Many people rely on public transportation, including city buses, as their only method of getting around. However, buses are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, stop more frequently, and make wider turns.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 69 fatal bus crashes in Georgia between 2012-2018, resulting in 75 deaths. That doesn’t even include the number of injuries and dollars in property damage!

When people are injured in wrecks through no fault of their own, they are owed compensation for the cost of their damages from the person at fault. However, determining who is actually at fault may take the help of an experienced auto accident lawyer.

Read on as we discuss several possibilities.

The Bus Driver

Just because someone drives as a profession does not mean they are a perfect or even law-abiding driver. If a bus driver acts recklessly or negligently, they can be held liable for causing any resulting crash. Some examples include:

  • Driving while tired
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving while distracted
  • Ignoring traffic laws, signals, and other safety guidelines, especially those specific to buses (such as stopping at railroad crossings)

I have seen buses traveling at ridiculous speeds through our city. I have also seen buses start up abruptly, causing passengers to fall.

Bus drivers need to drive appropriately for the weight and size of their vehicle. For example, that means braking earlier, since a bus’s heavy weight means it will take longer to come to a complete stop than a sedan. They will also need to take wider turns when driving a bus than they would in a smaller vehicle.

The Driver of the Other Vehicle

Although many collisions between a bus and another vehicle may be caused by the driver of the bus, not all of them will be.

Buses make frequent stops, and if another driver is distracted, they may fail to stop in time and collide with the rear of a bus. Buses are also given right-of-way when re-entering traffic after dropping off/picking up passengers, and if a driver refuses to cede right-of-way and attempts to pass a bus that is trying to re-enter traffic, that can cause a collision.

Drivers who are “stuck” behind a bus may also experience road rage and may drive recklessly around the bus or even deliberately cause a collision.

The City

Buses are owned by the city where they operate, which means the city could then potentially be liable for your injuries because Georgia allows for liability for motor vehicles even if a county government like Columbus is immune from other lawsuits.

The city/county could be found at fault for a bus crash for reasons that may include:

  • Failure to properly train drivers
  • Negligent hiring practices, such as hiring a driver with a known history of DUI charges
  • Failure to properly maintain their buses, such as by not replacing tires and brakes on schedule

If you suspect that one of the above reasons may have caused or contributed to your crash, it is absolutely vital that you get in touch with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible.

When the government is potentially liable, injury claims get extremely complicated, extremely fast. You may not be able to get compensation at all, and if you can, the deadline is significantly shorter (formal notice required within 6 months) and there are more hoops to jump through.

Talking to a lawyer can help you determine if this applies to your case and what steps may be necessary to get you compensation.

Related Reading: Can I Sue the City of Columbus for an Injury on City-Owned Property?

The Bus Manufacturer

Although less common, some crashes are caused by faulty bus components. For example, you may have received a recall notice for your car at some point, informing you that you need to bring it in to the dealership to repair a defective part. This can also happen with buses.

Some common auto part malfunctions that can lead to crashes include:

  • Loss of steering control
  • Stuck accelerator
  • Faulty transmission
  • Problems with fuel system components that might lead to fuel leakage
  • Tires prone to blow-outs

If the bus driver lost control of the bus due to a vehicle malfunction, the manufacturer may be liable.

After a Crash, Get Gary Bruce

Like trucks, because of their size and weight, buses can cause serious damage and severe injuries when they are involved in crashes.

If you were hurt in a collision involving a bus through no fault of your own, it’s important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible, especially if it was a public bus run by the city.

This ensures that you do not miss out on your opportunity to get the compensation you may be owed, which includes the cost of your medical bills, any lost wages from days not worked while recovering from your injuries, and compensation for your pain and suffering.

Our firm can collect evidence to prove your injuries, investigate the cause of the crash, and calculate the exact damages you are owed. Call today to speak to our legal team and get a free case evaluation.