With the festive season in full swing, there are lots of people out doing their Christmas shopping. More people means it’s busier and more chance of an incident on the roads. There has been an alarming increase in the incidence of pedestrians suffering injury as a result of being hit at force by the wing mirrors of passing buses. Presumably, this is because bus wing mirrors are getting bigger and so protruding further onto the pavement where pedestrians are well within their rights to be standing.
Due to the height of mirrors, the impact is often with the pedestrian’s unprotected head and the injuries caused are serious.
If you’re hit by a protruding bus wing mirror when standing close to the kerbside, it can affect your life in more ways than you think. If the impact has been to your head, it is really important that you get checked out at a hospital even if you feel OK. The severity of head injuries is not always immediately apparent and the consequence of delayed medical treatment can be catastrophic.
Compensation following any injury hugely helps especially when the injured claimant has lost income from taking time off work or if help has been provided from friends and family to cope with everyday life whilst recovering.. can help greatly when it comes to supplementing any missed income due to time taken off work, as well as prescriptions costs, travel costs and childcare costs.
Road traffic collision specialist solicitor Robert Jones describes a typical enquiry: “I received an enquiry from a lady who had been injured by the wing mirror of a passing bus as she was on the pavement near to Brent Cross Shopping Centre in North London. The protruding wing mirror forcibly hit her the side of her head with such force that she was knocked to the ground suffering a fractured shoulder which prevented her from working her 2 cleaning jobs for several months...”
Unfortunately, someone is seriously injured once every two days by London buses alone, according to the Transport for London Collision Map. There isn’t a lot of data on incidents involving wing mirrors in particular, though it does happen on a regular basis.
People should know that they can claim compensation if they’re hit by the wing mirror of a bus, or any other vehicle for that matter. The compensation is designed to help you recover from your injuries and resume your everyday life as soon as possible. It can help if you’ve missed out on income from work, as well as with rehabilitation costs, medical costs and so on.
If you think you might have a right to claim you should speak to an expert solicitor but as a rule of thumb If you were standing on a kerb or pavement it is the bus driver’s responsibility to keep sufficiently far away from the nearside kerb to pass you safely so you should be able to recover full compensation. The bus company’s insurer might try to contest the case but with a specialist solicitor dealing with your case you should succeed so do not be deterred.
What if the bus driver doesn’t stop?
The bus company will be held responsible for the driver’s actions so even if the bus continues and you cannot identify the driver you can still make a claim. Pay immediate attention to 3 things:
- The name of the bus company
- The exact time of the incident
- Exactly where it happened
The registration number would be great but it might not be possible to take note of this in time. With the above three pieces of information, your solicitor will be able to prove that the bus was at that place at that time by reference to the bus company’s timetable
What are bus companies doing to improve safety?
Although people do get hit by protruding bus wing mirrors, it’s not all doom and gloom. Bus operators are actively improving how they approach road traffic collisions involving other vehicles and pedestrians. The aim is prevention, which is of course better than cure.
Here are just a few examples of what the bus companies are doing to improve safety:
Transport for London
Transport for London (TfL) in particular are making continuous improvements for bus safety, and road safety in general. TfL have made great steps towards being more open about road traffic collisions, including those with pedestrians involved. The latest data is published every year – which you can check out here. They also provide information on how serious and fatal injuries are investigated and reported, as well as the legal outcome for all incidents. They have also set up an Incident Support Service to help people and their families affected by the injuries.
Arriva supports and implements road safety campaigns from notable charities such as Brake. They also tour schools to deliver road safety sessions to children and teenagers. Specifically, Arriva has also joined forces this year with Leicester City Council, Leicestershire Police and the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Road Safety Partnership to promote pedestrian road safety.
Stagecoach invest in CCTV systems, as well as extensive driver training and community education programmes.
First Group joined Arriva and the Leicestershire and Rutland organisations in encouraging pedestrians to stay safe. The bus operator reported 11 pedestrian collisions and two fatalities in Leicester alone this year (different bus companies were involved).
What can the public do to help reduce this problem
Serious injury solicitor Robert Jones gives his advice on this
“Problems only get fixed properly when the scale of them is recognized so if you are injured in this way, get legal advice on how to pursue a claim. If you are only lightly brushed by a passing wing mirror you have had a “near miss” but the next person might not be so lucky. So you should consider phoning the company to let them know what happened. They then have the chance to do something to reduce the thing happening again with more serious consequences.”
“Finally, if you are a pedestrian you have the right to stand on the pavement. Any impact from a passing wing mirror will always be the bus driver’s fault but that is no consolation if you end up in hospital, so keep your wits about you if you happen to be walking or standing near a bus route. Keep further back from the kerbside. Prevention is better than compensation.”
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