Whether commercially or municipally run, buses are a crucial part of the transportation infrastructure in Memphis. However, just like any other vehicle on the road, buses are not immune to accidents—and even more, their size and the number of passengers riding tend to make the wrecks they are involved in particularly dangerous.
If you were hurt in a collision involving a negligent bus driver, seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney could be in your best interest. Once retained, a Memphis bus accident lawyer could help you file suit against an individual driver, the company that employed them, or even the government entity organizing the transportation.
Depending on the circumstances of a bus accident, one or multiple parties may bear liability for damages the incident caused. The most typical defendant in this kind of claim is the person driving the bus at the time it crashed, who may have been negligent by driving drunk, being distracted behind the wheel, violating traffic regulations, or acting recklessly or carelessly in some other way.
However, the legal principle of respondeat superior allows for employers in Tennessee to be held liable for the actions of their employees in certain situations. This means that the employer is responsible for the negligent conduct of its driver. If a commercial bus company fails to perform a thorough background check and hires an employee with a history of DUI charges, they could also be liable for what is called negligent entrustment if that driver ends up causing an accident due to drunk driving.
Other liable parties in a bus wreck case may include negligent mechanics, other drivers on the road, and even a passenger riding on the bus itself. An experienced Memphis public transportation collision lawyer could work with a plaintiff to identify the best defendant for them to file suit against in their particular case.
In many respects, government agencies and entities in the state are immune from civil liability due to the provisions of the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, which was established in 1973 and is codified in Tennessee Code §§29-20-101 et seq. However, it is important to note that TN Code § 29-20-202 specifically carves out an exception to this immunity for the “negligent operation of motor vehicles,” meaning that entities like the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) can be sued for the careless or reckless actions of one of their drivers.
Furthermore, TN Code § 29-20-203 provides another exception to civil sovereign immunity for unsafe roadway conditions. Accordingly, if an accident occurs because of a pothole or a similar unaddressed hazard on the road, a bus accident legal representative in Memphis could help a plaintiff file suit against the government agency responsible for failing to maintain that road.
Bus wrecks are similar to commercial truck accidents in terms of their general maneuverability and the scale of the damage they can cause during a crash. Anyone who suffers injuries and other losses due to a commercial or public transportation accident should strongly consider pursuing civil litigation, as the consequences of this kind of incident could last for months or even years to come.
The first step to pursuing monetary recovery is talking to a skilled Memphis bus accident lawyer. To speak with a qualified attorney about your potential case, call David E. Gordon today.