the ability of people to sue the state or its municipalities for injuries, even when the government has been insufficiently careful.
You will need an experienced Atlanta school bus accident attorney to go over your options with you. Fortunately, the city does maintain insurance to pay out compensation, but you need to make a claim right way. Getting the city to shell out compensation is tricky but doable with the right legal assistance.
How to Minimize Accidents
Parents naturally want to protect their children from injury, and recent headlines like these would put any parent on edge:
- “Multiple Injuries in Atlanta School Bus Crash.” Many people suffered injuries and one motorist had to be pried out of her vehicle by emergency personnel after this crash, which happened in downtown Atlanta in April 2018.
- “Man Killed, 2 Children Injured, in Newton County School Bus Crash.” A man died making a left-hand turn in front of a school bus in this Atlanta suburb.
So what can you do as a parent to increase bus safety? First of all, you shouldn’t immediately decide driving your children to school is necessarily safer. Not only can someone else still strike your vehicle, but chances are you need to drop your children off across the street, which increases the likelihood that they can sustain injuries.
Instead, you can have a talk with your children about what steps they can take to increase their safety, such as:
- Your child should stand several steps away from the curb while waiting for a bus to approach. Tell your child not to move to get on the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver motions for them to get on board.
- Your child should avoid walking behind a school bus. The driver cannot see what is going on in the rear.
- If your child needs to cross in front of the bus, they should do so with about ten large steps as distance. Also, your child should make eye contact with the driver so that the driver sees them.
- If your child drops something in front of the bus, he or she should tell the driver before trying to retrieve it.
Other motorists on the road also share responsibility for bus safety and should observe all traffic safety laws. Yield to buses that have the right of way and remember never to pass a bus that stops with its lights flashing. Drivers also need to exercise caution when approaching bus stops, since children can dart into the road without warning. It is better to be too safe than sorry.
Reach out to a School Bus Accident Attorney in Atlanta
If your child suffered injuries in a bus accident or if a bus driver struck you, you might be able to obtain compensation to cover your expenses. At Brauns Law, we are skilled at obtaining settlements from the Atlanta school district and from individual drivers and private companies.