Thursday 23 November 2017

No compensation for taxi driver over bus crash caused by his own passenger

Taxi Driver, Paul Byrne (43) of The Granary, Shelbourne Village, Dublin 4 pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Photo: Collins Courts
Taxi Driver, Paul Byrne (43) of The Granary, Shelbourne Village, Dublin 4 pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Photo: Collins Courts
(Stock picture)

Ray Managh

A taxi driver, who claimed he was injured when a passenger opened the door of his cab into the path of an oncoming bus, has lost a €60,000 damages claim against Dublin Bus.

Paul Byrne (43) of The Granary, Shelbourne Village, Dublin 4, was also directed by Judge Jacqueline Linnane to pay the legal costs of Dublin Bus and pay the company €300 for repairs to the bus.

Bus driver Stephen Redmond told Mr Gerard O’Herlihy, solicitor for Dublin Bus, that Byrne’s taxi had pulled up in the bus lane at Usher’s Quay, Dublin, on the night of 28th September, 2015 and a rear-seat passenger had opened the taxi door right in front of him.

He said he was unable to avoid a collision after having pulled out of the bus lane to pass the taxi which was also entitled to use the bus lane.

“It never crossed my mind that a passenger would exit the taxi out into the road instead of onto the kerb,” Mr Redmond said.

He told Mr O’Herlihy he had given the taxi a wide enough berth to have passed him without incident prior to the door having been opened onto the roadway.

Redmond told the Circuit Civil Court he had later seen the taxi driver having an argument with a lady in the taxi.

Byrne said he had pulled in to let the woman out of his cab and had his hazard lights flashing. He told the woman to get out on the kerb side but she had ignored his direction.  The driver’s side rear door had been open for about five seconds before the collision.

Judge Linnane, dismissing Byrne’s damages claim for injuries to his neck and lower back, said the taxi had been travelling along the quays in the direction of Heuston Station.

His passenger had been sitting directly behind him when some issue had arisen about her hand bag having been stolen earlier and the fact that she had no money to pay him.

“This caused some degree of friction and the taxi driver pulled in on the bus lane, which he was entitled to use, to let the passenger out,” Judge Linnane said.

She said the woman had not obeyed his instruction to get out on the kerb side and, instead, had opened the door onto the other side.

“CCTV photo stills clearly show the bus was outside the bus lane and in the centre lane when the collision occurred,” Judge Linnane said.  “It shows the taxi door opening a second later and the collision taking place.”

She said she was satisfied the door was not open as the bus approached the taxi and did not accept Mr Byrne’s statement that the door had been open for about five seconds before the collision.

“The cause of this accident was clearly due to the passenger doing what the taxi driver told her not to do and I cannot see any negligence having been established against the driver,” Judge Linnane said.

She dismissed Byrne’s claim and directed him to pay Dublin Bus legal costs.

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