Liablity for medical bills for a student injured in a school bus accident?

by Lisa
(Hannibal, New York)

A tractor trailer slid into the back of a school bus. A student was injured on the bus and went to Urgent Care. Who is liable for the medical bill? Because it was a motor vehicle is it covered under No Fault (which Urgent Care is saying)?

Or does the parent have to use their own insurance, and whatever is not covered is paid through the District's student liability insurance (which is what we do when a student gets injured at school or during a school-sponsored event)? Any information you can give on liability in this situation would be appreciated.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Liablity for medical bills for a student injured in a school bus accident?":

Lisa (Hannibal, New York):

Because New York is a no-fault insurance state, the injured party must turn to his or her own car insurance company. Motor vehicle accidents are covered under no-fault insurance. However, there is no reason the injured student cannot file an injury claim under the School District's student liability insurance.

It often takes car insurance companies quite a while to investigate an accident before agreeing to pay a claim. While their investigation is ongoing, the medical bills may continue to pile up. Rather than wait to be compensated by the car (bus) insurance company, the student may want to file under the district's student liability insurance (if the district will pay the claim faster than no-fault).

However, if the student chooses to file an injury claim under the district's insurance and is compensated for the injury, then when the student is eventually paid by the no-fault insurance company, the district's liability insurance may require the student to reimburse them for the money they pay out. This is known as subrogation, and is the way most insurance companies work.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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