Accidents caused when a bus driver pulls away too quickly

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Do bus divers have a legal duty to allow passengers time to sit down? Injury specialist Carly Sylvester looks at accidents caused when a bus driver pulls away too quickly.

We deal with bus accident claims on a national basis. For a free case assessment and details of No Win, No Fee funding give us a call or send us an email.

We are frequently contacted by bus passengers who have sustained an injury when a bus driver pulls away too quickly, before allowing them sufficient time to take their seat. When this happens, is the passenger entitled to a claim for compensation?

As with most accident claims, the answer very much depends on the individual circumstances. However, if you have been injured in this way then you are likely to have a valid compensation claim if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Elderly;
  • Infirm;
  • A young child or a parent carrying a young child; or
  • A passenger carrying bulky or heavy luggage.

Our lawyers are highly experienced in recovering compensation for bus accidents and we would recommend that you contact us for a free case assessment. We recently secured two admissions of legal liability from the same bus company in one week, both involving drivers who didn’t allow passengers time to take their seat.

If you suffer injury because a bus driver pulls away too quickly then the following action should be considered:

  • Report the accident to the bus company;
  • Report the accident with the police if your injuries are serious;
  • Retain the bus driver’s details, including the date and time of the accident, the route number and a description of the driver;
  • Obtain details of any witnesses; and
  • Take photographs of your injuries.

Most cases are settled out of court. However one of our claims recently went to trial. Our client was an elderly lady who suffered from cerebral palsy. She boarded the bus with her walking stick to assist her. As she proceeded down the centre aisle of the bus, the driver pulled away causing the bus to jerk. As a result she fell to the floor and sustained an injury to her head and back. The bus company said that the bus was not moving when she fell. However, at the trial CCTV footage showed that the bus was in fact moving and the Judge ruled in our client’s favour.

When delivering his Judgement, the Judge referred to the case of Fletcher v United Counties Omnibus Co. Ltd. This case confirmed that although bus drivers cannot be expected to wait for all passengers to be seated before pulling away, if an elderly or infirm passenger boards the bus or even passengers with children, then the driver must take reasonable steps to ensure they are reasonably safe before they pull away.

In our case the Judge said  that having observed our client board the bus then, given her age and state of health, he had a duty to wait until she was fully seated before pulling away.

There are strict time limits on bringing a compensation claim for personal injury. It is therefore important that you speak to a specialist lawyer as soon as you suspect there is a potential claim.

Almost all the claims we deal with are funded on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that if you are unsuccessful in your claim for whatever reason, you will not be required to pay any legal fees.

For more information about making a compensation claim for injuries suffered when a bus driver pulls away too quickly, contact Carly for a free case assessment. Call 0808 139 1606 or email us at [email protected]