We’ve all done it. The train is down for repairs at a station between your house and work, so you catch a bus connection to the next station. It’s standing room only so you can’t grab a seat. You look down to check your phone, and suddenly you are thrown to the floor. You hear whining wheels, twisting metal and incomprehensible booms. Then, as abruptly as it started, everything is still. You can’t tell what precisely happened, but you were definitely in some sort of bus accident.
This is a scary situation because you’re injured, maybe too injured to even take the train. What do you do? Luckily, New York is a no-fault insurance state. This means that an insurance company will cover your medical costs, transportation expenses and lost wages regardless of who was at fault. However, does no-fault cover your bus injuries? You weren’t driving your car, so do you still get coverage?
Yes, there is a two-tiered system for determining who pays your benefits. First, for any person that is the named party or a relative of the named party on an insurance policy that pays first party benefits, that insurance carrier must pay the claim. This means that if you or a relative has no-fault insurance then your insurer will pay your claims. All you have to do is file a claim normally with your insurer and comply with all deadlines.
However, if you, like most people in New York, don’t have a no-fault insurance policy, then the bus’s carrier must pay your claim. In this case, you must make sure to get the information from the bus operator and probably the city, to file a claim with their insurer. The operator must give you a claim form to begin the process, however, don’t rely on the expediency of a city worker. Be alert to enforce your rights if required. No-fault coverage, like all insurance, is subject to caps on expenses. So, if your injuries and costs exceed the policy limit, you can also file suit against the city.
Speaking to an experienced attorney can help you understand how to enforce your rights. Don’t waste time procrastinating. Your insurer, the bus’s insurer, and the city all have deadlines that could bar any claims you file.