Victims of Palm Springs Bus Crash Could Face Years-Long Delay Over Compensation

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Authorities said 13 people were killed and 31 injured Oct. 23, 2016, morning when a tour bus crashed into the back of a big rig near Palm Springs. (Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

After gambling all night at a Connecticut casino, Ren Xiang Yao was headed home on a tour bus when it slid out of control, turned over on its side and was sliced in half by a sign post in the Bronx.

Parts of both arms were missing when rescuers pulled Yao from the twisted wreckage. He was among the survivors. Fifteen people died and others were also badly hurt.

The injury contributed to the breakup of his marriage and left him struggling with a metal hook for a hand. He shows little anger. “Just because I want something doesn’t mean it’ll turn out that way,” he said.

Although Yao remains philosophical, arguments over compensation for his injuries and those of others have dragged on for five years and remain far from resolution. The New York City bus company carried the minimum amount of insurance specified by federal law — $5 million.  That will have to cover the claims of 32 passengers or their survivors.

The same scenario is likely to play out for the victims of the Palm Springs bus accident two weeks ago, another pre-dawn wreck on a trip back from a distant casino.

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