I read in a recent news clip where eighteen people were injured when a car collided with a bus. One of injuries was critical. This happened in New York. However it could have been any town in the U.S including in Virginia or North Carolina. Car wrecks involving buses are not infrequent. Sometimes the bus involved in a motor vehicle accident is a school bus.
The problem is that there are no seat belts on most buses. So when a bus is involved in a wreck the occupants are more exposed to injury. People on the bus during an accident could hit their heads against windows or other hard objects within the bus causing injury. Injuries can occur to the passengers on a bus in a wreck even if the bus doesn’t go off the highway or turn over on its side. We have handled numerous cases involving school buses where children have suffered musculoskeletal injury or concussions.
In the news clip about the New York bus accident, it turns out that car driver was driving while intoxicated in addition to disobeying a traffic device. Obviously, even if the bus driver is doing a good job being a safe driver you cannot control all of the other drivers’ bad actions on the highway. In fact just like people try to get around trucks on the highway they will often try to pass buses leading to dangerous situations.
Sometimes the insurance company in dealing with us as personal injury lawyers for a passenger hurt on a bus claims that there is no way that a person on a bus could really be hurt because the bus is so big and the vehicle that hit it was not. This is silly logic, but insurance companies still try to use it in arguing to pay a person hurt as a passenger on a bus less than they might if a person were in a car when struck. In fact, in my assessment, it is the opposite that a person suddenly thrown about on a bus is probably more likely to get hurt than a properly buckled in passenger in a car accident.
There are also some interesting issues that come up as far as insurance in an accident involving a bus. If a car is at fault in causing the crash, the insurance on that vehicle may be tapped out before all the claims on the bus passengers are dealt with. If you are a bus passenger who has their own car, then your insurance may stand in the shoes of the at fault driver because of the under insured motorist policies’ under most private vehicle policies at least under Virginia (VA) law. However, even if you do not have insurance because you do not have a vehicle, the bus’ insurance in Virginia (VA) may stand in the shoes to cover you in most situations, as if it were your own under insured motorist coverage, if needed.