Two recent school bus crashes in the Twin Tiers, one in the City of Elmira and another involving an Odessa-Montour School District bus that sent students and a bus driver and aide to the hospital, deserve more attention by parents because students injured in a school bus crash may have to rely on their parents’ insurance to pay their hospital bills.
In the O-M crash, three students, a bus driver and a bus aide were transported to the hospital after their bus was struck by a car on Sept. 23. They were treated and released. No information was released on the condition of the other driver.
In the Elmira crash, an SUV collided with a school bus that had children aboard but there were no reports of injuries.
The law about school buses extends to transit buses as well. A Chemung County Transit bus was involved in a Sept. 29 crash with a pickup truck in Elmira. There were no reports of injuries here as well.
In each crash, people were fortunate there were not serious injuries because if there were thousands of dollars in medical bills, those bills could’ve landed on their parents’ insurance or their own insurance.
Under NY’s no fault law, it is normally the vehicle you are in that provides no fault benefits, which are a mandatory minimum of $50,000 to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
BUT for certain vehicles, including school buses, it is the injured party’s own policy, or their parents’ policy, that is primary if one exists.
NYS Insurance Law Sec. 5103(1) reads as follows:
In the case of occupants of a bus other than operators, owners, and employees of the owner or operator of the bus, the coverage for first party benefits shall be afforded under the policy or policies, if any, providing first party benefits to the injured person and members of his household for loss arising out of the use or operation of any motor vehicle of such household. In the event there is no such policy, first party benefits shall be provided by the insurer of such bus.
Thank you for reading,
Partner, Ziff Law Firm