Posted By Karsman, McKenzie & Hart || 18-May-2016
On May 17, 2016, a bus owned and operated by GD Bus Incorporated, a charter bus company located in New York, collided with a tractor trailer on Interstate 95 in Port Wentworth, Georgia. As a result of this avoidable accident numerous individuals were injured, with at least one individual being airlifted to Memorial hospital in Savannah.
It is unclear at this time, but it appears the collision was apparently caused when the driver of another tractor-trailer was overcome with a health emergency causing a single vehicle accident. As traffic slowed for this single vehicle wreck, the bus rear-ended a separate tractor-trailer as a result of following too closely and/or general inattentiveness. It is widely reported that the bus line had numerous other previous citations.
A wreck like this gives rise to numerous claims and multiple parties. Under Georgia law, a charter bus company must exercise extraordinary diligence (not just ordinary care) to protect the lives and persons of its passengers. Each of the passengers, absent some contractual limitation, would have claims against the bus line and driver of the bus for all damages caused by the incident.
Most people know this includes medical bills, pain and suffering, and mental anguish, but this also includes all other damages proximately caused by the incident. This could include lost wages as a result of delays in completing the trip, expenses incurred during your stay in Savannah caring for a loved one confined to the hospital and a host of other damages.
In addition to the bus line and driver, the tractor-trailers are also considered common carriers under Georgia law. State and federal law imposes heightened duties upon common carriers to ensure that they do not pose unreasonable risks to the motoring public. There could also be potential claims against the tractor-trailer and driver that caused traffic to stop and, while more attenuated, the driver of the tractor-trailer that was struck in the rear may have some liability depending on what the facts reveal.
Claims such as these can be brought in multiple different courts, including the residence(s) of any drivers and/or businesses involved and the county where the collision occurred. Deciding where to file a claim is a tactical decision that should be made with experienced and competent legal counsel.
Have you or a loved one been affected by this terrible event? Call the attorneys at Karsman, McKenzie & Hart and find out what legal rights you may have and where these rights would best be vindicated. The initial consultation is free and, if we are retained, we will not charge you any fees unless you recover.