Family awarded £100,000 after bus driver’s negligence caused death

28 October 2020

By Senior Personal Injury Solicitor Jason Harries

The bus company initially denied liability for the accident. After compelling evidence was presented during court proceedings, including expert opinions, the company admitted liability and the family was awarded in excess of £100,000 in compensation.

Client situation

On a snowy day during the storm that was commonly referred to as ‘the beast from the east’, Mr M was forced into making a turn in the road because of blizzard conditions. He waited for a safe time to begin turning, but his vehicle became stuck in the snow. As he was still trying to manoeuvre his car, it was struck by a double decker bus that came over the brow of the hill too fast and was unable to stop. The collision pushed Mr M’s car into a dry-stone wall, knocking it over.

Mr M lost consciousness briefly but bystanders helped him at the scene and emergency services were called to help him get out of his car. The emergency services recommended that he go to hospital to have his injuries assessed but he was worried for his disabled wife who was left home alone. He insisted on being taken home to his wife.

Over the next few days, Mr M developed increasing problems and was taken to hospital for breathing difficulties, caused by broken ribs and bruised lungs from the road accident. Mr M was discharged shortly after but had to be readmitted to hospital when he developed pneumonia and further health complications.

After spending a month in hospital as an inpatient, Mr M was discharged. However, after he returned home, Mr M needed a lot of support and assistance from his family because of complications with his lung function. Sadly, his health continued to deteriorate, and he died around one year after the accident.

Mr M had been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) a few years before the accident. Despite his diagnosis, he was a fit and active man and continued to work, retiring at 73 years of age to care for his wife. The accident had, it seemed, significantly affected that condition and caused his untimely death.

How we helped

Before he died, Mr M instructed Co-op Legal Services to pursue a personal injury claim on his behalf, and a claim was presented against the bus company. Initially the bus company denied liability, claiming that Mr M had already been involved in an accident, and that the impact from the bus was minor and caused no significant damage.

Statements were taken and photographs of the accident scene were arranged. Witnesses were interviewed, including members of the public who had previously seen the same bus driving at high speed.

The bus company accepted fault for the impact but continued to allege that Mr M was also partly responsible. Court proceedings were issued against the bus company and they eventually accepted that their driver was completely to blame.

Co-op Legal Services secured an expert opinion from a Consultant in General and Respiratory Medicine, who advised on how the accident had impacted Mr M’s life expectancy. The expert concluded that Mr M’s quality of life was severely affected by his injury because of his vulnerability and that his life expectancy was reduced as the accident accelerated his COPD symptoms. The accident also prevented Mr M from continuing to care for his wife, and both he and his wife relied on care from other family members after the accident.

The bus company initially denied that the accident had affected Mr M’s condition. It was only after receiving further expert evidence during the court proceedings from another Consultant in General and Respiratory Medicine that they accepted their driver’s negligence had caused injury that likely led to Mr M’s death.

The outcome

The Claim was initially presented on behalf of Mr M during his lifetime and interim payments of £10,000 were secured to fund his rehabilitation and assistance.

After Mr M’s death, his family continued to instruct Co-op Legal Services to pursue the claim against the bus company. Following negations with the insurers, compensation in excess of £100,000 was secured for Mr M’s wife and family.

Client testimonial

"Very happy with the service and help from co-op and our case handler, Jason Harries, over the past 2 and half years fighting our case. Nothing was ever a problem and he understood our needs. Would definitely recommend them to friends and family should the need arise." – daughter in law of Mr M

At Co-op Legal Services, our Personal Injury Solicitors deal with car accident claims on a No Win No Fee basis.

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