Earlier this month, an appellate court in Delaware issued an interesting opinion broadly interpreting the “personal injury protection” coverage of a school bus to cover a girl who was injured while boarding the school bus. In the case, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Buckley, the court determined that even though the school bus was not involved in any physical collision, the fact that the driver instructed the young girl to board the bus immediately before she was hit by another car implicated the bus’ personal injury protection policy.
Buckley was a young student who was waiting for the bus to take her to school. When the bus arrived, the driver opened its doors and instructed Buckley to enter the school bus. However, as the young girl began to enter the bus, she was struck by another vehicle. She suffered serious injuries as a result, and her family filed a lawsuit against the school bus driver. The insurance company that insured the bus defended the lawsuit, claiming that there was no “accident” involving the bus, so the insurance policy was not triggered.
It is uncontested that the insurance policy was only triggered if there was an “accident” involving the bus. Thus, the court had to decide whether the facts as they were presented constituted an “accident” under the insurance policy.
The court looked to the insurance policy for direction, which stated that it “shall be applicable to each person occupying such motor vehicle and to any other person injured in an accident involving such motor vehicle, other than an occupant of another vehicle.” The court noted that the girl was not on the bus at the time of her injury, so the first portion of the definition did not apply. However, the court went on to hold that the young girl was “injured in an accident involving such motor vehicle.” Thus, the insurance policy was triggered, and the company should be required to pay out for the girl’s injuries under the personal injury protection policy.
Dealing with Insurance Companies in Georgia Accidents
Being involved in a serious accident interrupts life. Initially, it is the shock of the injury, followed by what can be a lengthy recovery process, and finally covering the expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Thankfully, Georgia law allows for injured parties to seek compensation from those at fault for the accident that led to their injuries. However, this often involves dealing with insurance companies, which are not necessarily bound by moral compulsions. In many cases involving insurance companies, even meritorious cases are contested, and victories can be hard-fought.
Have You Been Involved in a Georgia Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Georgia car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Most likely, your claim will be defended by an insurance company that is motivated by profit to deny as many claims as possible. To ensure that you are treated fairly by both your own and the other driver’s insurance company, be sure to retain dedicated counsel to help you through the process. Call 770-284-3727 to set up a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
The Element of Foreseeability in Georgia Personal Injury Cases, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2016.
Splitting Up Fault in Georgia Personal Injury Cases, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, May 23, 2016.