School bus wreck leads to lawsuit

  • School bus wreck leads to lawsuit
    School bus wreck leads to lawsuit

A 2017 school bus accident has reportedly resulted in a civil action lawsuit against the Lumpkin County School System.
Local attorney Steven Leibel has also filed suit against the bus driver and another motorist for the Highway 60 wreck.
Although the accident occurred over two years ago on October 3, 2017, Leibel told The Nugget the complaint was filed within the statute of limitations.
In the suit Leibel alleges the school bus rear ended another driver, who was stopped waiting for Cynthia Loftin to make a turn into a private driveway on Highway 60 Business.
The motorist’s vehicle then collided with Loftin.
Her son, Joshua, was riding in the car at the time and was injured in the accident.
“There were several injuries,” Leibel said. “But traumatic brain injury was the worst.”
The Nugget has attempted to acquire a copy of the accident report, but was unable to obtain it before press-time.
According to the complaint, however, the Lumpkin County school bus driver received a citation for following too closely.
Both the school driver and motorist are named in the complaint as being negligent, even though the other driver was reportedly the man in the middle.
The school district is named as being held liable under the doctrine of “respondent superior.”
This concept holds an agency responsible for the conduct of its employees in the performance of their duties—in this case, driving a school bus.
Leibel also claims the district was negligent in “hiring, retaining, training and supervising” the driver.
The personal injury lawyer is seeking damages from all parties for both past and future medical expenses; past and future loss of income; and general damages for pain, suffering, loss of ability to labor and emotional distress.
He is asking for a jury trial in civil court.
“We want a jury to determine the outcome,” Leibel said. A jury trial in this kind of case is common, he said.
Leibel said he is “in the process of trying to settle the case, but I don’t know if I can. The school district turned it over to the Georgia School Board’s attorney.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rob Brown declined to comment on the details of the suit.
“This situation has been referred to the district's insurance provider, the Georgia School Boards Association Risk Management Group,” he said. “We are not at liberty to comment on the accident or litigation.”