Bus drivers have protections just like any other motor vehicle driver or passenger. If you’ve been injured while driving a bus, your commercial insurance policy should cover you.
Before you begin serving as a bus driver, be sure to inquire about your employer’s insurance coverage. If it’s lacking or you’ll be a contractor for the company, you can take out your own commercial driver policy to protect yourself in case of an injury as a bus driver.
If you are not at fault for the accident, you should file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
Determining Fault in Bus Accidents
Buses are large vehicles that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement to operate. But just because a bus is a large vehicle that requires special expertise, that does not mean that the bus driver is always the one who is at fault for the accident.
To determine where to claim your medical bills after an accident, law enforcement will investigate who is at fault for the accident. If the other driver is at-fault, you should open a claim with their insurance. And if you are at fault, you’ll want to file the claim with your commercial insurance policy, not your personal auto policy.
Personal auto policies do not protect commercial drivers where they are serving in their professional functions.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
A lawsuit can help you recover financially if you are encountering problems with getting your medical bills and missed work paid through insurance claims. But they can also compensate you for other aspects of your finances, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing medical care
- Reduced capacity to work
- Expenses to care for your home or loved ones while you are recovering
Even when an insurance company is willing to work with an accident victim, standard claim payments do not cover these additional compensation areas. The only way to recover those expenses is to file a lawsuit or reach a settlement with the company.
But be careful when negotiating a settlement because what might look like an attractive amount at first might actually be not nearly enough to compensate you for these added expenses. You should work with a skilled personal injury attorney to negotiate a fair settlement.
Workers’ Compensation for Bus Drivers
If you were actively driving a bus for work, you might qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. But if you were on your way to or from work, you will not qualify and you’ll be filing the claim against your personal auto insurance policy and not that of your employer.
So if you do qualify for workers’ compensation, does that keep you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party for your accident? No, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit to recover additional financial damages against the at-fault in your case.
Bus accidents can be quite complicated though just like any collision with a commercial vehicle. That’s because a variety of parties could be at fault for the accident.
- Bus parts manufacturer in case of a faulty part that led to the bus malfunctioning and crashing
- Bus maintenance team that failed to complete preventative maintenance, complete maintenance properly, or recognize an obvious hazard on the bus
- Other drivers
If you are a bus driver or passenger who was injured due to an accident in Indiana, you should contact Stewart & Stewart. We’ll help you sort through the complicated scenarios that bus accidents often present and guide you in seeking compensation for your injuries to avoid long-term impacts.