Defendant Bus Driver 75% Negligent For Failing To Ensure Elderly Passenger Seated Before Starting To Move Bus

In Wong v. South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, the Plaintiff was an elderly woman who boarded a bus, and before she could be seated, the bus driver pulled abruptly into traffic, causing the Plaintiff to fall. The bus driver then abruptly slammed on the brakes. The Plaintiff suffered a fractured hip in the incident. The Court held the bus driver to be liable for failing to ensure that the Plaintiff was seated before started to proceed into traffic. The Court also found the Plaintiff to be 25% liable for the accident for not entering through the front doors, and for not holding onto any bars or seat holds.


[40] In all of the circumstances of the case at bar, I am of the view that Mr. Pinnell breached the standard of care of a reasonably prudent bus driver by entering traffic without warning Ms. Wong that he was about to enter traffic and without doing an adequate visual check to ensure that Ms. Wong had returned to her seat or was securely standing. In so doing he was also in breach of the Operators Policy and Procedures Manual, para 6.11.


[42] Each case must be considered on its own facts and in this case I accept the defendant’s submission that it was negligent of Ms. Wong, as an experienced bus rider, to enter via the rear doors when she knew that she required directional assistance and she knew that she needed to validate her husband’s ticket. Had she entered via the front doors, Mr. Pinnell would have been more aware of her presence and of her age and circumstances. It was also negligent for Ms. Wong not to hold onto the many bars and seat holds available to her as she returned to her seat. I find it probable that holding onto something would have prevented the fall or reduced the injury.

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