A case run by Manchester-based personal injury law firm Express Solicitors, which on 7 December 2017, saw the High Court hand down an important decision that will affect all pedestrian Londoners and London bus drivers, has proved how important is for lawyers not to overlook the secondary effects of drivers’ negligence.
Heard before His Honour Judge Cotter Q.C., the case involved Claimant Jacqueline Brown and Defendant Arriva North London Limited.
A judgement was released almost immediately following the trial of the preliminary issue of liability following a road traffic accident on Sunday 30 March 2014.
The Claimant was a pedestrian who stepped off the kerb into the path of the bus as it was pulling into a bus stop in Peckham; she was struck by the bus, which knocked her forward and then hit her again, with the nearside wheel running over her lower legs, leading to severe injuries and amputation.
Prior to instructing Express Solicitors, Brown was represented by a senior catastrophic lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who advised that the case did not warrant accident reconstruction investigations. However, when she approached Express Solicitors with the case and on seeing a police video of the accident partner Daniel Slade believed her previous representatives had overlooked the separate component parts of the accident beyond the first collision. He argued that even if she was to blame for the first collision with the front of the bus, it should have stopped before its wheels ran over her later – and on that basis instructed a reconstruction specialist.
The case was denied and fought throughout, but in the High Court Express Solicitors succeeded in winning the case because the Judge found if a driver is pulling into a busy high street and such emergency is presented;
- a bus driver should be able should react to such emergencies in less than one second
- 8mph is too fast and the more appropriate speed was 5mph
- a bus driver should be braking with full force
- a bus driver should be looking predominantly at the people on the pavement
The Judge found that if the London bus driver – Mr Smith – had done all of the above, he wouldn’t have hit the claimant a second time, causing the amputation of her left leg and disabling fractures to her right leg.
Commenting on the judgement, Express Solicitors’ partner, Daniel Slade said: “We were the first to see that even if our client was to blame for the first collision, if the bus driver had been driving non-negligently, he would have seen her and reacted in time to prevent that second contact. It is only because we saw this that she will receive the compensation she deserves to deal with these life changing injuries.”