Accident on a Bus Results in Severe Spinal Injury
Eileen was an active 77 year old pensioner. When she boarded the number 47 bus outside her house in January, she never expected to end up in hospital. Unfortunately, as Eileen was climbing the stairs to reach her usual seat on the top deck, the bus pulled away suddenly. She fell headlong down the stairs to the bottom deck. When the bus finally stopped and Eileen was examined, it was clear she had sustained very serious injuries. She was taken to hospital where doctors found she had suffered fractures of the vertebrae at C6/7 of her cervical spine. This is classed as a severe spinal injury.
Eileen needed to stay in hospital on flat bed rest for approximately 3 months before she could begin rehabilitation. Thereafter she attended rehabilitation for 9 months as an in-patient before returning to her one bedroom bungalow.
Sadly, Eileen is now wheelchair bound and has very little sensation in the left hand side of her body. Prior to the accident she was entirely independent, drove regularly, and was engaged in voluntary social work. Now she wheelchair bound for most of the day and can only leave the house with assistance.
Claiming for severe spinal injury
While Eileen was being treated, one of her doctors recommended she should talk to Ed Myers. We immediately began to investigate the circumstances of the accident. We tracked down many of the passengers who revealed that on this occasion the bus had pulled away from the bus stop suddenly with a jerking movement. The witnesses we spoke to shared the opinion that this was what caused Eileen to fall. We therefore made a claim for compensation on behalf of Eileen to the bus company. They robustly denied any responsibility. They argued that as a 77 year old, she shouldn’t have been climbing to the top deck of the bus, and she could not have been taking care. Also, they denied that the driver pulled away suddenly.
Fortunately, we were able to establish that close circuit television operated within the bus. Although the bus company refused to provide us with a copy of this, we persuaded the Police (who were also investigating the accident) to disclose the CCTV footage. Remarkably, there were no less than 9 CCTV cameras on the bus; some of these showed the stairwell down which Eileen fell and others the cabin in which the driver was sitting. By careful comparison we were able to show that at the time that Eileen lost her footing, the bus was indeed pulling away. We also showed that the driver had not looked in his mirror to see whether any passengers were on the stairs. However we weren’t able to show that he pulled away with a jerking movement and this weakened Eileen’s case.
Agreeing the compensation
We engaged in very lengthy negotiations with the bus company. Originally they refused to make any concessions but we managed to press Eileen’s case. At first we were able to persuade them to pay 25% of the full value of the claim, and eventually they agreed to share responsibility for the accident. This means that Eileen will recover 50% of the full value of her claim. She will use this money to get her accommodation adapted to her need. Also, she can now purchase the equipment and care which she needs on a daily basis.
You can talk to one of our spinal injury specialists on 0115 931 5171.
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