In Lowery v. Port Authority of Allegheny County, ___ A.2d___ (Pa.Commw. Dec. 29, 2006), the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that bus passengers injured on in an accident caused by an uninsured driver were entitled to collect uninsured motorist (UM) benefits from the self-insured owner of the bus. The owner of the bus was the Port Authority of Allegheny County, a governmental entity. The Port Authority argued it was immune from suit unless an express exception to governmental immunity was applicable. The Court disagreed and found that governmental immunity does not bar a claim for UM benefits. The Court held that under the plain language of Section 1787 (a)(3) of the MVFRL (75 Pa.C.S.A. 1702 et seq.), all self-insured entities must make available at least uninsured motorist benefits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Therefore, an injured passenger should receive uninsured motorist benefits of at least these amounts.
Common carriers owe their passengers the highest duty of care and as such, if a common carrier’s carelessness or negligence leads to an accident which causes you injury, you are entitled to recover damages against the common carrier. If you have been injured while a passenger of a common carrier such as a bus, train or taxi, contact DLP for a free consultation regarding your right to recover damages for your injuries.
John P. Finnerty, Esquire