Serious Injuries — Who Pays Other Than the Victim?

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Public transportation is a safe way to travel when crash rates of buses are compared to other vehicles such as passenger cars and motorcycles. However, when a bus is involved in an accident, it often is more dangerous for the bus passengers than a standard vehicle crash because of the size of the bus, its weight and general lack of safety restraints. For example, as many as ten people were injured recently in Detroit when the driver of a passenger car ran a stop sign, causing a collision with a public transit bus.

In this case, the driver of the car was at fault, which makes the compensation process for victims a little easier. Michigan auto law follows a no-fault insurance policy. If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, your insurance company pays for economic damages, such as wage loss, medical bills and attendant care. However, if you were severely injured, the at-fault party’s insurance company pays for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and excess wage loss of more than three years. Victims must suffer a threshold injury, which is defined by a “serious impairment of an important body function, serious disfigurement or scarring, or death.”

There are time limits for filing claims and notifying insurance companies, and they vary from state to state. When a bus is involved in the accident, the process becomes more complicated because government entities, such as school districts or public transportation bureaus, usually operate buses.

If you need to file an insurance claim against a third-party driver who caused the accident that resulted in your injury, the process is fairly straightforward. If you need to file a claim against a bus’s insurance company or government entity, the law becomes more complex.

Posted in Catastrophic Injuries