Is the bus company's Act of God defense valid for my accident?
I was a passenger in a bus, and the bus driver was turning around and talking to someone in the back seat when a dog ran out into the street. The driver slammed the brakes, throwing me to the floor and breaking my leg. The insurer for the city bus service says they are not responsible as it was an "Act of God," is that true?
Whether the city bus service is truly not responsible for your injury due to the incident being labeled as an "Act of God" would depend on several factors, including local laws and the specific circumstances surrounding the incident. It's essential to consult with a legal professional who can evaluate your case in detail and provide you with tailored advice.
First, let's break down the critical elements of your scenario:
Negligence: The bus driver was turning around and talking to someone in the back seat while operating the bus. This action might be considered negligence on the driver's part, as they were not entirely focused on the road, which is their primary responsibility. Negligence can often be a basis for liability in personal injury cases.
Sudden Dog Appearance: A dog unexpectedly ran out into the street. This can be categorized as an unforeseeable event or an "Act of God" since it's an occurrence that the bus driver couldn't reasonably predict or prevent.
In personal injury cases, establishing the concept of "proximate cause." Proximate cause refers to the direct cause-and-effect relationship between the defendant's actions (in this case, the bus driver's negligence) and the plaintiff's injury (your broken leg). If the dog's sudden appearance is deemed an "Act of God" entirely unrelated to the driver's negligence, it might be challenging to prove proximate cause.
However, there are some factors to consider:
Duty of Care: The bus driver had a duty of care toward the passengers. If it can be argued that the driver's negligence (turning around and talking) breached this duty of care, establishing liability may still be possible.
Contributory Negligence: Your position as a passenger could also be evaluated. Did you have your seatbelt fastened? Were you in an area where passengers could stand or move around? These factors could affect the determination of responsibility.
Local Laws and Regulations: Laws and regulations related to public transportation and passenger safety can vary by jurisdiction. It's essential to consider the specific laws and regulations that apply to the city bus service in your area.
In summary, whether the city bus service is truly not responsible for your injury as an "Act of God" will depend on the specific details of your case and legal considerations. It is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess your situation, gather relevant evidence, and determine the best course of action. They can provide legal advice tailored to your circumstances and help you navigate the complex legal process if you pursue a compensation claim.