Who Should Pay for Bus Accident Injuries?

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A recent crash between a teen driver and a CATA bus in Lansing raises the question: Who pays for bus accident injuries? The answer depends on who is hurt and the different insurance policies involved.

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania Avenue in Lansing shut down as the police investigated a serious bus accident. As evening rush hour faded, a young driver and his teenage passenger found themselves running through a red light and into a public bus operated by the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA). The crash decimated the teen driver’s pick up truck and sent the CATA bus off the road and into a nearby used car lot, partially on top of  car parked there.

Both the 16 year old driver and passenger were hospitalized. The bus driver and two passengers were sent to the hospital as well. Other of the 12 bus passengers may have sustained less serious injuries. Luckily, none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Bus Accident Injuries and Insurance Benefits

When a bus accident causes serious injuries, it can be hard to know who pays. Should you sue the bus driver? The transportation company? What about the other driver?

The first place injured bus patrons should look for help with medical expenses, lost wages, and attendant care costs is their own insurance policy. If a bus passenger is covered by an auto no-fault policy because he or she also owns a vehicle, or his or her spouse does, that policy covers any motor vehicle accident, even if the person was not driving.

The reality is many bus patrons, especially in college towns like Lansing, do not have auto insurance policies, or cars. They rely on public transportation like the CATA bus system to get them from place to place. With no insurance policies of their own, bus passengers will need to look elsewhere for their coverage.

Passengers in most car crashes can turn to the insurance policy of their driver or the owner of their vehicle for coverage. However, the Michigan No-Fault Act carves out an exception for public transportation. While the bus driver herself may be able to claim benefits from her employer’s insurance policy, the passengers won’t have access to those benefits unless there are no other options.

Instead, the bus accident victims will have to turn to the teen driver’s insurance policy. As the driver of the other vehicle, his policy provides another option for uninsured passengers injured in the crash. Bus patrons can file claims against his auto insurance to make sure their medical needs are covered.

Figuring out where to file an auto insurance claim after a bus accident can be confusing. Because of exceptions in the Michigan No-Fault Act, some bus patrons may think they are stuck paying the bills themselves. But with the help of bus accident attorney David Christensen and the Christensen Law team, injured passengers can get access to auto insurance benefits to meet their recovery needs. If you have been seriously injured in a bus accident, contact Christensen Law today to schedule a free consultation.