21 Oct Negligence of Bus Drivers

Have you ever been on a city bus when the driver braked suddenly?  What happens when a passenger on a bus is injured when the bus stops too quickly?

The court looked at this situation in Benavides v. Doe, 2015 BCSC 1831, where a 76 year old Plaintiff brought an action to recover damages for injuries he claimed to have suffered as a passenger on a bus operated by the Defendant Translink.

In this case, the Plaintiff rang the bell to let the bus driver know he wanted off at the next stop.  He then stood near the rear door of the bus and held onto the metal pole with one hand, waiting for the bus to make its stop.  The bus driver braked suddenly and without warning when the bus was at or past the stop, causing the Plaintiff to fall and injure himself.

At trial, Translink argued that the Plaintiff did not injure himself on the bus, and if he did it was not due to the negligence of the bus driver.   The Plaintiff argued that he had been injured when he fell on the bus and that he was entitled to expect that the bus driver would decelerate smoothly before bringing the bus to a complete stop at the bus stop.  The Judge agreed with the Plaintiff.

The Judge found that the Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck, back and right shoulder when he fell on the bus.  These injuries exacerbated his pre-existing neck, back and shoulder pain, as well as his pre-existing degenerative disc disease.  The Plaintiff also suffered bruising to his chest and rip cage, sprains to both hands, bruising to both knees and a large cyst on one knee.

The Judge found that these injuries were the result of the Plaintiff falling on the bus and that the fall was caused by the driver braking abruptly.  The bus was packed with passengers and a reasonable and prudent bus driver would anticipate that there would be passengers standing at or near the exit door. The bus driver in this case breached this standard of care by braking abruptly without warning his passengers.

Taking into account the Plaintiff’s age, his pre-existing arthritis and degenerative disc condition, the nature of his injuries and their impact on his mobility and activities, the Plaintiff’s damages for pain and suffering were assessed at $40,000.

At Acheson Whitley Sweeney Foley, we have helped numerous clients who have been injured on buses.  Contact us if this happens to you as we have the expertise to assist you.