Man hurt after falling over Zimmer frame on bus fails in €60,000 claim

Costs awarded against James Thomson who broke arm in fall and says he can no longer play golf

A man who tripped and seriously hurt himself while pushing past an elderly man on a Zimmer frame on a bus, has lost a €60,000 damages claim against Dublin Bus.

Jeri Ward, counsel for the bus company, told the Circuit Civil Court that James Thomson had tripped on the man's walking aid due to his own negligence and that Dublin Bus could not be held responsible.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, in dismissing the claim, said CCTV footage showed Mr Thomson had made a decision to push past the elderly man "at some speed".

Mr Thomson, an unemployed welder, told the court that on December 16th, 2016 he was boarding the bus on Thomas Street and found himself blocked behind the man on the Zimmer frame .


“At least on three occasions I said ‘excuse me please’ but the man refused to move,” said Mr Thomson, of Old Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

He told Ms Ward, who appeared with CIE solicitor Hugh Hannon, that he attempted to pass the man and tripped on the Zimmer frame and fell.

Mr Thomson said the next thing he remembered was waking up and hearing a young man saying he was calling an ambulance. He said he went home after the incident and took pain killers, believing the pain in his left arm would clear up.

Keen golfer

He went to the Mater Hospital a few days later and an X-ray revealed he had a broken arm. He said he was a keen golfer before the injury but could no longer play the game because of the injury.

Mr Thomson said the the walking aid was protruding into the bus aisle and he tripped on it. He felt that in the case of special needs passengers Dublin Bus should see to it they were seated in the section marked for disabled people at the front of the bus before dealing with other customers.

Bus driver Albert Sithebe said he had been dealing with the elderly gentleman when he heard him ask Mr Thomson 'why can't you wait'. He saw Mr Thomson fall as he moved past.

Judge Groarke said there was no evidence in the CCTV footage of Mr Thomson ever having spoken to the man with the Zimmer frame on the bus.

“He made a determination to move past the elderly gentleman at some speed and fell like a log,” the judge said.

Throwing out the €60,000 claim and awarding costs against Mr Thomson, Judge Groarke said it would be demanding far too onerous and too high a standard of care from Dublin Bus to stop other passengers boarding until the infirm or elderly were seated.

“Unfortunately for the plaintiff he has suffered a very nasty injury but I cannot find any negligence on the part of Bus Atha Cliath,” Judge Groarke said.