Q&A Mum fell and was injured when bus pulled off before she sat down. Could she claim compensation?

Q:        My mother, who suffers with rheumatoid arthritis and uses a walking stick, fell when the bus driver pulled away sharply before she was safely seated. She suffered a broken hip and dislocated shoulder. This was October last year. Although her physical injuries have been repaired, she still suffers discomfort and is now too frightened to go on the bus into town.  She says she has had enough upset without trying to pursue a claim, but I feel the bus company should pay compensation so that she can at least afford a taxi whenever she wants to go out and regain her independence. What would be the chances of a claim succeeding?

A:        There will be a duty to take extra care to reflect your mother’s vulnerability. It should have been clear from your mother’s appearance, i.e. she held a senior bus pass and required a stick to walk, that she was elderly, infirm and likely to be vulnerable to losing her balance.

Much will depend on how visible she was to the driver. The closer she intended sitting to him or her the better. The driver may have seen her in her place and expected her to have sat down. If she was still in the aisle, then the driver should not have pulled off. These claims are not straightforward.

Some bus companies may recognize that the elderly are a key part of their business and commit themselves to certain, higher, standards. Any policies should be sought out online. 

Your mother will have a full history of medical evidence to support her claim. Not only did the driver’s lack of consideration cause your mother physical injuries but also life restricting anxiety. All these things should be taken into consideration. Your mother should seek advice from a local personal injury lawyer who can go through the steps needed to make a claim. If she finds it difficult to attend a solicitor’s office, firms such as ours can usually arrange a home visit. 

This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 


Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham