Bus Passenger Injury Claim: What You Need To Know
You may be able to file a bus passenger injury claim if you have been injured in a bus accident. Your claim may cover No-Fault benefits to pay for your medical bills and lost wages as well as compensation from the at-fault driver for your pain and suffering. An experienced bus accident attorney will help you.
Making a bus passenger injury claim for No-Fault benefits in Michigan
A bus passenger injury claim under Michigan’s auto No-Fault insurance law covers victims by providing them with important No-Fault PIP benefits. These benefits, which are obtained through what is called a “first party claim,” provide an essential financial lifeline for bus accident victims by paying for the following bus accident-related expenses:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Household replacement services (chores, help with yard work)
- Medical mileage
- Attendant care (nursing services)
One year to make a bus passenger injury claim for No-Fault benefits in Michigan
To make a bus passenger injury claim for No-Fault benefits after a bus accident in Michigan, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called your “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company or regional transportation authority “within 1 year after the accident.” (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
Filing your application for No-Fault benefits within one (1) year after the bus accident is extremely important for protecting your legal rights and failure to properly file could result in you being denied any and all benefits.
Who pays for No-Fault benefits for a bus passenger injury claim?
If you are a passenger and you have a No-Fault auto insurance policy in which you are the named insured, then your insurer will pay your benefits. Alternatively, the insurer for your spouse or a relative who lives with you may be obligated to pay. Otherwise, the insurer of the bus will be liable for paying for your No-Fault benefits. (MCL 500.3114(1) and (2))
If you are not a passenger – i.e., you are a pedestrian or a bicyclist – then your No-Fault benefits will come from your auto insurance policy or that of your spouse or a relative who lives in your home. If no coverage is available through any of those sources, then you will apply for No-Fault benefits with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. (MCL 500.3115)
Making a bus passenger injury claim for pain and suffering compensation
You may have a bus passenger injury claim for pain and suffering compensation, excess medical expenses and excess lost wages, and other economic damages, if you were seriously injured in a bus accident. This is also called a third-party car insurance claim and it is filed against the at-fault driver who caused the accident.
You may be to recover compensation for the following in pain and suffering lawsuit in Michigan:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Fright and shock
- Denial of social pleasure and enjoyments
- Embarrassment, humiliation or mortification
Proving a bus passenger injury claim for pain and suffering compensation
To recover pain and suffering compensation in your bus passenger injury claim, you will need to show that you have suffered a “serious impairment of body function.”
To qualify as a “serious impairment of body function,” your impairment must:
- Be “objectively manifested, meaning it is observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or conditions by someone other than the injured person.” (MCL 500.3135(5)(a))
- Be “an impairment of an important body function, which is a body function of great value, significance, or consequence to the injured person.” (MCL 500.3135(5)(b))
- Affect “the injured person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life, meaning it has had an influence on some of the person’s capacity to live in his or her normal manner of living. Although temporal considerations may be relevant, there is no temporal requirement for how long an impairment must last. This examination is inherently fact and circumstance specific to each injured person, must be conducted on a case-by-case basis, and requires comparison of the injured person’s life before and after the incident.” (MCL 500.3135(5)(c))
Deadlines for filing a claim
To recover for pain and suffering compensation, excess medical expenses, excess lost wages and other economic damages after being injured in a bus accident in Michigan, there are essential deadlines that you must comply with. If you fail to comply with any of these, you will lose your right to sue.
The bus accident filing deadlines you need to know about are:
- Bus Accident Notice Provision – If you have been injured in a bus accident in Michigan involving a regional transportation authority such as DDOT, SMART, CATA, etc., you must serve WRITTEN notice of your bus accident injury claim on the transportation authority within 60 days of the bus accident that caused your injuries in order to preserve your right to sue for pain and suffering compensation, “excess” No-Fault medical and wage loss benefits and possibly other economic damages. (MCL 124.419)
- Notice for personal claims against the state – If you have been injured in a bus accident involving a bus that is owned by the State of Michigan such as a transit bus owned by a state university (which are departments of the state), you have 6 months after the bus accident to file with the Court of Claims your personal injury claim against the state or your notice of intent to file a personal injury claim against the state. (MCL 600.6431(1-3))
- Statute of Limitations – You have three years “after the time of death or injury” to sue for “all actions to recover damages for the death of a person or for injury to a person or property.” (MCL 600.5805(2))
REMINDER ABOUT THE BUS ACCIDENT NOTICE PROVISION: You have 60 days from the date of the bus accident to file your written bus accident claim with a regional transportation authority. If your bus accident claim notice is not properly served upon the bus company, then you will lose your right to sue and the bus company/regional transportation authority will not have to defend itself against your claim. [Please bold this paragraph on the page when it goes live and please underline the first sentence about “60 days.”]
Never give statements or sign releases about your bus passenger injury claim without first talking to your lawyer
Never give “statements” to or sign any settlements, releases or waivers that are presented to you by your auto insurance company, the bus company, the auto insurer for any of the at-fault drivers, insurance adjusters and/or defense attorneys unless and until you have first talked with an experienced attorney who is looking out for you and your interests.
Claims adjusters often try to get recorded statements from victims about their bus passenger injury claim early in the process – before they have had time and opportunity to get proper and necessary medical care and, thus, before they have a full understanding and appreciation of the extent and severity of their injuries.
Remember that it is an adjuster’s job to minimize your bus passenger injury claim and to get it resolved immediately, so the bus company has to pay as little as possible for your injuries and pain and suffering.
One of the best ways to ensure your rights are protected is to speak with an experienced bus accident attorney before you agree to sign or speak to an insurance adjuster.
Talk to an experienced lawyer
A lawyer who focuses on bus accidents and who has extensive experience litigating cases for people crash victims can get you the help you need, including benefits to pay for medical bills and lost wages and a settlement that reflects the full value of your injuries.
Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If you have been injured in a bus accident and would like to speak with an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced accident attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.