Bus driver exonerated
Posted: 8th August 2014
A passenger who was gravely injured when a suburban bus braked suddenly will go uncompensated after the Court of Appeal ruled that the driver had been forced into ‘reflexive action’ to avoid a collision and could not be blamed.
The woman suffered a serious back injury when she was thrown forward and another passenger fell on top of her as the bus came to a sudden halt. She had since also been stricken by fibromyalgia, a condition which causes chronic pain.
Her lawyers argued that the driver had been negligent in approaching a line of stationary traffic at too great a speed. However, he explained that he had been forced into emergency braking when a car pulled out directly into his path.
In exonerating the driver, a judge found that the ‘grossly negligent’ car driver was wholly responsible for the accident. The bus driver had braked when ‘in a position of peril or emergency’ and should not be judged too critically.
Dismissing the woman’s challenge to that decision, the Court found that it would be wrong in principle to interfere with the judge’s careful findings. He had not taken into account any irrelevant facts, nor had he misapplied the law.