- October 2, 2012
- By Adam Dyl
- 0 comments
Successful bus accident compensation claim when bus driver not at fault
In one of my recently settled cases my client was a passenger on a bus who was injured when the bus driver stopped suddenly, forcing her onto a metal hand rail in front, causing painful injuries to her chest. My client was not paying particular attention to the road at the time of the accident and was therefore unable to explain how the accident had happened.
I wrote a letter to the bus company in the first instance. They denied liability for the accident relying on a statement from their driver which said that there was a car in front of the bus which had given him little option but to stop sharply in order to avoid a collision. A passenger on the bus confirmed this in a brief statement provided to the bus company which was also made available.
A review of the CCTV footage taken from on board the bus showed the bus driver proceeding correctly in a designated bus lane at the time of the accident. To the left were a number of vehicles in heavy traffic. Suddenly and without warning one of the vehicles turned into the bus lane, crossing a solid white line in the process, and appeared to disappear into a side road. It was obvious that the bus driver was not at fault, leaving my client disappointed that she may not be able to claim any compensation for her injuries.
Fortunately however the passenger who had provided a statement to the bus company had witnessed the incident in full and taken a note of the registration number of the offending vehicle. The passenger had provided his name and phone number but failed to return any calls and so there was no way of confirming the information he had provided. My enquiries with the DVLA however established the make, model and colour of the vehicle which matched the CCTV footage taken from the bus.
My enquiries revealed that the vehicle was insured. However, after investigating the matter, the insurers denied liability on the basis that their policyholder had no knowledge of the accident.
I visited the location and found that the accident took place within the hours of operation of the bus lane and the driver of the vehicle was not therefore permitted to enter it as he had done. At this stage however there was no evidence available to confirm the identity of the driver responsible in order to commence court proceedings against them.
Fortunately for my injured client however by virtue of section 3(2) of the European Communities (Rights against Insurers) Regulations 2002 it is possible to commence court proceedings against a road traffic insurer directly without knowing who was driving the vehicle.
Court proceedings were commenced with the insurers eventually compromising the claim without an admission of liability.
My client was therefore successful in recovering her damages and legal costs from them in a claim which was hard fought but ultimately well worth pursuing.