A 60 year old Walker man has won a settlement after a private-hire coach he was on stopped suddenly, leaving him with a lacerated forehead and scalp.
Now Keith Nesbit has spoken of his relief after his long-running case against the coach owner WB Kerr and Co ended with a £3500 settlement for the injuries.
The incident happened in June 2006, following a trip to Hexham Races with friends – the small private-hire coach they had chartered stopped at the Cornerhouse Pub in Heaton to drop someone off. Mr Nesbit stood to talk to the driver, John Atkinson, and was about to return to his seat when the driver pulled off quickly.
Just as he drove off, the driver saw the road was too busy to continue, and braked sharply. The sudden movement sent Mr Nesbit tumbling towards the front of the bus, cutting his head and scalp – he has been left with scarring and recurring headaches, as well as shoulder and arm pain.
With the backing of the Communication Workers’ Union, Mr Nesbit, a BT engineer, instructed personal injury experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his case.
The coach company denied liability alleging Mr Nesbit had just fallen off his seat and at a one day hearing at Newcastle County Court on 17th June, District Judge Alderson ruled that Mr Nesbit had fallen from a standing position and that the driver had been negligent because he failed to wait for the passenger to be seated before driving away.
Mr Nesbit’s lawyer, Rachel Di Clemente from Irwin Mitchell’s North East office, said the ruling was different to the norm for injuries on public buses and coaches.
She said: “In the eyes of the law, a driver on a public bus is not usually obliged to ensure a passenger is seated before he drives off, because of a combination of timetable pressures this would be impracticable.
“However this is not the case when the passenger is vulnerable as a result of their age, disability or having consumed alcohol. We are delighted to have settled the claim on behalf of Mr Nesbit. The nature of the dispute – essentially one man’s word against another – meant this has been a lengthy case.
“Luckily other passengers on the coach came forward to help back up Mr Nesbit’s claim and refuted the driver’s evidence that he had simply fallen from his seat.”
The court ruled that Mr Nesbit was himself 50% negligent because he himself should have taken better care to hold the handrails on the coach.
Mr Nesbit expressed relief that the case was over, and that his injuries were no worse.
He said: “I feel like I have finally received justice fir an accident that could have been a lot worse. I’m upset that the case ended up going to trial because of the driver’s insistence that he had seen me sit down before he drove away.”
If you’ve experienced physical or psychological injury due to a road traffic accident involving a bus or coach, you may be able to claim compensation. See our Bus & Coach Accident Claims page for more information.
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