Shuttle Bus Accident: Here’s What To Know
If you have been injured in a shuttle bus accident in Michigan, there are three potential types of claims you need to know about. First, there is a claim to recover pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault driver. Second, there is a claim for No-Fault benefits to pay medical bills and lost wages. Third, there is a mini tort claim for vehicle damage repair costs.
Pain and suffering compensation after a shuttle bus accident in Michigan
If you were injured in a shuttle bus accident in Michigan, you likely have a case for your injuries and pain and suffering. This would include for your physical pain and suffering and mental anguish as well as excess medical expenses and lost wages in a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and the owner of the shuttle bus.
To succeed with a pain and suffering compensation claim, you must first be able to show that you have suffered a “serious impairment of body function,” which is the legal threshold required to bring a successful lawsuit under Michigan’s auto law.
People injured by a shuttle bus can also sue for excess medical expenses and excess lost wages. These are the amounts of medical bills and lost income that exceed No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage level that you have purchased. These excess economic losses may also include medical bill amounts incurred by you or wages lost due to your injuries if you are not covered by No-Fault PIP medical and wage loss coverage.
You have three years from the shuttle bus accident in Michigan to file your claim for pain and suffering compensation, excess medical expenses, excess lost wages and other economic loss. (MCL 600.5805(2))
Who can be sued for pain and suffering compensation?
Your claim for pain and suffering compensation resulting from a shuttle bus accident in Michigan could be filed against one or more of the following at-fault drivers:
- The shuttle bus driver: Shuttle bus drivers can be held liable when they violate the traffic laws and cause a crash, injuring their passengers and other drivers on the road..
- The shuttle bus company: The company that owns the shuttle bus can be held liable for injuries resulting from a shuttle bus driver causing a crash.
The shuttle bus company can also be liable when the company fails to make sure its drivers are properly trained and supervised, that its shuttle buses are in good working order.
- The shuttle bus maintenance company or the shuttle bus/part manufacturer: Either of these parties could be held liable if a crash resulted from negligent inspections and maintenance or from a dangerous and defective part that causes an injury or death.
- Negligent driver of another vehicle: The negligent, at-fault driver of a secondary vehicle could be held liable for the crash if he or she caused and/or contributed to causing the crash to occur.
Common causes for these types of crashes
The most common causes of shuttle bus accidents include:
- Shuttle bus company negligence
- Shuttle bus driver negligence
- Shuttle bus driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Shuttle bus driver inattentiveness
- Driving while intoxicated
- Bad weather
- Blind spots
- Left turns
- Negligence of at-fault drivers of other vehicles
- Bus fires
No-Fault benefits after a shuttle bus accident
When you have been injured in a shuttle bus accident in Michigan, No-Fault PIP benefits will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages if your injuries have disabled you from working. They will also reimburse you for your mileage and transportation costs for traveling to and from your medical appointments, and pay for your household replacement services and attendant care benefits.
In order to recover these benefits after a crash, 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))
Failure to file your application on time will result in your being forever disqualified from receiving No-Fault benefits as a result of the crash.
Who pays for No-Fault benefits after a shuttle bus accident?
Your No-Fault benefits after a shuttle bus accident in Michigan will be paid by the responsible auto insurance company, which is determined by the No-Fault law’s “priority rules.”
The potential sources of a No-Fault benefits after a crash include:
- If you are the driver of a car that was involved in the crash, then you will seek No-Fault benefits through your own auto insurance company. (MCL 500.3114(1))
- If you are the occupant of a car that was involved in the crash, then you will seek No-Fault benefits through your own auto insurance company or that of your spouse or a relative who lives in your home or through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, if no coverage is available through those other sources. (MCL 500.3114(1) and (4))
- If you are the driver of the shuttle bus that was involved in the crash, then you will seek No-Fault benefits from the insurer of the bus. (MCL 500.3114(2))
- If you are a passenger on the shuttle bus that was involved in the crash, then you will seek No-Fault benefits from the insurer of the bus only if you have no No-Fault coverage “under any other policy.” (MCL 500.3114(2)(a))
- If you are a pedestrian who was injured in a crash, then you will seek No-Fault benefits through your own auto insurance policy or through the policy of your spouse or a relative living in your home or from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. (MCL 500.3114(1); 500.3115)
- If you are a bicyclist who was injured in a crash, then you will seek No-Fault benefits through your own auto insurance policy or through the policy of your spouse or a relative living in your home or from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. (MCL 500.3114(1); 500.3115)
People from out-of-state injured in shuttle bus accidents
If you are from out-of-state and you are injured in a shuttle bus accident in Michigan, then you will be disqualified from recovering Michigan No-Fault benefits unless you own a car or truck that “was registered and insured” in Michigan. (MCL 500.3113(c))
However, there are no restrictions on an out-of-state resident being able to file a lawsuit to sue for a crash if they have been injured. An out-of-state resident has the same legal rights to pain and suffering compensation if they were injured due to the negligence of the shuttle bus driver.
Mini tort claim for vehicle damage
You may be able to file a Michigan mini tort claim against the at-fault shuttle bus driver and owner of the shuttle bus to cover damage to your car or truck after a crash. The mini tort will allow you to recover up to $3,000 for vehicle damage (not otherwise covered by insurance) from the at- fault shuttle bus driver.
If the shuttle bus driver, owner and/or their insurance company refuses to pay your mini tort claim, then you will need to file a mini tort lawsuit in small claims court.
Do not sign any mini tort release from the shuttle bus owner or the shuttle bus’s insurer, before you talk with an experienced attorney because these releases often can include language that goes well beyond the mini tort claim and improperly attempts to release the bus’s owner from liability for all claims arising out of the crash – such as claims for pain and suffering compensation and excess medical expenses and excess lost wages.
Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law
If you have been injured in a shuttle bus accident in Michigan and would like to speak with an experienced attorney, call us toll free anytime 24/7 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.