After a night out in Middlesbrough, in May 2008, James Stokoe, and a friend, got a taxi back to Darlington. However, Stokoe, who was drunk at the time, opened the door of the taxi whilst it was still moving, at which point the drive hit the brakes, causing the door to slide suddenly, hitting Mr Stokoe in the head.
After the incident, Mr Stokoe was rushed to hospital with a fractured skull and bleeding of the brain. He then had to have 2 operations to save his life and spent 16 days in intensive care.
Mr Stokoe has been left permanently handicapped by the accident and is unable to work. He is therefore claiming compensation against the taxi driver, Asif Afzal, who is being accused of neglecting maintenance of his cabs doors and intentionally breaking in a way that would cause the door to slide shut on Mr Stokoe.
Mr Afzal, who as of yet has been unavailable for comment on the issue, may have to pay over £300,000 to Mr Stokoe, if the court rules against him. Even if the court rules in Mr Afzal’s favour he may still lose his cab licence, his job or at minimum face a huge increase in his taxi insurance premiums.
Questions will be raised about the state of Mr Stokoe when he initially got in the taxi, as he had been drinking, but despite this, the case still casts light on the safety of taxis and the regulations in place to make sure taxi firms and drivers keep their cabs well maintained and doors completely secure when driving.