Court: Met Council insurance must pay for uninsured, injured bus riders

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A Metro Transit bus passenger who is injured in an accident and doesn't have their own insurance can receive compensation from the Met Council for medical expenses and lost wages, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The published opinion – which can be read here – concerns six initial lawsuits stemming from seven separate incidents in which 17 passengers were said to have been injured while riding buses owned by the Met Council.

According to the Pioneer Press, the ruling involves a dispute over Minnesota's no-fault auto insurance system.

Under the guidelines, if a passenger is hurt in a motor vehicle accident and doesn't have auto insurance, they can recover benefits from whoever owns insurance on the vehicle itself, the paper explains.

Thee definition of "motor vehicle" is what Metro Transit disputed.

According to FOX 9, Metro Transit argued its buses aren't "motor vehicles" as defined by the law, because the registration process was different from that for personal cars and trucks.

The Court of Appeals disagreed however, and specifically said so in the ruling.

"We conclude that buses operated by the Met Council are 'motor vehicles' for purposes of the Minnesota No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act, and that the Met Council is therefore required to provide basic-economic-loss benefits for bus passengers without their own auto insurance who are injured in bus accidents."

Those injured have a right to basic economic loss benefits, as outlined in Minnesota statutes: Up to $20,000 in medical expenses, and up to $20,000 for lost income.

Metro Transit says it has not decided how to deal with any pending claims, FOX 9 reports. The Pioneer Press says the company has 30 days to appeal.

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