Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Driver of chartered bus covered under university's automobile insurance policy, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today that when an auto insurance policy issued to a university extends liability coverage to any person operating “with permission” a vehicle that is “owned, hired or borrowed” by the university, that language provides coverage for injuries resulting from a traffic accident in which a bus driver employed by a charter bus company was operating the company’s bus while it was under charter by the university.

This case deals with the tragic bus accident that killed and injured a number of members of the Bluffton University baseball team in March 2007 (as well as the bus driver and his wife). It is believed that the bus driver thought that he was in the carpool lane but really was on a highway exit ramp. The bus then plunged off the overpass onto the highway below.

The charter bus company has already paid $5 million, while the State of Georgia has paid $3 million. The court's ruling, which overturned the decision of the 3rd District Court of Appeals' decision, could mean an additional $21 million dollars for the victims and the victims' families.

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