Damages win for disabled bus passenger

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Damages win for disabled bus passenger

17th September 2010

A severely disabled man has been awarded £10,000 in compensation after striking his head aboard a bus being driven erratically.

The man, who is in his forties and has pre-existing brain-injuries, had boarded a bus in London at the time of the incident. He intended to reverse his wheelchair into the disabled space allocated to wheelchair-users, but found it occupied by two able-bodied men and a woman with a pram.

Michael Latner, a personal injury specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: "When my client tried to manoeuvre into the disabled section the people already in the area simply ignored his request to move, forcing him to squeeze into a space against a partition separating the disabled section from the rest of the bus."

The claimant applied the brakes of his wheelchair and held on to a metal upright support bar. The bus driver immediately started driving in an aggressive manner with little apparent regard for the safety of his passengers, causing one man who was standing to be thrown to the floor towards the back of the bus.

A commotion ensued as passengers began voicing their concern at the reckless fashion in which the bus was being driven and at this point the claimant struck the right side of his head against the support bar he was clinging on to. The bus driver continued to drive erratically despite a number of complaints from passengers at the back of the bus.

It was only when the claimant arrived home, had transferred himself into his mobility scooter and was preparing to take his dogs out for a walk, that he suffered what is known as a 'grand mal' seizure, something he hadn't experienced in over seven years. Whilst being rushed by ambulance to hospital he suffered a second seizure and was confined as an in-patient for a further eight days.

Since the incident, the claimant has suffered a marked loss of confidence and has developed a fear of travelling on buses. He has become dramatically less independent and has become increasingly reliant on friends and family to transport him.

"This was a very frustrating case." said Michael. "The bus company in question denied liability, and consistently stalled the process by ignoring correspondence made by my client to address his complaint. They claimed that all on-board CCTV footage was wiped after ten days despite my client's carer notifying them of the accident on three separate occasions by phone and e-mail, the day after it occurred, with specific requests to have CCTV footage preserved.

"The case highlights the lack of procedure aboard buses in regard to drivers failing to ensure the allocated spaces for disabled passengers are kept free for their intended users," said Michael. "It also addresses the need for drivers to ascertain whether wheelchair-users are correctly and safely positioned in the allocated disabled spaces before the vehicle is allowed to continue."

In August 2010, Michael successfully negotiated a settlement of £10,000 on behalf of his client.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of Road Traffic Accidents and serious head and brain injuries.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.