The Court of Session has recently decided a case confirming that the wheels on a bus should most definitely not be going round and round until all passengers are safely sat down in their seats.

The case of Steel v McGill's Bus Service Ltd [2015] CSOH 5 concerned the plight of 82 year old Mrs Steel. Mrs Steel boarded a bus at Braehead Shopping Centre to take her back home to Dunoon and began making her way to a free seat down the aisle. Unfortunately, before she had an opportunity to take a seat, the bus moved away, jerking, and throwing Mrs Steel head first down the emergency staircase.

Mrs Steel suffered a broken collar-bone and a soft tissue injury to her shoulder.  She also developed an adjustment disorder which caused her to suffer from anxiety and depression.

Mrs Steel gave evidence to the Court to the effect that the bus had moved away before she had been seated whilst the bus driver told the Court that he had watched Mrs Steel move down the bus and take a seat before he moved off. Faced with competing evidence on the crucial facts, the Court had to make an assessment of the credibility and reliability of the witnesses.  The Court chose to believe Mrs Steel's version of events and was convinced that there had been no opportunity for her to take a seat before the bus had moved off. Accordingly, Lady Stacey assessed the damages due to Mrs Steel at £10,000.

A big factor in the success of this case was that the Bus Company had a policy in place which instructed bus drivers that all passengers must be seated before they can begin their journey. If Lady Stacey had preferred the evidence of the bus driver then no doubt this policy would have protected the bus company against the damages claim. The fact that the bus driver, as an employee of the company, had breached the policy or procedure in place for this particular eventuality was clearly evidence of negligence. The bus company was held vicariously liable for the negligence of its employee.

If you have suffered personal injury as a result of a negligent act by someone else then our litigation team is here to help. We have a vast range of experience in personal injury actions, both in the Sheriff Court and in the Court of Session. If you would like to discuss a potential claim further then please get in touch with a member of our litigation team.