Satnam Rehill v Rider Holdings Ltd (2012)
Should a bus driver who knocked over a pedestrian who was crossing a pedestrian crossing when the lights were red be to blame? The Court of Appeal said, blame should be shared 50/50 between the bus driver and the pedestrian.
This is an interesting and surprising case in which a bus company was held 50% to blame for the injuries suffered by a pedestrian even though the pedestrian was going across a crossing when the lights were red.
The Claimant was hit by the bus and, by the time it stopped, the wheel of the bus had gone over the Claimant causing him serious crush injuries. Even though the Court of Appeal found that the Claimant was “seriously blameworthy” and his lack of care made the collision inevitable, the Defendant was still held to be 50% responsible for the injuries sustained.
What was crucial to the outcome was the time it took for the bus driver to stop. The Court said that a reasonable stopping time from the moment the Claimant stepped off the pavement to the moment the bus driver should have applied his brakes was just 1.5 seconds. Had the driver stopped within this time, the serious crush injuries sustained by the Claimant may not have occurred.
I expect that many people reading the case would believe that the Claimant was to blame and that 1.5 seconds is too short of a time to impose on the bus driver to see the Claimant step off the pavement and to apply his brakes. As a driver myself, I tend to agree.
I expect that the Judge based his decision on the fact that whilst it was the responsibility of the pedestrian to have regard for his own safety, the duty of a vehicle driver must always be to pay particular attention to vulnerable road users eg pedestrians.
This case is a lesson to all drivers of how important it is to pay extra attention to vulnerable road users eg pedestrians who could step out into the road, without warning, at any time.
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Nicola Mawson LLB (Hons)
Office Manager and Personal Injury Solicitor
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