£1.3 million payout for bus fall victim

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The Independent Online

A man who suffered severe head injuries when he fell from a London night bus was awarded more than £1 million damages today.

Since the July 2005 accident near the West End's Haymarket Theatre, designer Vincenzo Bollito has lost his memory, does not always recognise his family and has become partially sighted.

Following last year's ruling that Arriva London was to blame for the incident, Mr Justice Eady approved a settlement giving 36-year-old Mr Bollito, of Fontaine Road, Streatham, south west London, a £1.3 million lump sum plus annual payments of £31,500.

In January 2008, Mr Justice Nelson said that Mr Bollito, who brought his case through his wife, Filomena Esposito, had made out his negligence case against the bus operator and rejected its claim that Mr Bollito himself was to blame.

He said the driver closed the doors when he knew Mr Bollito was between them and the father-of-one became unbalanced and fell in his struggle to get free as the driver accelerated down the road.

Mr Bollito did not voluntarily jump or hop from the bus, added the judge and, even if he had found that Mr Bollito had attempted to block the doors and had jumped, the driver would still have been guilty of negligence.

"It was his moving off and accelerating which created an unnecessary danger for the passenger."

He added: "Bus drivers no doubt have to put up with difficult and on occasions unsafe behaviour by passengers. I do not under-estimate the difficulties that their job sometimes entails.

"Nevertheless here, however impatient the driver may have been at the claimant's conduct in boarding the bus and standing on the edge of the platform and gesturing towards his women companions, he had neither need nor cause to close the doors on the claimant or set off or continue moving and accelerate.

"It must be borne in mind that the driver is in charge of a vehicle capable of travelling at speeds at which a fall by a passenger could be fatal or lead to very serious injuries.

"The driver failed to take the level of risk that he had created into account here."

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