Ahanonu v South East London & Kent Bus Company Limited [2008] LTL 23.1.08

Defendant bus driver, following another bus out of bus station, negotiated a right-angle left-hand turn when Claimant was squashed between the rear end of bus and a bollard on the side of the carriageway. The Judge held Defendant liable, on the basis that the driver should have checked his rear-view mirror in the seconds leading up to the incident. Claimant was held 50 per cent contributory negligent.

Held on appeal: Judge's finding of negligence was flawed. He had not taken sufficient account of the fact that Claimant was probably moving quickly, and that there was no reason for the driver to expect pedestrians to take the dangerous path taken by Claimant. Additionally, the Judge's finding that driver should have kept his eye on his rear-view mirror imposed a counsel of perfection and ignored the reality of the situation. On the Judge's findings, it would have taken the driver's constant attention on his rear-view mirror to avoid the collision, which in itself would have created a hazard. Buses exiting the station had to queue, and if the driver had taken his eye off the bus in front, there could have been a serious accident.