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What If You Get Hit By A School Bus In Michigan?

If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, the three types of claims that you may have are for No-Fault benefits to cover your medical bills and lost wages if your injuries prevent you from returning to work, for pain and suffering compensation and for a mini tort recovery to pay for vehicle damages.

Each type of claim allows you to recover different benefits, compensation or damage, and they also have their own different rules for filing and recovering on your claim.

Making a No-Fault benefits claim if you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan

In order to make a No-Fault benefits claim if you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits with the car insurance company that has the highest priority to pay you your benefits. If the claim is denied, then you can hire an attorney to file a first-party lawsuit in court for unpaid No-Fault insurance benefits.

Here is what you need to know:

  • If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, No-Fault PIP benefits will pay for your car accident-related medical expenses, lost wages if your injuries have disabled you from working, household replacement services, attendant care benefits and reimbursement for mileage and transportation costs associated with traveling to and from your medical appointments.
  • If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called your “written notice of injury” – with the responsible car insurance company within one (1) year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4)) If you fail to file your application on time – within ONE YEAR from the date of your crash – then you will forever lose any benefits to which you might be entitled.
  • If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan and the auto insurance company refuses to pay your No-Fault benefits, then your claim for unpaid, overdue No-Fault benefits must be reported against the insurance company within one year from the date that the medical bill, wage loss, medical mileage, replacement service or attendant service was incurred. (MCL 500.3145(2)) If such a claim is not filed within the one-year time period, then the bill will be time-barred and you will lose all rights to payment and/or reimbursement for the overdue benefits.

Making a claim for pain and suffering compensation if you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan

If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, you may be able to file a pain and suffering compensation claim against the bus company, driver and owner or the bus maintenance company that was at-fault for causing your crash. This lawsuit would also allow you to recover excess medical expenses and lost wages not covered by the policy that applies to your claim.

If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, pain and suffering compensation may include damages for:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Fright and shock
  • Denial of social pleasure and enjoyments
  • Embarrassment, humiliation or mortification
  • Shame, mental pain and anxiety

To succeed with a pain and suffering compensation claim if you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, you must be able to show that you have suffered a “serious impairment of body function” or permanent, serious disfigurement.

Deadlines for filing a pain and suffering compensation claim include:

  • If your bus accident involves a regional transportation authority such as DDOT, SMART, CATA, etc., you must comply with the BUS NOTICE PROVISION by serving WRITTEN notice of your bus accident 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) 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.
  • If your bus accident involves 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) or a non-urbanized public (state) transit agency – 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))
  • The statute of limitations for filing a pain and suffering compensation claim – as well as claims for excess medical expenses, excess lost wages and other economic loss – is three years after the date of the bus crash. (MCL 600.5805(2))

IMPORTANT: The BUS NOTICE PROVISION under Michigan law requires that before a bus accident lawsuit for crash-related injuries involving regional transportation authorities (such as DDOT, SMART, CATA, etc.) can be filed, the bus accident victim must first give and serve WRITTEN notice of their claim to the company within 60 days of the crash. This means you have 60 days from the date of the bus accident to file your bus accident claim with a regional transportation authority. If notice is not properly served upon the bus company, it will not have to defend itself against your claim.

Making a mini tort claim for vehicle damage if you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan

If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan, you may be able file a mini tort claim against the at-fault bus driver and/or the bus’s owner under the governmental employee exception and/or the motor vehicle exception to governmental immunity. (MCL 691.1405; 691.1407) 

Here is what you need to know:

  • If you happen to get hit by a school bus in Michigan and the owner of the bus refuses to pay your mini tort claim, you will have to file a lawsuit in small claims court.
  • To succeed with collecting after you file a mini tort claim in Michigan, you will need to show the bus driver was at-fault in causing the accident, that your vehicle damages were not covered by insurance, the cost of your vehicle damage repairs (although the mini tort maximum recovery amount is $3,000)

It is important to be careful with mini tort releases from the government as they often include language releasing the government from all claims. Talk with an experienced lawyer before you sign the release.

Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you 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.