Acupuncturist loses injuries claim against Dublin Bus over fall down stairs while holding items in both hands

High Court judge dismisses woman’s case over fractured ankle

An acupuncturist who fractured her ankle when she fell down the stairs of a Dublin Bus while holding items in both hands has lost her High Court personal injuries claim.

Dismissing the case on Friday, Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said it was not reasonable for Li Hong Shi (52) to expect Dublin Bus to foresee that a passenger will descend the stairs with a heavy item in one hand and a phone in the other.

The judge said a bus operator must take reasonable care for the safety of passengers but is entitled to assume members of the public know the large vehicle can sway and lurch.

People know this and should hold on to a handrail, she added. She noted Ms Li’s son, who was just ahead of her on the stairs, was seen in CCTV footage gripping the handrail.


Ms Li , with an address at Kilcronan Court, Clondalkin, Dublin, sued Dublin Bus claiming her injuries were caused by its negligence when she was a passenger on the 155 on the morning of May 20th, 2019.

The court heard Ms Li had been represented by three different legal teams in the case, but she was representing herself in the hearing.

Dublin Bus accepted the woman injured herself in the incident, but it denied it was negligent in any way.

Earlier on Friday, Ms Li told the court through a Chinese interpreter she had been balanced when the vehicle was stationary but was “thrown” down the stairs when it “jumped” after passengers alighted. She was taken by ambulance to hospital, she said.

The court was shown CCTV footage of Ms Li and her son descending the bus stairs, and Ms Li accepted she was holding her bag in her left hand and her phone in her right.

Under cross-examination by Gerard O’Herlihy, solicitor for Dublin Bus, she said she did not need to use the handrail as the bus was still at that time so it was similar to using stairs in a house. She also said she leant on the rail with her elbow and at one point she switched her bag to her other hand.

Mr Herlihy put it to her that the bus moved “very, very slowly” and she fell because she was not holding a rail. She disagreed.

Ms Li said it wouldn’t matter if the bus moved in a normal way, as it is wrong for a driver to move on while a passenger is standing. When it was suggested she was responsible for looking after herself if the bus is moving reasonably, she responded: “There is no law saying you have to hold on to the handrail.”

During the cross-examination, Ms Li’s husband interjected, saying the lawyer thinks he can “walk all over my wife”. The judge said the man had no right to address the court and he was not helping his wife’s case.

Dismissing the action, Ms Justice Stewart said she accepted Ms Li injured herself in the incident, but she could not find liability on the part of the defendant.

She dismissed the case and awarded Dublin Bus its costs.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is High Court Reporter with The Irish Times