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Palm Springs Bus Company's Insurance Unlikely to Cover Victims' Losses

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.

As the 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.