The families of several passengers killed in the Palm Springs bus crash
have filed wrongful death lawsuits. However, they may never be able to
fully recover their losses.
As we previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, the California
bus crash killed 13 people and injured 31 others. While officials have
determined that the bus did not meet safety standards, the victims may
still face significant legal hurdles in obtaining compensation.
The USA Holiday Bus involved in the crash was covered by a minimum five-million-dollar
policy, which will have to be divided among all of the victims. While
the minimum policy may cover injuries in a minor bus accident, it is generally
woefully inadequate after a major crash.
Federal law first established the minimum insurance in 1982. Since then,
inflation has severely limited how far five million dollars can go, particularly
with respect to medical expenses. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMSCA) has repeatedly sought to raise the minimum requirement. In a 2014
report to Congress, the FMSCA concluded “that the current financial
responsibility minimums are inadequate to fully cover the costs of some
crashes in light of increased medical costs and revised value of statistical
life.” After adjusting for medical cost inflation, the agency estimated
that the limit should be $21.3 million.
Los Angeles Times reported, the bus industry has vehemently opposed increasing the minimum insurance
requirement, citing the high cost of insurance premiums. In response,
safety experts contend that higher operational costs may be beneficial
because they would weed out unsafe bus companies that shouldn’t
be on the road anyway.
It is unclear if any changes to the minimum insurance requirement will
be forthcoming. Meanwhile, the victims of the Palm Springs bus crash will
have the grim and arduous task of determining how to fairly divide a pot
of money that can’t begin to cover the losses that they have suffered.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a California
bus crash, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free
consultation. We have the knowledge and experience to obtain the compensation
that injury victims deserve.