Injured in a bus or coach accident? How to prove it and claim compensation

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Compensation is fully justified if you’ve been injured in a bus or coach accident. Whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, if the accident was not your fault, you are entitled to make a claim. He we look at what should you do to make sure you have every chance of being compensated for your injuries, whether physical or psychological.

Table of contents


If you are a passenger on a bus or any form of public transport and injured in an accident, you have a legal right to make a claim for personal injury compensation against the operator of the service. This is the same right to claim compensation for injuries and losses as in any road traffic accident, in the same way as a driver or passenger does in a car crash.

Common bus accident injuries include whiplash, soft tissue injuries, concussion and bone fractures. A successful outcome will depend on having the right evidence in place to support your claim. Whether you are a passenger on a bus that collides with another vehicle or object, or a cyclist or pedestrian that is hit by a bus, you’ll need to prove you were there and that your injuries were caused by the accident.

With all claims for compensation, it is really important to report and record your accident with the right people. In all cases, there will be a requirement for evidence to demonstrate that the claim is justified. Early on in the claims process, defendant insurers will require the injured claimant to prove that they were on the bus at the time of the collision. This would seem a fair enough requirement, but how do you do that? How can you make sure that the details of your bus accident are properly reported and recorded?  Who should you speak to?  What evidence can you provide to prove your claim and maximise your chance of succeeding with a claim for bus accident compensation?

One thing is for sure, the passengers travelling on the bus are non-fault parties and as such, if they are injured, they have every right to pursue a claim for compensation against which ever party was responsible for the accident.

When can you make a claim?

As with all claims, you must allege negligence (responsibility) against the driver or a 3rd party. It is not possible to claim compensation if the injured party is responsible for their own injuries. Common scenarios leading to bus or coach accident compensation include:

  • Colliding with a 3rd party vehicle
  • Colliding with a solid object – such as a road sign, bus stop, kerb
  • A driver losing control and leaving the highway
  • A driver not allowing a vulnerable person (eg elderly, immobile, disabled or with special needs) sufficient time to take a seat before pulling away from a stop, and causing the person to fall due to the movement of the vehicle

In all cases of someone making a bus or coach accident compensation claim, they are doing so because they have been injured as a result of someone else’s mistake or negligence.

Bus and coach companies (and their employed drivers) that fail to ensure passenger safety, compliance with relevant vehicle maintenance, adequate driver training and adequate safety warnings to paying passengers, may well be liable should any injuries happen to the passengers travelling on their vehicle. Any person injured in this way is entitled to make a claim for personal injury compensation.

Alternatively, if the bus or coach was the non-fault vehicle in an accident, the 3rd party driver/insurers will be liable to compensate any passengers that they are responsible for injuring.

The evidence you’ll need for proof

To make a successful claim, a solicitor will need evidence to present a compelling case to the defendant insurers. Firstly, a solicitor will need to be able to prove that the bus accident has happened and that injuries have been treated professionally. All claims for injury compensation need to be supported by medical evidence and all claimants will need to sign authorities to enable their solicitor to access relevant medical records to prove the extent of any injury sustained. If you have not yet seen your GP, you can still pursue a claim and you can contact us for advice and support in this.

The accident should be recorded with the responsible party, which in the case of a bus or coach accident, would be the operating company. In most cases, when a qualified bus or coach driver is involved in a collision, the driver will ensure that they have properly recorded the necessary details. Then you will simply need to obtain an incident reference from the company. You should contact them as soon as possible to obtain this and report your involvement in the accident.

It is really important to make sure that the details of your accident have been recorded properly and with the right people. If you haven’t completed these steps already, we can help you to do so.

Insurers will exploit all areas of weakness in any claim, especially in claims for bus accident compensation. To combat this, there are some really helpful things that you can do to ensure any future claim is not easily defended. Here is a useful checklist of the things you can do to protect your rights and give you the very best chance of success:

  • Retain proof of travel. If you have a bus ticket, keep it. This provides irrefutable proof that you were on the bus at the time of the accident
  • Ensure that the driver takes your details in full, including a description of any injuries if they are immediately present
  • Take the name and ID of the driver of the bus and any other vehicles involved
  • Record the bus service number and registration plate
  • Record the registration plate of any other vehicles involved
  • Note the accident location – street name and any landmarks
  • Take the details of any fellow passengers who may be witnesses
  • If the police attend, take details of the investigating officer and ideally a collision reference number
  • Contact the customer services department of the bus company to further report the accident and make sure that your involvement is recorded
  • Attend your GP surgery or local A&E asap, or should any injury symptoms worsen. This will add further medical evidence to support your claim

The kind of compensation you can get

As all bus and coach accident compensation claims are made on a No Win No Fee basis, you will never be charged if your claim does not succeed. A successful claim will lead to a compensation settlement being made to you, with the value of the claim including any lost income and incurred costs as well as a settlement value for the injuries you have suffered, and medical treatment that has been required.

As well as a final settlement, claiming compensation can also help you in other ways.

  • If successful, a claim can release funds from the liable party to pay for private medical treatment and rehabilitation therapies to speed the recovery process of the injured party.
  • A successful claim settlement will make up for lost income now and in the future if the injuries that are being claimed for have prevented the injured party from working, either temporarily or again.

Specialist rehabilitation therapies

When your claim is active and your specialist solicitor has been able to obtain an admission of liability (from the insurers that provide the vehicle insurance for the liability party), your claim will succeed. It is at this point that your solicitor can look to obtaining specialist rehabilitation therapy if it is deemed beneficial to your injuries.

Bus accidents often involve soft tissue injuries such as whiplash, a back injury or broken bones, and such rehabilitation would most likely involve physiotherapy, osteopathic/chiropractic or massage therapies. You can also claim for psychological damages, such as PTSD. Any private treatments will be provided at the expense of the third party dealing with your claim and their cost will form part of the value of the total settlement. Further information on this will be available from your solicitor once your claim has been active for a sufficient amount of time.

Remember, you can claim compensation for the injuries you have sustained – the value of which will depend on the nature of the injuries and any supporting medical evidence – and also for special damages. This will recover any lost income and costs incurred as a result of the injuries sustained in the bus accident.


28 questions have been answered below, why not ask your own?

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Questions & Answers

  1. Svitlana

    Hello. A four weeks ago, I was getting of the bus and twisted my knee( my foot stuck between trolly bag and seat). It was very painful. But I manage with help to get off the bus (been told later should call an ambulance ) and the same day went to A&E. Was sent home with painkillers, after 3 weeks find out I have tear meniscus and tear of ligaments. And today taxi driver advise to speak about compensation, I am on crouches now and waiting for appointment with orthopaedic surgeon. I wasn’t sure just want to have advise. Thank you

    • Ian Morris

      It is very difficult to see how negligence could be attached to the bus company in this case. To be able to make a claim against the bus company, you’ll need to establish that they have been negligent. Negligence on their part in this case would be a fault with the seat or floor of the bus. The bus company are not responsible for the trolley bag and the positioning of it.

      If it was your bag that caused you to trip, you would have responsibility for your own accident. If the bag belonged to another passenger, they may have caused the accident and were technically negligent, but it is likely to be impossible to pursue a claim against that individual as we simply do not know who they are.

  2. Kitti

    Last April on my way to work, the Bus driver had to brake very hard and I hit my knee so painfully that I had tears in my eyes and was limping.

    After lots of Doctor appointments and various scans, I now have learned that I have torn my ACL. After the accident I was just happy to be “alive” and got off the bus at my bus stop and went to work. I now realise that I should have got the bus registration number or reported the incident. As I didn’t I guess that there is no way that I can ever prove that day ruined my life? The injury has had a huge impact on me especially because I used to a dancer.

    • Ian Morris

      If you didn’t report the incident at the time and don’t have a record of the injury with the bus company, there really is nothing that you can now do to pursue a claim. As you appreciate, there is simply no evidence available to support your claim.

  3. Amit


    My wife and 2 kids (both under 5) had an incident when the bus pulled away before they could sit down. The distance between the bus stop and roundabout was only 100 yards away, the bus driver braked so sharply that my wife and children fell down and got hurt. Though they were not seriously hurt but still called the police and ambulance. My wife got bruise on hand and muscle pain since then.

    How strong is the case?

    • Ian Morris

      There is no obligation on the bus driver to allow passengers to sit before they depart a stop, but they must pay due attention to those passengers who may need a little more time or have extra needs (including a mother with young children).

      As the incident was reported and Ambulance attended the scene, it is certainly worth looking further in to this matter. Please let us know if you would like us to call you to take some further information and start a claim. You can use our ‘contact us‘ to send your number and state a good time to call.

      • Amit


        Thank you for your response, would you offer no win no fee if bus company denies the liability?


        • Ian Morris

          Any claim work we and our Solicitors undertake is done on a No Win No Fee basis. Therefore, the only fee any client with us could ever face would be a deduction of up to 25% of any agreed settlement should then win their claim and repayment of any ATE premium should the same be required.

          The only caveat to this would be if a claimant were found to have provided false and dishonest information in their claim or if the claimant failed to cooperate with the Solicitor acting for them.

  4. Andy

    My wife was involved in an accident in Great Yarmouth. The bus she was on was coming to a stop in the bus station. It suddenly breaked hard & my wife was thrown to the floor. She banged her head & hurt her foot, at the time she was seen by an ambulance & sent home. She went to hospital the next day & was found to have broken her foot. We have tried to claim for this with a solicitor & the bus company have said a person walked out in front of the bus so they are not responsible. We don’t have the vehicle or driver information & they are holding it from us (Data protection), they say there is no cctv of the incident so our solicitor will not take it forward. Could you help?

    • Ian Morris

      Sadly it would seem that despite your wife’s obvious and nasty injuries, that there is no claim to pursue here. The Bus driver was not acting negligently and given that a pedestrian walked out in to the path of the bus, the driver had no choice other than to slam the brakes on.

      To make a claim for personal injury compensation, a claimant must be able to identify an act of negligence on the part of the party they allege caused their injury. Without any evidence to support an allegation of negligence against the bus driver/bus company (and it does not appear that any such evidence would exist), there is simply no claim to pursue.

  5. Joseph

    I was in bus stop and tried to climb psv vehicle but before I was not fully entered the driver moved the vehicle. I fall on road and the back wheel crushed me on the road as the drive applied instant brakes and got soft tissues injuries. What the amount can I be paid for this condition?

    • Ian Morris

      The value of a personal injury compensation settlement will only be known at a later stage in the claims process. To answer the question; ‘How much is my claim worth‘ a Solicitor will need to access medical evidence by way of your medical records and also instruct a specialist medical expert to assess you and provide a detailed report with a prognosis for recovery or otherwise and from this, an appropriate value range for the injury element of a settlement can be obtained.

  6. Loretta

    I had an accident on the bus in London on 12th of July, during a sightseeing tour. The fall happened when at the bus stop as we were all getting out of the bus. The driver stopped twice and I fell down from the stairs. Due to my accident, the bus stopped it’s service and all passengers were made tyo leave the bus and staff called an Ambulance.

    I have already written regarding this case to the Bus company, but for me it is quite difficult following the contact from Italy. I want to know if you can help with with a “no win no fee” claim?

    • Ian Morris

      We can certainly investigate your claim on a No Win No Fee basis with our specialist Solicitors for you. It is good to hear that you have written to the bus company to ensure that they have a record of the incident and the fact that an ambulance attended the scene is further supporting evidence of an accident.

      If you would like to look further in to making a claim, please use the ‘start a claim‘ page of our website. Please give a full description of the accident scenario and the injuries you have sustained so that we can begin to help you in this matter.

      • Kyri

        My mother was sitting on a bus and the driver suddenly slammed the brakes on, my mother hit her head on the bell sustaining a fractured nose, cut above the eye and bruising she was taken to A&E by ambulance. The driver said he slammed the brakes on because another car pulled out in front of him from behind a stationary car from the opposite lane. The bus company are denying liability as the third party driver caused the driver to slam his brakes on, does my mother still have a claim?

        • Ian Morris

          It would appear that the bus company are not liable as they have not been negligent in this incident. Whilst your Mother has been injured on the bus, the cause is with the other vehicle that cut in front of the bus. The bus driver took appropriate action in slamming on the brakes to avoid collision and is not therefore guilty of any negligent actions.

          It may still be possible to pursue a claim for your Mother against the liable party – the other vehicle. Perhaps the bus company have the registration details of the other vehicle or ‘in-bus’ cctv footage of the incident? If not, it may be possible to make a claim via the Motor Insurers Bureau ‘untraced driver’ scheme where the victims of injuries caused by hit and run or untraced drivers (including where there has been no collision but the actions of the untraced driver have caused injury) can pursue a claim for compensation.

          Our Solicitors can assist with such claims. Alternatively, you can visit the Motor Insurers Bureau website and submit a claim directly to them without legal representation.

  7. Kayleigh

    I am wondering if I am able to claim insurance for this incident. I was climbing up the stairs on a double decker bus the driver pulled away quickly, I thought they needed to wait until you sat down and i grabbed the bannister on the stairs to hold myself while the bus began moving unfortunately my little finger got caught underneath and as I went to grab the bannister the finger pulled so hard it fractured a bone in my hand. I have proof of travel and hospital letters but didn’t inform driver as I thought it was something minor until later on in the day when swelling and bruising became apparent. Of course there will be cctv on the bus to prove the incident.

    • Ian Morris

      We would be happy to investigate your claim enquiry further with a view to seeing whether or not a claim for compensation can follow. It would be a sensible move for you to report the incident to the Bus company at the earliest opportunity – even if some time has passed. If you can remember the location of the accident and the date and time, they should be able to locate any CCTV if it is available.

      Once you have done this, please use the ‘start your claim’ page of our website to make contact with us to take this further.

  8. george

    Hello, my girlfriend travelled from home to work on a local bus in south London when the bus has a collision with a car, she fall down and she have some bruises on arm and leg but she was late to work and left the scene without taking details and before emergency service come, my question is, she can still ask for compensation for her injury, there are tons of cctv on a deck bus?

    • Ian Morris

      If your Girlfriend has proof of travel (bus ticket, used bus pass/oyster card) it will not be a problem to now pursue a claim. In the first instance, she should contact the bus company to make a report of the incident and request a reference number. Of course, she should then seek medical attention regarding any injuries and then use the ‘start a claim’ page of our website or call us on 01225430285 in order to get her claim started.

  9. Steph

    Hi I was involved in a bus accident. I was sat at the front. Somebody pulled in the bus lane. Driver slammed on breaks. I went flying. Had bad swelling to elbow and bruising and down one leg. Still have pain in elbow. Doctor told me I have nerve damage and has referred me for physio. The driver was liable and I have the details. Do i have a worthy claim or no? Tia

    • Ian Morris

      Please use our ‘start a claim’ page or call us on 01225430285 so that we can help you. Yes, you do have ground to pursue a claim in this scenario.

  10. Lucy

    I fell on a bus and hit my head when the bus harshly jerked. I didn’t tell the driver at the time as just thought it would be OK.

    It turns out I had a concussion and was nauseous, fatigued, severe migraines, earaches, painkillers and ringing in my ears and memory loss. This was four months ago and I still get headaches, earaches and forgetfulness. My Doctor says it could be Post Concussion Syndrome.

    I have tried to make a claim but liability was denied as they say they have deleted cctv evidence so now I can’t prove it happened. They said i told them too late but I told the bus company’s insurer just 2 days after accident and the insurer failed to ask the bus company for the cctv until weeks later.

    Is this claim still worth pursuing? It has affected my life, work and day to day living.

    • Ian Morris

      Sadly, it is likely that any further pursuit of this claim would end up with the same response as there is no evidence available to support your claim. Do you have any witnesses to the incident?

  11. David robles

    I was riding on a city bus with my boyfriend. The road ahead curved and the bus driver hit the curb and I flew off my seat and hit the floor. The bus driver didn’t stop to see if I (or anyone else) was ok. This happened in Feb. It is now September – my question is whether it is now too late to file a claim? I am still experiencing a lot of pain.

    • Ian Morris

      It is not too late to pursue a claim for compensation in this matter as you are allowed up to 3-years from the date of your accident in which you can take action.

      In your case, as the driver didn’t take any details at the time, do you have anything on record with CityBus? Did you contact them at all post accident? If there is nothing on record, it may be hard to prove causation for the injuries you have sustained but it would be wise to pursue a claim in this matter.

      If you would like to take this further, we would be happy to assist you.

  12. Abdulrahman khan

    Hello, am I eligible for compensation?

    This incident happened on the 28th December 2015 and the licence was revoked on the 21st January 2016.

    I am driving buses since 2005 with the company called London United as a day driver on the shift work basis.

    After crossing Harlington Corner on the Bath road at the next stop I stopped and served after pulling out something happened. I felt strange movement of my mouth and this is what I last remembered.

    I remembered another driver taking me out from the driver cab and handing over to the Ambulance staff after getting into the Ambulance I asked the paramedic what happened she replied “ your blood pressure was low” after reaching the hospital.

    After seeing the GP next day I was referred to a specialist, I saw the specialist in the end of January 2016 and he explained me that you had a “ focal seizure” and he recommended me to have test done.

    After reporting to the DVLA on around about 18th January 2016 I received the letter after few days asking me to return the licence and your licence has been revoked from the 21st January 2016 and you must not drive buses lorries for 5 years and car for the next 6 months.

    • Ian Morris

      Dear Mr. Khan

      I am sorry to hear about your situation and I can fully understand just how distressed you must feel in that you have lost your ability to work in your chosen profession.

      Unfortunately, our business would not be able to assist you with your legal needs. We are a Personal Injury compensation claims specialist and only operate within this sector. As your legal need does not include a personal injury, we would not be suitably qualified or experienced to assist you.

      I know that the DVLA operates very stringent rules regarding revoking driving licenses due to health issues such as cardiac/heart health, seizures, epilepsy, black outs and other similar issues. These rules are in place in the interests of safety and despite the fact that your previous health was good and you now feel good, the DVLA would be concerned that you could suffer a repeat of the same seizure and pass out at the wheel. This could of course lead to a catastrophic serious accident and it must be said that you were lucky in your incident that you were not injured and that nobody else was injured.

      I am not sure that you will be able to overturn the DVLA decision, even with legal assistance, but I wish you the best of luck and I’m sorry that we cannot help you.

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