Leeds bus passenger who broke her leg gets £32,000 payout after 'rude' bus driver ignored pleas for help
A woman, 54, got a £32,000 payout after a "rude and aggressive" driver on a First Bus in Leeds ignored her pleas for help after she fell breaking her leg.
The driver no longer works for the company following the incident last May, which happened when the woman boarded the late night service from Leeds city centre on her way home from her job as a cleaner.
The woman, who does not want to be named, said she had seen the driver being "quite rude and grumpy" towards other passengers previously and when she got on he "snapped" at her when she tried to scan her pass card.
As she approached her stop, she suggested he could try being more polite.
But instead of letting her out, he closed the doors "suddenly" and pulled away, and she lost her footing as the bus swung round a corner.
She said the incident started when she tried to use the ticket machine to scan her pass - but it wasn't working.
The woman said: "Because he was rude I made a sarcastic comment along the lines of him being his usual cheerful self, as I don’t like to let people speak to me like he did.
“He made a remark to another customer, so when it came to my stop I decided to say something, as I don’t think it is right to be so rude.
“I simply said that if he was more polite to his passengers, he may find they were then more polite to him.
"I didn’t swear at him or act in an abusive way.
“All of a sudden he started shouting at me aggressively and swearing at me, then he shut the doors before I could leave and drove off. I was telling him to stop and let me off but he carried on driving. The next thing I knew the bus swung around a corner and I lost my balance and ended up on my back.
“It was immediately painful but he just ignored me."
Despite telling him she feared she had broken her leg he carried on to the next stop, where another passenger and a passer-by helped her off.
The bus drove off and she had to wait an hour for her son to come and take her to hospital.
Karen Smith of Hudgell Solicitors, who represented the woman, said the driver had shown "no care or compassion."
The bus company admitted breaching its duty of care, and offered £32,000 damages.
Ms Smith said: “Failing to even acknowledge her injury and then driving away knowing that she’d had no medical assistance, and without taking any details, showed absolutely no regard for her well-being. It was appalling behaviour.”
The woman, who still needs crutches to walk any significant distance and has been unable to work since, said: “I won’t be getting on a bus again that is certain.
"I was just lucky to have my son around afterwards as he has done all the work around the house and looked after me. He has been brilliant.”
APOLOGY FROM FIRST BUS
In a statement First Bus said: “The safety of our customers is our highest priority and incidents such as this are extremely rare and we’d therefore like to apologise for the injury and experience that this customer received.
“We can confirm that we have paid the damages and that the driver is no longer employed with us.”