Woman sues city over injury on bus

A local woman is suing the City of Whitehorse and an unnamed bus driver for negligence after she broke her collarbone on a bus earlier this year. Istvanne Berko filed documents in the Supreme Court of Yukon last week.

A local woman is suing the City of Whitehorse and an unnamed bus driver for negligence after she broke her collarbone on a bus earlier this year.

Istvanne Berko filed documents in the Supreme Court of Yukon last week.

She claims that on May 21, 2013, the bus driver, identified only as John Doe, was driving along Copper Road at or near Industrial Road: “he was carrying several passengers, including the plaintiff,” the lawsuit says.

“The defendant, Doe, abruptly stopped the bus causing the plaintiff to be ejected from her seat, fly forward and crash into part of the internal structure of the bus.”

She insists she was sitting properly at the time.

Berko is alleging both the driver and the city were negligent.

She lists a variety of reasons including that the driver failed to drive in a careful manner, that he failed to apply the brakes properly, or that the bus may have had faulty equipment, namely the brakes steering or tires.

As for the city, Berko says officials were negligent because they allowed the driver behind the wheel when they knew, or ought to have known, that he did not have the appropriate experience or qualifications.

She says, among other things, that the city knew or ought to have known that the bus was mechanically defective, and that they failed to instruct the driver on the safe operations of the bus.

The city has not filed a statement of defence in the case.

City transit manager Cheri Malo said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case before the court.

She said potential new drivers are trained both in a classroom and on the road.

It’s a five-day minimum course, but most drivers choose to take more time and continue training alongside experienced drivers, she said.

Each potential driver has contact with multiple people during the process, she said. This includes the early stages when they are practising using traffic cones, the stages where they are working with another driver and when they are seen by an evaluator.

At each stage there is the ability to cut new drivers from the program, she said.

“There are several mechanisms to come back at any point in time that say this person can be pulled off the road and say, ‘Thank you very much, good-bye.’”

All new drivers start out as casual employees, working only when needed, until they can prove their skill, she said.

As for maintenance, Malo said the city employs two mechanics to care for the 10 city buses.

Each driver is also required to do an inspection before they start work.

In her lawsuit Berko says she required hospitalization and is still being treated. She says she also suffered a loss of quality of life and a loss of earning capabilities.

The documents do not specify how much compensation she is looking for.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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