School Bus Driver ‘Not Liable' After Crashing Into Two Cars

Unforeseen medical issues are considered "no fault" in Texas

If a driver has an unknown medical issue and hits your property, you are responsible for the repairs. A Denton family found out the hard way when their car was struck by a runaway school bus.

In February, the Denton Independent School District bus, loaded with students, crashed into two parked cars.

"As soon as I walked out the door I saw there was an upside down vehicle here," said Richard Ellingson.

The school bus was the only vehicle driving down the quiet residential street when the crash occurred.

Ellingson's SUV was totaled, but the school district's insurance company, the Texas Association of School Boards, wouldn't pay to fix it.

According to a police report from Denton police, the school bus driver told officers she passed out behind the wheel.

In Texas, and many other states, if anyone causes a crash as a result of an unforeseen medical issue, it's considered not the driver's fault.

The Texas Association of School Boards insurance agency said it wouldn't pay because the driver "wasn't negligent or liable."

"After having done this for almost 25 years, if you give an insurance company an excuse not to pay, they're certainly going to take that excuse and run with it," said Jason Thomas, an attorney with experience on car accident claims.

Thomas said you have to rely on your own insurance to pay in these circumstances.

Ellingson only had liability insurance, so his insurance won't pay.

He can sue the district, but the cost to sue is likely as much as his SUV is worth.

A spokesperson for Denton ISD said, "We empathize with the homeowner's situation, which is why our risk management office is doing what it can to see if we can find any additional details to help get the case reviewed again."

Medical issues are just one example of things not always covered in a car crash. Check your policy and talk to your agent to know what else could be your responsibility.

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