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Wellington Council Largely Immune From Bus Carnage Lawsuits

Wellington Council Largely Immune From Bus Carnage Lawsuits, Says Lawyer

LawFuel - NZ Legal Newswire - Bystanders who witness the ongoing bus accidents in Wellington could sue the Council if they suffer psychiatric injury, according to Wellington lawyer and ACC law expert John Miller, but the Council remains largely immune to any other lawsuit regarding the accidents notwithstanding the Accident Compensation Corporation itself suggesting that they could face legal action.

The accidents, the latest of which involved bus company director Tim Brown being seriously injured, have continued since the bus lanes were reconfigured in November 2010 with some 13 injuries and one fatality.

LawFuel asked ACC law expert and former lecturer John Miller whether there was any realistic chance that the council could be sued in respect of the accidents.Mr Miller said it would be extremely difficult to sue either the Council or the bus company even if negligence was proved.Suing for exemplary damages is a possibility for those injured because such damages are not barred by the ACC Act but they are difficult to establish and payouts are relatively low, he said.

Further, the RSA/Bell case has created a complication in suing the City Council because the bar was set so high. The Supreme Court in the Couch (RSA/Bell) decision said the duty of care would need to involve that a party: ''consciously appreciated the risk the conduct in question posed to the safety of the plaintiff and proceeded deliberately and outrageously to run that risk causing harm to the plaintiff''

See the rest of the story here: http://www.lawfuel.co.nz/news/369/wellington-council-relatively-safe-from-bus-carnage-lawsuits

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