The Delaware Supreme Court recently released a decision in which they affirmed a lower court’s ruling that allowed a plaintiff to make a claim against the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage of a school bus for injuries she sustained when another vehicle hit her after she had been signaled by the bus driver to cross the street and board the bus. The decision noted that school buses play a unique role in American society and operate under a specific set of rules and regulations regarding how passengers and other vehicles must act while the bus is in operation. As a result of the recent ruling, the plaintiff will be compensated for her injuries from the PIP benefits that covered the school bus at the time of the accident.
The Plaintiff Is Injured by another Vehicle While Crossing the Street to Board the School Bus
The plaintiff in the case of State Farm v. Buckley was a student who intended to take the bus that was insured by the defendant to school on a day in March 2012. After the bus driver initiated the red flashing lights and stop sign to signal other vehicles to stop, the driver signaled the plaintiff to cross the street and board the bus. While she was crossing the street at the direction of the bus driver, another vehicle failed to stop and struck the plaintiff, causing injuries.
The Plaintiff’s PIP Claim with the Insurance Covering the School Bus Is Initially Denied
After sustaining her injuries, the plaintiff made an insurance claim with the defendant, who insured the school bus. Under Delaware law, PIP benefits are applicable to any occupant of a motor vehicle involved in an accident, as well as any other person injured in an accident involving the insured vehicle, other than an occupant of another vehicle. In response to the initial claim, the defendant refused to extend the PIP benefits to the plaintiff, stating that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by an accident that involved the covered vehicle.
The plaintiff filed the lawsuit as a response. The district court ruled that the plaintiff’s injuries were the result of an accident involving the school bus, finding that the bus driver, by law, controls the process by which passengers are to enter and exit the bus. Since school buses are different from other vehicles in this respect, the state supreme court affirmed the district court’s judgment.
Florida Auto Insurance Coverage Types and Mandatory Minimum Coverage
The three main types of auto insurance coverage that are marketed in Florida are PIP (Personal Injury Protection), BIL (Bodily Injury Liability), and PDL (Property Damage Liability). PIP benefits apply to the driver and passengers of a vehicle that is involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In Florida, PIP coverage also covers a child of the insured if they are injured while on a school bus, as well as the insured themselves while they are riding in someone else’s car. In Florida, drivers must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. BIL benefits are used to pay for serious injuries or deaths caused by an accident in which the insured is operating the vehicle and is at fault. BIL insurance is not mandatory in Florida. PDL coverage pays for damage that is caused to other people’s property in a crash that is caused by the insured. Drivers in Florida must have a minimum of $10,000 in PDL coverage.
Are You a Victim of Negligence?
If you or a family member has been seriously injured or killed in a South Florida bus accident, the insurance companies for both drivers will rarely offer a fair settlement when an initial claim is made, often denying coverage without justification. With the representation of the skilled Florida accident attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, you can pursue the full amount of compensation that you deserve. Our experienced Miami negligence attorneys represent clients in Miami and throughout South Florida in car crashes and other negligence cases, including auto-pedestrian accidents. If you have been injured, contact us toll-free at 877-448-8585 or via our online contact form for a free consultation. Se habla Español / Nou Parlé Creole.
More Blog Posts:
State Supreme Court Reverses Judgment for Defendant in Wrongful Death Claim, May 12, 2016, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog
State Supreme Court Rules that Post-Mortem Misconduct by Doctor Is Medical Malpractice, Reverses Damages Award, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 13, 2016.