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Bus Accident in Atlanta Kills One: Who Is Legally Responsible for Damages?

One person is dead following a collision between a FedEx truck and a Gwinnett County Transit Authority (GCTA) bus in downtown Atlanta.

On November 11, 2013, according to investigators, the GCTA bus ran a red light and collided with the FedEx truck at the corner of Central and Abernathy, just across from Turner Field in Atlanta. The force of the collision pushed the delivery truck into the Museum Bar, which suffered some structural damage. The delivery driver was killed; the bus driver was rushed to a local hospital with various injuries.

Officials state that charges against the bus driver are pending.

Transit accident

Normally, government officers, including bus drivers and train operators, are protected by Georgia’s sovereign immunity law, which states that an individual cannot sue a government for damages in most cases, either as the result of an accident or as the result of an administrative decision. There are various exceptions to the sovereign immunity law:

  • Intentional torts (wrongful acts that lead to liability damages) such as assault, battery, slander, false arrest and others, are not covered by the sovereign immunity law; public servants are liable for damages if they commit an intentional tort.
  • Reckless activity, such as running a stoplight in downtown Atlanta, is also not covered by the statute.

If sovereign immunity is not available, a plaintiff may sue the actual tortfeasor – in this case, the GCTA bus driver — as well as the tortfeasor’s employer, which in this case was the GCTA. The plaintiff would be required to prove that the bus driver was working within the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident.

If you are injured in an accident, the government may not be able to hide behind sovereign immunity and avoid paying fair compensation for your damages. For a free consultation with an attorney with nationwide resources, contact our office.