As a transportation safety lawyer based in Atlanta, regularly dealing with truck and bus crashes, I see tragic recurring themes over the years. Here it goes again.
Today, a high school student was killed and ten injured in a school bus crash in Carroll County, Georgia. As a parent of two college age children, the news calls to mind the many times my kids rode school buses and team buses. We parents trust the schools and the bus drivers with our the lives of our children. We expect our children to bury us, and to bury our children seems contrary to the order of nature.
Regarding today’s incident in Carroll County, the Georgia State Patrol reported that the bus when it crashed on Highway 113 near Hog Liver Road between Carrollton and Temple, near I-20, around 2 p.m. According to news media reports, the bus flipped and several students were ejected from it.
In Georgia, school personnel are virtually immune from civil liability, but immunity is waived to the extent of insurance coverage for injuries and deaths in school bus operations, including loading and unloading.
Issues involving driver qualifications, tire failure, lack of passenger restraints, etc., come up time and time again. We represented as local counsel in Atlanta ten Bluffton University baseball players from Ohio with regard to injuries sustained in the crash of their team bus in Atlanta in 2007. Earlier we represented the mother of a college student killed when a team van crashed and he was ejected.
Ken Shigley is president-elect of the 42,000 members State Bar of Georgia. He began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit, and then in general private practice in Douglasville, practicing regularly in Douglas, Carroll, Paulding and surrounding counties. Mr. Shigley is author of Georgia Law of Torts: Trial Preparation & Practice, and a Certified Civil Trial Attorney of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and is a board member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. He practices law at the Atlanta law firm of Chambers, Aholt & Rickard, and has broad experience in catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, products liability, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. He is also president-elect of the 42,000 member State Bar of Georgia. This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.