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Public Transportation Accidents

Public Transportation Accidents

Buses and commuter trains provide the public with reliable transportation and help countless residents get to work, run errands, and go to many places daily throughout the metropolitan area. These companies are essential to the economy, and many residents would be unable to travel back and forth as needed without the option. While it is usually safe, public transportation accidents do happen, and when they do, the collisions can leave a person with severe injuries that can have catastrophic effects on their life and future. If someone else’s negligence causes you to sustain damages, you have the legal right to hold them financially accountable.

The Legal Duty of Public Transportation Companies

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) opened for business in 1971 and oversees the operation of heavy rapid transit, light rail, and bus systems in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, MARTA is a public authority that complies with the requirements of Georgia statutes. The bus system provides transportation services to thousands of commuters on more than 100 routes daily.

There are also smaller city bus lines, charter buses, and trolleys. According to the information provided by the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 46-9-132, all passenger carriers are legally obligated to exercise extraordinary diligence when transporting people to protect them from suffering harm in an avoidable accident. When collisions occur despite adhering to the required standard, the public transportation carriers are not liable for the injuries and losses. However, when negligence is involved, laws can hold them responsible.

Examples of Public Transportation Accidents

When commuters travel using public transportation, they place their lives in the hands of those responsible for building, maintaining, and operating the vehicles and tracks. Some examples of public transportation accidents include derailed commuter trains and bus or taxicab crashes.

What Is the Most Common Cause of Bus Accidents?

Bus collisions are less common but can happen for various reasons, many similar to those that cause motorists to crash in standard cars. Examples of the more frequent reasons bus accidents occur include the following:

  • Drivers having long shifts behind the wheel without adequate sleep and rest breaks.
  • Distractions or disregard for passenger carrier safety rules.
  • Inadequate driver training.
  • Speeding and reckless or aggressive driving practices.
  • Making left turns and blind spots.
  • Poorly maintained vehicles resulting in mechanical failure.
  • Defective bus parts and equipment.
  • Public transport company negligence.
  • Another third-party driver’s recklessness through actions such as cutting the vehicles off or slamming on their brakes.
  • Bad weather or potholes and other defects that cause hazardous road conditions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted thorough studies and determined that driving without adequate sleep is a significant cause of vehicle collisions, including collisions involving passenger carriers. Determining the cause of the crash and the at-fault party are two of the primary elements needed to recover compensation for bodily injuries and other losses in a personal injury claim.

What to Do if You’re in a Bus Accident

The immediate aftermath of a traffic accident can involve significant confusion, anxiety, fear, and anger. Regardless of whether a person is a passenger, bicyclist, pedestrian or third-party motorist, there are essential steps to take after any crash. Specific measures can help people protect their safety and interests, and can also play a crucial role in the outcome of a civil court process to recover compensation. Such actions include:

  • Call 911 to report the accident immediately.
  • Seek medical attention.
  • Note the bus number and operator information.
  • Collect any available evidence — take photos and gather contact information for witnesses and other passengers.
  • Avoid making statements about physical injuries or health while on the scene.

The state, city, or private companies can own and operate public transportation, including bus lines. Representatives for the owner commonly show up at the scene of collisions to complete investigations and estimate the potential damages. Making statements or signing documents in such settings is never a wise decision, as it could severely affect the outcome of claims to collect damages from the at-fault party.

Contact an Experienced Bus Crash Attorney Today

Public transport is a safe and economically sound commute method and significantly supports the American economy. Bus lines and other mass transit allow residents in Atlanta and the surrounding area to commute while saving money on the cost of vehicles, fuel, parking, and other expenses. Even so, accidents resulting from negligence happen, and they can have severe and lasting consequences. If you were in a collision, you should not have to pay the cost for someone else’s thoughtless actions. Schedule a meeting with a seasoned personal injury lawyer who may be able to help recover a fair settlement after public transportation accidents.

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