Is A Bus Driver Liable For Injuries Caused By Hard Braking? | MG Law

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Is A Bus Driver Liable For Injuries Caused By Hard Braking?

You’re riding on the bus, and the driver suddenly slams on the brakes to avoid a collision with another vehicle. Now you’re injured and require treatment. How can you obtain the medical help and compensation you need for your injuries?

Unfortunately for bus riders, as of May 10, 2011, Ontario riders on public transit vehicles who sustain injuries can no longer pursue accident benefits if the public transit vehicle they were riding in “did not collide with another automobile or any other object in the incident” as stipulated by section 268(1.1) of the Insurance Act. It’s known as the “no crash, no cash rule” and prevents injured public transit riders from pursuing accident benefits if there was NOT a collision.

The accident benefits coverage for medical and rehabilitation expenses, income replacement, attendant care or other treatment expenses are simply not available.

The only way to obtain compensation is through the lawsuit.

You may have the following questions:

Who can you sue?

If the bus driver tried to avoid a collision with another vehicle driving negligently and that driver cannot be identified, how can you obtain compensation?

If the bus driver avoids a collision with another vehicle, and that vehicle is unidentified, you are still entitled to be compensated under the Unidentified and Uninsured Motorist Coverage. All motor vehicle policies in the Province of Ontario, including buses, are required to provide unidentified and uninsured motorist provisions under section 265(9) of the Insurance Act. The unidentified limits for damages are a maximum of $200,000 per accident, regardless of the number of claimants.

Additionally, the Ontario Insurance Act states all people must have uninsured coverage. This means every insurance contract or policy must have coverage for injuries caused by uninsured drivers. If a situation arises where the other driver is uninsured, or you are involved in a hit and run, and the at-fault driver is unknown, the bus insurer will also step into the shoes of the uninsured or unidentified driver and the amount recoverable is limited to $200,000.

What is the obligation of the bus driver?

The Ontario Court of Appeal in a December 20th, 2016 decision in Gardiner v. MacDonald, the court held that a professional driver is held to a higher standard than a regular driver. The Court dismissed the appeal by the City of Ottawa and its bus driver from the trial judge’s decision that found them 20% at fault for a catastrophic accident.

The Court held that the bus driver was obliged to observe the standard of care of a reasonably prudent driver in like circumstances. The Court confirmed the bus driver has a duty to:

  • respect the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act by observing the posted speed limit;
  • drive defensively by giving up the right-of-way, if by doing so they could avoid possible collision with other vehicles;
  • make allowances for conditions of the road, by driving in such a way and at such a speed as to maintain vehicle control; and
  • maneuver at a distance and in such a way so as not to preclude safe stopping or averting of a collision.

If you sustained injuries on the bus, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (613) 730-8460.

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