Understanding Your Rights After a Bus Hits Your Car
The first thing you should do after a MARTA bus hits your car is the same thing you should do after you’re involved in any motor vehicle accident. Check on your passengers and the bus driver and passengers to see if anyone needs assistance, take pictures of the damage (if it’s safe to do so), exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, and then get your vehicle out of traffic.
After everyone is safe, you should exchange information with the bus driver and contact both your own insurance company and MARTA. You may want to visit MARTA’s website and contact customer service or call the non-emergency MARTA police line to file a report on your accident.
If you’re ever involved in an accident, it’s always a good idea to visit an urgent care clinic or chiropractor. Even if your injuries are minor, it’s important to have them documented.
After you’ve notified your insurance company and the authorities, you may want to contact an Atlanta bus accident lawyer.
Factors That Contribute to Bus Accidents
A variety of factors can cause bus accidents. Some common reasons for bus accidents include:
- Fatigued or distracted bus drivers
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Poorly maintained buses or equipment failures
- Inadequate training or supervision of bus drivers
- Road conditions or poor weather
- Other negligent drivers on the road
It’s important to note that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to make a claim against the bus manufacturer or other party responsible for maintaining the bus. An experienced lawyer can help you determine who may be liable for your injuries and damages.
Do You Always Need a Lawyer After a Bus Accident?
No – personal injury lawyers are usually only necessary if the other driver’s insurance company is refusing to honor your claim or cover your medical bills. If you aren’t injured and you only have car damage, a personal injury attorney generally won’t take your case.
If you are injured, and the other driver’s insurance agrees to pay your medical costs, you likely won’t need a personal injury attorney.
Bus accident attorneys can play an important role if your injuries are keeping you out of work, you have high medical costs, and the other driver’s insurance company is being difficult.
Will MARTA Cover My Bills If They Caused My Injuries?
That depends on the situation. MARTA is a public authority. Convincing government entities to pay for injuries they cause can be complicated. They do have liability insurance for these situations, but it’s often more difficult to hold a government agency responsible than a private individual or business.
In any auto accident scenario where the other driver was at fault, but their insurance company is being combative, it may be in your best interest to speak with a lawyer. The situation is no different if the driver who caused your auto accident was a public city bus driver.
You can visit the City of Atlanta website for more information, but essentially, you will need to:
- Give notice to the city within six months of the bus accident
- Present the claim in writing with all the details (time and place of the accident, your injuries, and what happened)
- The city will investigate the claim and make a claim settlement or denial recommendation
You can find the City of Atlanta claim form here. The city could investigate your claim and deny it or offer to pay you less than you need to cover your medical costs and lost wages. A bus accident lawyer may be able to negotiate on your behalf.
How Often Do Bus Accidents Happen in Atlanta?
Riding public transportation is safe. Studies suggest riding mass transit is about 10 times safer than driving or riding in a personal vehicle. Despite the relative safety of public transportation in Atlanta, accidents do occasionally happen.
In February 2022, a car ran into a MARTA bus stop in College Park. In August 2021, a MARTA bus hit a car that ran a red light and pushed it a quarter mile down the road. A month later, in September 2021, a MARTA bus driver and 10 passengers were injured in a bus crash in downtown Atlanta.
Bus accidents may be less common than car accidents, but in a metro area as big as Atlanta, where there are thousands of car crashes every year, bus accident injuries are inevitable.
Factors to Consider When Hiring a Bus Accident Attorney
When deciding whether to hire a bus accident attorney following an accident where a bus was involved, several key factors should be considered:
- Severity of Injuries: If the accident resulted in serious injuries that required significant medical treatment or led to long-term or permanent disability, an attorney can help you seek fair compensation to cover your medical bills, future medical needs, and any lost wages.
- Disputed Liability: If the authorities or the insurance companies dispute who was at fault when the accident occurred, having an attorney can be essential. They can help gather evidence to establish liability and defend your rights.
- Insurance Company’s Response: If the insurance company refuses to pay, delays your claim, or offers a settlement that doesn’t fully cover your damages, an attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
- Navigating Legal Complexities: The legal process can be complex, especially when a public entity like a city bus is involved. An attorney can guide you through every step of the process, ensuring all paperwork is properly filed and deadlines are met.
Get Help After a Public City Bus Accident in the Atlanta Metro Area
Fault is obvious in some public city bus accidents. If the bus driver or another driver was clearly at fault for your accident and the public transportation provider agrees to pay your claim in full, you might not need a lawyer.
Unfortunately, not every case is that easy. Public authorities and governments are protected by special rules and deep pockets for legal defense. They don’t mind dragging the process out, even if you need money to cover your lost wages and medical bills as soon as possible.
The bus accident lawyers at the Dressie Law Firm may be able to help. Our lawyers have experience seeking compensation for bus accident victims with severe injuries in the Atlanta metro area. We understand the legal process and how to protect your rights effectively.
Call us today at (678) 619-2977 for a free case evaluation.