The family of a woman who was killed when she was struck down by a bus in the centre of Middlesbrough has failed in the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision of the County Court, which dismissed a claim under the Fatal Accidents Act.
The accident happened on a pelican crossing controlled by traffic lights. It was just before Christmas and the area was very busy. Julia Turner and her husband managed to cross the first two lanes, weaving through the traffic, even though the lights were against them. Mrs Turner was ahead of her husband and failed to look to see if there was anything coming in the bus lane. She stepped into the path of a single-decker bus, which had just left the nearby bus station, and was thrown into the air and suffered head injuries from which she subsequently died.
The bus lane was clear and the lights on the crossing were green. The driver of the bus tried to brake as soon as he saw the two pedestrians emerge from between stationary cars but the collision was unavoidable.
Although Mr Turner accepted some negligence on the part of his wife, he alleged that the bus driver had also been negligent as he was going too fast and should have spotted the couple before he did. He was therefore partly to blame for the accident.
The Court of Appeal could not agree. There had been substantial witness evidence, including that of an expert police officer, that the bus was not travelling too fast. To expect the bus driver to concentrate on everything all the time and to have seen the deceased before he did, when she was crossing the road when the pedestrian signal was red, in between slow moving and stationary vehicles, would be a ‘counsel of perfection’.
It is unusual for the driver of a vehicle that strikes a pedestrian to escape liability entirely. If you are injured in a road traffic accident, we may be able to help you obtain compensation.
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