Bus driver injured on speed ramp wins €76,000
A DUBLIN Bus driver injured when the pneumatic suspension on his vehicle failed as he drove over a speed ramp has been awarded nearly €76,000 in High Court damages.
Vincent Thompson (50), of Kylemore Grove, Tallaght, Dublin, sued the bus company and South Dublin County Council over the incident on the Tallaght to Bohernabreena Road on September 27, 2005, when he suffered injuries to his neck and lower back.
Mr Thompson had driven the 201 bus over three ramps on the road when, as he went over a fourth ramp, the suspension malfunctioned and caused a loss of "cushion effect" to the bus.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Eamon de Valera awarded him €75,911 damages against Dublin Bus. The judge said Mr Thompson was entitled to succeed in his claim against the bus company but not against the council, which had, he said, built the ramps in accordance with best practice.
The judge accepted Mr Thompson was not driving too fast and he also accepted a submission from his counsel that the suspension collapse was a failure of equipment.
The company had a statutory duty to ensure necessary measures were taken so that the equipment used was suitable, or properly adapted, for its purpose so that it could be used by employees without risk to their safety and health, the judge said.
The judge said while he was satisfied no blameworthiness was attached to the company's system of maintenance, its statutory duty had not been discharged.
It was also accepted by Mr Thompson and the bus company that when the 201 Bohernabreena route was initiated, the ramps were already on the road, the judge said.
It was also common case that there regulations provided that ramps should not be put on roads where buses operated.
However, the judge said there had apparently been no application by the bus company to have those on the 201 route removed. Therefore, it had to be assumed Dublin Bus was prepared to operate this service despite knowing the "physical unsuitability" of the route, the judge said.
He also noted that Mr Thompson had previous, but fully resolved, injuries to his back in 1987 and 2004.
Arising out of this incident, he no longer worked overtime and was now a driver on a shorter route.
He could no longer play snooker or cycle, two activities he enjoyed before the injury to his back.
The judge adjourned an application for part-payment of the award after counsel for the bus company said they wished to consider appealing the matter.