ICBC Law

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Liability Discussed Following Parking Lot Collision

Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing fault for a parking lot collision involving two vehicles.

In yesterday’s case (Sheikh v. Struys) the Plaintiff and Defendant were both attempting to leave a busy parking lot following a Canucks game.   A truck has stopped leaving a gap in the travelled laneway.  The Defendant drove into the gap and at almost the same time the Plaintiff “reversed back into (the Defendant’s) Jeep“.  The Plaintiff argued that the Defendant was wholly or at least partially at fault alleging the gap was left for him to fill.  Madam Justice Fitzpatrick disagreed and provided the following reasons in dismissing the Plaintiff’s claim:

[47] I find as a fact that Dr. Sheikh’s SUV reversed back into Mr. Struys’ Jeep while Mr. Struys was partially into the laneway and had stopped there. I also find as a fact that Dr. Sheikh could not see Mr. Struys’ Jeep at the time of the collision. Further, I find that Dr. Sheikh could not see what was happening behind his vehicle as he was reversing into the laneway and, therefore, he has no knowledge as to how the collision occurred.

[48] Dr. Sheikh contended that Mr. Struys should have paid more careful attention as to what was going on in front of him. Mr. Struys was said to have mistakenly assumed, without any eye contact with the driver of the Dodge truck, that the Dodge truck had stopped for him, which resulted in him colliding with Dr. Sheikh’s SUV.

[49] In my view, it does not matter which party was the one being allowed to enter the laneway by the driver of the Dodge truck. The driver of the Dodge truck may in fact have been stopping for both of their vehicles in that respect. There is no evidence one way or the other as to whether the Dodge truck had stopped for Dr. Sheikh, Mr. Struys or both of them. The point is that the Dodge truck had stopped and both parties assumed, based on their contact with the driver of the Dodge truck, that he or she was stopped for them. As such, it has not been shown that Mr. Struys “mistakenly” assumed that the Dodge truck had stopped for him…

[53] The Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c .318 addresses the duty of care owed by a driver who is reversing his vehicle:

Caution in backing vehicle

193 The driver of a vehicle must not cause the vehicle to move backwards into an intersection or over a crosswalk, and must not in any event or at any place cause a vehicle to move backwards unless the movement can be made in safety.

[62] I find that Dr. Sheikh has not proven, on a balance of probabilities, any negligence on the part of Mr. Struys. Nor did Dr. Sheikh discharge the burden under the Motor Vehicle Act in proving that he was able to move back “in safety” while reversing his vehicle.

[63] Accordingly, I find Dr. Sheikh entirely responsible for the collision. As such, there will be no apportionment of liability between the parties pursuant to the Negligence Act.

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