Not Part of No-fault

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Q: Exiting the rear of a bus, I stepped off the last step into a hole and fell.  The bus had failed to pull completely into the bus stop.  I was let out in front of the bus stop.  Although the front of the bus pulled a foot away from the curb, the back of the bus was on an angle: it was even further away.  The hole was far away from the curb.  My friends say that I am not boxed-in by the no-fault law.

A: The no-fault insurance law limits the right to bring a personal injury action for damages arising out of an automobile accident.  On the one hand, first-party benefits, also referred to as basic economic loss coverage, are available to a covered person regardless of fault.  On the other hand, in exchange for receiving such no-fault benefits, the victim may not bring a plenary action in tort to recover for noneconomic loss – unless she has suffered a serious injury (which you don’t say you have).

The Legislature intended to draw a line between motor vehicle accidents and all other types of torts, and to remove only the former from the domain of common-law tort litigation.  From what you have told me, your accident did not arise out of a vehicular accident within the meaning of the no-fault law.  It arose neither out of the inherent nature of the bus nor within the natural territorial limits of the bus.

While the bus may have positioned you near the condition that ultimately produced your injury, the bus itself was not the ‘instrumentality’ that produced the injury.  Your friends are correct: liability for your losses is destined to be addressed outside the confines of the no-fault motor-vehicle insurance structure.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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