McGill's Bus

The pursuer in this case, Mrs Steel, was 81 at the time of the incident.

She boarded a bus run by the defender’s company and was about to sit down on a seat when the bus moved off. The sudden movement of the bus caused her to fall head first down the set of stairs leading to the emergency exit and toilet.

She suffered a broken collarbone and soft tissue injury to her shoulder.

The driver of the bus claimed that he had not set off until Mrs Steel was seated, and equally that the bus had not jerked when it set off. His ultimate counter argument to the pursuer’s case, therefore, was that Mrs Steel’s fall was not caused by a premature departure of the bus, but rather by the fact that she was unsteady on her feet or had taken a dizzy turn.

The judge favoured Mrs Steel’s position.

McGill’s policy stipulates that a bus driver must ensure that a passenger who is clearly elderly and unsteady is seated before moving off. The bus driver in this case failed to do this and the defenders were thus liable to compensate Mrs Steel for her injury and distress.

A link to the full decision can be found here.

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