If you were hurt in a bus accident in Florida, you may be entitled to get compensation.
Every state has different laws that apply to bus accident cases. Here, I focus on Florida bus accident claims.
Do private buses and school buses have to carry PIP insurance in Florida?
Yes. In Florida, private buses and school buses are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
Let’s see some scenarios that involve bus accidents so we can see the compensation that you may be able to get.
Private bus (or public school bus) driver’s negligence causes injury to bus passenger
A Florida private bus or public school bus driver’s negligence may cause injury to a passenger. If so, the passengers may be covered under the bus’s PIP benefits.
The passenger should use any other available first party benefits as well. Other first party benefits are secondary to PIP insurance.
Apart from PIP, common first party coverages that pay a bus passenger’s benefits are health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and uninsured motorist (UM) insurance.
The bus passenger can also make a personal injury claim against the bus driver and any other responsible parties. It would be for the passenger’s out of pocket medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish and other damages.
Florida bus driver’s carelessness causes injury to an occupant of a “motor vehicle” in Florida
A Florida bus driver’s negligence may cause injury to an occupant of a “motor vehicle” in Florida. For purposes of Florida PIP, “motor vehicle” includes:
- Cars, SUVs and Jeeps
- Campers and Motor Homes
- Private Buses and Private school buses
- Taxicabs, Limousines
- Emergency Vehicles (fire, police, ambulance)
- Trailers (except mobile homes)
- Public School Buses
The motor vehicle occupant may be covered by PIP. If this happens, the occupant of the motor vehicle would get his or her damages paid in a similar way as the above example.
The bus’s PIP will not cover the occupant of the other motor vehicle. The motor vehicle occupant can make a personal injury claim against the bus driver and any other responsible parties.
Bus driver’s carelessness causes injury to a Florida bicyclist or pedestrian
A Florida bus driver’s negligence may cause injury to a Florida bicyclist or pedestrian. If this happens, the pedestrian would get his or her damages paid in a similar way as the above example.
The bus’s PIP may cover a pedestrian who is a Florida resident. However, the bus’s PIP would not cover a nonresident pedestrian or bicyclist.
If the nonresident rented a vehicle during his stay in Florida, the rental car’s PIP coverage may cover the nonresident bicyclist or pedestrian.
In either scenario (nonresident or resident), the pedestrian or bicyclist can then make a personal injury claim against the bus driver and any other responsible parties.
If the nonresident pedestrian or bicyclist is not covered by PIP, he does not have to meet the tort threshold to get non-economic damages.
Other vehicle driver’s negligence causes the private bus passenger’s injury in Florida
Another driver’s negligence may cause injury to a private bus occupant in Florida. In this scenario, the bus’s PIP may cover the bus passenger.
The bus passenger can then make a personal injury claim against the other motor vehicle driver, owner and any other responsible parties.
How long do you have to sue for personal injury involving a private bus in Florida?
You have four years to sue a private bus company in Florida for your personal injuries.
If you are a Florida resident, you have five years to make an uninsured motorist liability insurance claim. If you are a nonresident who is hurt in bus accident in Florida, the time to sue for uninsured motorist insurance benefits is usually shorter.
Do Florida government-owned buses carry PIP?
No. A government bus is not considered a “motor vehicle” under Florida’s motor vehicle no-fault law.
Specifically, “the term ‘motor vehicle’ does not include… any motor vehicle which is used in mass transit…and designed to transport more than five passengers exclusive of the operator of the motor vehicle and which is owned by a municipality, a transit authority, or a political subdivision of the state.” Florida Statute 627.732(3).
Learn more about personal injury claims against the state or local government in Florida. Find out the limits of compensation for injury claims against the state or local government in Florida.
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