ICBC Law

BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Erik MagrakenThis Blog is authored by British Columbia ICBC injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken. Erik is a partner with the British Columbia personal injury law-firm MacIsaac & Company. He restricts his practice exclusively to plaintiff-only personal injury claims with a particular emphasis on ICBC injury claims involving orthopaedic injuries and complex soft tissue injuries. Please visit often for the latest developments in matters concerning BC personal injury claims and ICBC claims

Erik Magraken does not work for and is not affiliated in any way with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Please note that this blog is for information only and is not claim-specific legal advice.  Erik can only provide legal advice to clients. Please click here to arrange a free consultation.

Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Justice Williams’

$217,500 in Damages Ordered Following Suckerpunch Assault

March 8th, 2017

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, ordering the payment of $217,500 in total damages after the Plaintiff was injured in an assault/battery.

In today’s case (Rycroft v. Rego) the Plaintiff alleged he was injured in an altercation with the Defendant.  Although the Court heard differing versions of events the Court concluded the Defendant through an “unexpected” punch to the Plaintiff which began a brief physical scuffle.

In finding the Defendant culpable for the assault and the injuries that arose Mr. Justice Williams made the following findings of fact:

[30]         Based on my examination of all of the evidence, my conclusions with respect to what occurred are as follows.

[31]         In order to investigate the reported damage caused to the bike park, shortly after returning home, the plaintiff entered the yard behind his residence. Immediately before the altercation, while Mr. Rycroft was walking at a moderate pace in the general direction of his own home, Mr. Rego, walking quite briskly, approached him.

[32]         I accept that the plaintiff said words to the effect of “you must be the dad; I do not want kids playing there anymore.”

[33]         I find that, at that point, the defendant struck the side of the plaintiff’s head. The version of events which most sensibly and logically explains the resulting bruise is that, when he was struck, Mr. Rycroft had his head turned to the right. The punch was of significant force and unexpected.

[34]         As a consequence of the blow, the plaintiff went down in a forward direction, ending up on his knees. He had his hands on the ground. The defendant immediately applied some type of headlock to Mr. Rycroft from behind.

[35]         The two men struggled, with Mr. Rego behind and above Mr. Rycroft. No significant blows were landed.

[36]         The physical engagement ended fairly quickly. The defendant let go of the plaintiff and moved away, and the plaintiff got to his feet.

[37]         The defendant said something to the effect of “do you want round two?” or “do you want some more?” The plaintiff responded in the affirmative, I expect probably more reflexively than seriously, but did nothing physically to further engage with the defendant. Instead, the plaintiff reached into his pocket, took out his phone, and called 911.

[38]         At that point, the defendant and his wife left and went home.

[39]         In the course of the altercation, the plaintiff sustained an injury to his left temple area, an injury which is depicted in the photo marked Exhibit 6. I find that bruise was caused by a blow from the defendant.

[40]         It is also reasonable to conclude that Mr. Rycroft sustained minor injuries to his arm, his elbow area, and his hand, likely from going to the ground.

[41]         Finally, I accept that the plaintiff incurred some injury to his knees, also resulting from going to the ground.


$65,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Concussion with Lingering Headaches

January 3rd, 2017

Adding to this site’s archived cases addressing damages for traumatic brain injury, reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for a concussion with lingering headaches.

In today’s case (Barr v. Accurate Transmission and Driveline) the Plaintiff was struck by a vehicle while in a cross walk.  She sustained a concussion with various lingering post concussive symptoms.

In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $65,000 Mr. Justice Williams provided the following reasons:

[15]         Ms. Barr’s principal injury was diagnosed as a closed head injury. In the report of Dr. Tessler, the neurologist, it is reported that she “likely sustained a Mild Concussive Injury or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury at the lower end of the spectrum of such injuries.”

[16]         Following her release from the hospital, Ms. Barr saw her family doctor, Dr. McCarthy. I note that Ms. Barr had also been under Dr. McCarthy’s care with respect to the problems she had been experiencing as a result of the workplace difficulties.

[17]         In her report and her trial testimony, Dr. McCarthy described the plaintiff’s symptoms following the accident as well as her observations and recommendations over the ensuing months. These included soft tissue injuries entailing extensive bruising and tenderness and also a series of symptoms that are collectively characterized as post-concussion syndrome: complaint of headache, dizziness, nausea, as well as a heightened sensitivity to light and activity. The bruising and associated discomfort resolved in a fairly short time; the post-concussion symptoms continued for a longer time, but Ms. Barr was able to increase her activities, with her dizziness and nausea ultimately resolving. The only noted residual symptom was occasional headache, dealt with by rest and over-the-counter medication.

[18]         The plaintiff described the aftereffects of the motor vehicle accident, beyond the physical bruising. She said she had episodes of headache, that her memory was less reliable, and that her concentration abilities were diminished. She said as well that her mood was affected, in that she was less cheerful and patient, particularly with her husband.

36]         In my view, the injuries sustained in the accident had a reasonably serious impact on Ms. Barr, both in terms of the accident’s immediate aftermath, and its longer term effects. These lingering effects have impacted her self-confidence and the range of leisure activities she can pursue. Moreover, they have adversely affected her mood and outlook.

[37]         That, in turn, has impaired her relationship with her husband. In this context, I note that he is somewhat compromised, in that he has a significant short-term memory deficit. Consequently, he relies on the plaintiff to be the strong one in the family. I am satisfied that her competence and confidence to fulfill this role have been diminished.

[38]         There is as well the matter of the plaintiff’s headaches. Those have not resolved; they still occur from time to time. I am satisfied that that condition is in part attributable to the accident.

[39]         Finally, I note that, prior to the accident, Ms. Barr was what I would describe as an otherwise healthy person just embarking upon what should be a special time of her life, her retirement. These injuries will, to some degree, negatively affect this period of her life.

[43]         In the result, having taken into account the authorities to which I have been referred, and the circumstances as I find them to be, it is my conclusion that an appropriate award of non-pecuniary damages is $65,000.


$85,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries and Headaches

August 15th, 2016

Adding to this site’s soft tissue injury non-pecuniary damage database, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries with associated headaches.

In this week’s case (Picton v. Fredericks) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 vehicle collision that the Defendant admitted responsibility for.  The Plaintiff suffered various injuries which were ongoing at the time of trial and expected to linger into the future.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice Williams made the following findings:

[37]         I conclude that Ms. Picton did sustain injuries in the course of the motor vehicle accident and that substantial discomfort has persisted for her. I am not minded to accept that all of the discomfort and all of the lost time is attributable to the accident. I also conclude that, while there was not insignificant discomfort, its effect upon her ability to do her usual activities and to engage in physical activities was significant but not to the extent she seemed to suggest. For example, I am inclined to accept that, from time to time, she engaged in activities such as golfing and snowboarding. I also believe that she continued to pursue her fitness regime, although in a somewhat diminished way.

[38]         I am satisfied that Ms. Picton sustained soft tissue injuries in the accident, resulting in neck, shoulder, and back pain and headaches. The neck, shoulder, and back pain have not resolved but continue, albeit less intensely. I am satisfied that she continues to deal with headaches; the frequency may not be as great as she contends, but I accept that she does occasionally experience very significant discomfort from those headaches. I also accept the evidence before me that the Botox treatments she receives are substantially effective in enabling her to deal with the discomfort of those headaches…

[51]         In summary, I conclude that Ms. Picton has suffered pain and discomfort from the accident, that it has impacted upon various aspects of her life, and that those effects continue. I am also satisfied that the ongoing Botox treatment is a meaningful contributor to mitigating the discomfort she experiences. I accept that the effects of the accident impacted upon her work and social life.

[52]         That said, I also recognize that there were other factors at play, including the psychological distress that she has experienced separate and apart from the accident. I find no basis to attribute that to the defendant’s conduct, and, accordingly, the effect of that cannot be included in the analysis of what award of damages will properly compensate the plaintiff for her pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life as resulting from the defendant’s negligence…

[58]         As stated above, my conclusion is that the injuries resulting from the accident had a moderately serious impact upon Ms. Picton’s life. She has experienced pain and suffering, and her enjoyment of life has been compromised in a number of ways. I also conclude that the effects of the collision are not the sole cause for her difficulties; her pre-existing psychological problems have had a real role in causing those. Ms. Picton’s situation is in keeping with the “crumbling skull” rule as noted in Athey v. Leonati, [1996] 3 SCR 458, at paras. 34–35. The damages that this Court awards must reflect that distinction. The defendant should not be required to compensate Ms. Picton for effects she would have experienced anyway.

[59]         As well, my award is informed by my view that she has, fortunately, by availing herself of the Botox treatment program, been able to find a way to substantially overcome the discomfort of headache. I intend to provide an award of damages for her future care that will provide for that relief, going forward. Accordingly, I expect that her discomfort will be quite significantly relieved.

[60]         In the result, I find that a fit and appropriate award of damages under this head is $85,000.


$14,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment Following “Mild to Moderate” Soft Tissue Injuries

October 9th, 2015

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for relatively modest injuries sustained in a collision.

In today’s case (Zhibawi v. Anslow) the Plaintiff was involved in a minor collision caused by the Defendant.  The Defendant acknowledged fault but argued the collision was so minor no injury could have been sustained.  The Court rejected this argument.  The court did, however, have some difficulties with the Plaintiff’s privately retained expert witness noting his opinions “did not comply with the duty” owed to the Court.  Mr. Justice Williams did conclude that the Plaintiff suffered ‘mild to moderate’ soft tissue injuries.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $14,000 the Court provided the following reasons:

40]        With all that said, I have reached certain findings concerning the injuries that were sustained by the plaintiff and the effect that they have had upon her. I conclude that she sustained a mild to moderate soft tissue injury. That resulted in some neck and back discomfort. Within approximately two weeks, she was able to return to work.

[41]        The injuries had a limiting effect upon her activities for a time, including her running and housework. I find that, within a few months, their impact on her ability to work at her job was manageable and modest.

[42]        There were complaints of headache following the accident, but it is in my view quite relevant that Ms. Zhibawi had been experiencing significant headaches as part of a long-established neurological condition that also included fainting and light-headedness. While the plaintiff sought to draw a distinction between the pre-accident headaches and those she had after, I find that the headaches that are attributable to the defendant’s negligence are modest.

[43]        I conclude the bulk of the plaintiffs discomfort resulting from the motor vehicle accident was substantially resolved within six to nine months.

[44]        I do not accept that the injuries she sustained have continued in any meaningful way to the time of trial, and I find no basis to conclude that she will suffer any effects into the future…

[50]        I conclude that a fit and appropriate award of damages to compensate the plaintiff for her pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life is $14,000.


$70,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessement For Largely Recovered but “Vulnerable” Soft Tissue Injuries

September 28th, 2015

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for injuries sustained in a collision.

In today’s case (Boysen-Barstow v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2011 collision caused by an unidentified motorist. ICBC accepted statutory fault for the collision.  The Plaintiff sustained various soft tissue injuries which enjoyed significant recovery but remained susceptible to aggravation.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $70,000 Mr. Justice Williams provided the following reasons:

25]         My conclusion is that the plaintiff sustained moderate soft tissue injuries in the accident, causing her neck and back pain and headaches. The headaches resolved within a few months, and the other physical discomfort gradually resolved to the point that, by taking appropriate care, Ms. Barstow was substantially pain free by the end of 2013. I accept that she has a certain vulnerability to back discomfort with prolonged sitting and that requires some management; that is a condition which has not fully resolved, although it is certainly not characterizable as an acute disability. It is a relatively minor artefact of the accident requiring some accommodation.

[26]         It follows that I am not fully able to accept the opinion of Dr. le Nobel as an accurate view of Ms. Barstow’s condition and prognosis. With respect, it simply does not accord with the substantial body of evidence that is before me.

[27]         As for the psychological aspect of the effects of the accident, the phobia experienced while travelling in a motor vehicle, both as a passenger and a driver, I accept that was, certainly initially, a problem that caused serious difficulties for the plaintiff. It contributed to her difficulties in carrying out her duties at work when she returned and was, I am sure, a factor in her decision to end that employment. However, I am also satisfied that by the time of trial, that has substantially resolved and whatever lingering unease she may have in an automobile is of a quite minor magnitude.

[28]         I accept the evidence of the plaintiff and Mr. Barstow that the plaintiff’s disposition and temperament was adversely affected to an extent by the accident, though that has diminished over time. I also acknowledge that the plaintiff’s marriage was, during that time, made more difficult as a result.

[29]         In terms of determining the appropriate quantum of damages to compensate the plaintiff for her pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, the role of the court is to arrive at a sum which is fair to both the plaintiff and the defendant, and which provides a full and proper one-time compensation for all of the effects that have been caused by the defendants’ negligence—effects past, present, and future…

[35]         In my respectful view, when the circumstances are considered in their totality, together with the cases relied upon, the quantum of the award sought by the plaintiff is excessive. I find that an appropriate award for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life is $70,000.


Low Velocity Impact Strategy Judicially Rejected

June 20th, 2014

Adding to this site’s archived judicial commentary on low velocity impact claims, reasons for judgement were released this week addressing and dismissing evidence seeking to minimize an injury claim based on the severity of the force of impact.

In this week’s case (Dunne v. Sharma) the Plaintiff sued for damages as a result of two collisions.  She alleged both physical and psychological consequences following these collisions.  The Defendant argued that any injuries the collisions caused were relatively minor as the collisions were modest.  In support of the Defendant’s argument accident reconstruction evidence was introduced which discussed the forces of the collision.  In rejecting the Defendant’s argument Mr. Justice Williams provided the following reasons:

[90]         Dealing first with the low velocity and minimal material damage aspect, I note that the defendants have tendered a report prepared by an engineer with expertise in the field of accident reconstruction. The essence of his opinion is that in each of the subject collisions, the velocity change experience by the plaintiff’s vehicle was probably less than about 12 km. per hour. The photographs contained in his report also demonstrate that the damage done to the cars by the collision was quite modest.

[91]         I appreciate that to have to been the case and I accept that common sense might generally dictate that a minor collision would not be expected to result in significant injuries. However, there is simply no basis upon which I am able to extrapolate the information concerning the velocity of the collision to a conclusion that the plaintiff’s injuries must therefore necessarily be of a certain type and degree. As has been judicially observed in a multitude of cases, the court cannot conclude that because the impact of the collision was relatively minor, then any resulting injuries must necessarily be minor as well. Justice Thackeray noted in Gordon v. Palmer (1993), 78 B.C.L.R. (2d) 236, 38 A.C.W.S. (3d) 924 (S.C.):

Significant injuries can be caused by the most casual of slips and falls. Conversely, accidents causing extensive property damage may leave those involved unscathed. The presence and extent of injuries are to be determined on the basis of evidence given in court. Objectivity is thus preserved and the public does not have to concern itself with extraneous philosophies that some would impose on the judicial process.

The magnitude of the collision is one factor the court will take into account, but it will be considered in the totality of the evidence. Generally, its effect with respect to determination of resultant injuries will not be great.

 


More on Collisions Involving Emergency Vehicles

July 31st, 2013

 

UPDATE June 5, 2014 - This decision was overturned on appeal with the Defendant being found fully at fault

____________

As previously discussed, when an emergency vehicle is responding to a call and is involved in a collision fault does not automatically rest with the other vehicle.   All of the circumstances surrounding the collision must be examined.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, addressing this area of law.

In last week’s case (Maddex . Sigouin) the Defendant was travelling a few car lengths behind the Plaintiff police officer.  The Plaintiff detected a speeding oncoming vehicle, activated his lights, and attempted a U-Turn at the approaching intersection.   To do so he had to cut across from the left hand lane in which he was travelling, through the designated left had turn lane and into his turn.  The Defendant did not have time to react safely, hit his brakes and also turned into the left hand turn lane in the hopes of avoiding contact.  Ultimately the Court found both motorists equally responsible for the crash.  In reaching this decision Mr. Justice Williams provided the following reasons:

[43]         It is my conclusion that Mr. Sigouin was not paying sufficient attention as he was driving and that he was positioned too close behind the police car, taking into account the speed and the limited maneuverability of his vehicle. By the time he recognized the necessity to react to the police car slowing in his lane, it was too late to safely slow down behind that vehicle. As a result, he was forced into an emergency maneuver which entailed passing the police vehicle. He did not believe it was safe to pass on the right and so he elected to pass on the left which necessitated him moving into the left-turn bay to get past the police car. It is clear that he did not see the flashing emergency lights and react to them in a timely and responsive way. My conclusion that he was not paying sufficient attention is buttressed by the fact that the vehicle he evidently failed to notice was a prominently marked police car displaying flashing lights. It is clear from the evidence that Mr. Sigouin knew that this was a police car because he testified that he made that observation a short time earlier and that he took measures to situate himself so that he was travelling behind that car.

[44]         As for the plaintiff, he initiated a turn, essentially a U-turn, from the number 2 lane. He satisfied himself that could be done safely with respect to the oncoming traffic. However, he appears not to have appreciated that his maneuver could not be safely executed because there was another vehicle following fairly close behind him.

[45]         Further, he initiated his maneuver not from the left-turn bay, but rather from the number 2 lane, a position which made it less apparent that he was going to turn left.

[46]         I accept that the plaintiff was displaying his emergency lights and it would be apparent to any other motorist that he was engaged in some sort of official emergent duties on the roadway. As I indicated earlier, other drivers are expected to yield to such vehicles.

[47]         However, it is abundantly clear from the legislation that displaying emergency equipment, whether lights or lights and siren, does not afford a shield of invincibility or absolute right. Even when an emergency vehicle has that equipment fully deployed, there is an overriding obligation on the operator of the emergency vehicle to ensure that any driving activity be conducted in a safe fashion vis-à-vis other persons on the roadway.

[48]         In the present case, that required the plaintiff to be sure that his U-turn could be executed in safety. He ought to have been aware of the fact that the defendant’s vehicle was following him, fairly close behind; he ought to have checked behind him.

[49]         It is evident that he did not do so.

[50]         In the circumstances, I find that both of the drivers, the plaintiff and the defendant Mr. Sigouin, were negligent in this collision.

[51]         As for allocation of fault, I find each to be similarly responsible, and I apportion liability equally, that is, 50 percent for each of them.


Subjective Soft Tissue Injuries and Judicial Scrutiny

April 26th, 2013

Last year I criticized the often recited judicial passage stating that ““…the Court should be exceedingly careful when there is little or no objective evidence of continuing injury and when complaints of pain persist for long periods extending beyond the normal or usual recovery…”  and pointing out that these comments should no longer be used given Supreme Court of Canada’s reasons in FH v. McDougall.

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court (Prince v. Quinn) addressing a Court’s role when dealing with subjective injuries.  Mr. Justice Williams provided the following comments which, in my view, would do well to substitute the above passage in the context of a chronic soft tissue injury case:

[25]         With respect, as regards this latter point, it seems to me that this is an approach that must be considered with care. Taken to its ultimate conclusion, it would, in many cases, quite unfairly put a plaintiff in a position where proving a claim would be exceedingly difficult and verging on impossible.

[26]         In my view, the point to be observed is this: where a plaintiff’s claim is founded quite substantially on self-reported evidence, it is necessary for the trier of fact to scrutinize the plaintiff’s evidence carefully and evaluate it in the light of other evidence, such as the circumstances of the collision, other relevant information concerning the plaintiff’s activities and statements made by the plaintiff on other occasions. However, where the evidence of physical injury is substantially based on subjective evidence – the testimony of the plaintiff – that should not constitute an effective barrier to proof of a claim.

[27]         In the final analysis, it is the court’s duty to examine the evidence carefully and critically. That is what I have done in this case.


Video Surveillance Erodes Personal Injury Claim; $4,000 Assessment for Modest Soft Tissue Injury

February 12th, 2013

Although video surveillance is not always a useful tool in personal injury litigation, it sometimes is used effectively.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, illustrating such evidence assisting in challenging a personal injury claim.

In last week’s case (Berenian v. Primus) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2006 collision when he was travelling on foot and struck by the Defendant’s vehicle.  Although liability was disputed the defendant was ultimately found 100% at fault for the collision.

The Plaintiff sought damages for soft tissue injuries which he says took 18 months to clear.  He further advanced a claim that the injuries “have impacted his routine… because of them, he was not able to run in the usual fashion and it was in fact some time later that he was able to get back to his pre-accident routine“.

The Defendant “robustly disputed” this allegation and produced video evidence of the Plaintiff jogging in the month following the collision.  Mr. Justice Williams concluded that the injuries sustained in the collision were “fairly minor” and assessed non-pecuniary damages at $4,000.  In rejecting the claims of long-standing consequences from the injuries the Court provided the following comments:

50]         As part of its examination of the circumstances, the defence retained an investigator to observe the activities of the plaintiff. That resulted in video recordings being made; those were tendered in evidence at this trial. Those recordings show the plaintiff, on three separate occasions, leaving his downtown place of business and travelling on foot to the area of his residence in West Vancouver.

[51]         The first of those recordings was made on May 4. It shows the plaintiff as he slowly jogged from his place of business to his residence. On the way, he stopped and did some moderate physical exercise including push-ups. The elapsed time from his departure from his place of work to his arrival at his home was approximately 70 minutes.

[52]         Another recording was made the day following, May 5. Again, it shows similar activity; the elapsed time was 70 minutes.

[53]         The third observation was conducted on May 11. Again, the plaintiff is shown essentially jogging from his place of work to his home. The additional exercise was done along the way in the same fashion.

[54]         At trial, the plaintiff was confronted with this evidence, as well as testimony he had provided in the course of an examination for discovery, at a time when he was unaware of the recordings having been made. At the examination, he stated under oath that he had eased into his running gradually following the motor vehicle accident and had started running the entire distance from his place of work to his home approximately five to six months after the motor vehicle accident. He said that, post-accident, the trip would take him in the order of two hours, which he said was about 45-60 minutes longer than it had taken prior to the injury. His evidence at the examination for discovery was that his time to make the trip, prior to the motor vehicle accident, was in the order of 60-70 minutes.

[55]         At trial his testimony was different. He said that before the motor vehicle accident, he had been able to do the run and the en route workout in 40 minutes.

[56]         Quite predictably, the apparent discrepancy between these activities and the manner in which the plaintiff had represented his injuries and their effects was the basis of some real dispute at trial…

[68]         I am concerned with the veracity of the plaintiff’s claims regarding the extent, severity and effects of the injuries he suffered. The principal basis upon which the claim rests is his testimony, his description. There is not any notable objective evidence to support his assertions of the quite extensive nature of the consequences…

[70]         In the final analysis, I have very serious doubts as to the truth and reliability of the plaintiff’s description of the extent of the injuries and their impact upon him. My conclusion is that there was some soft tissue injury – bruising and discomfort – but it was fairly minor in that he was able to resume his running within a month. In view of that finding, while I accept there may have been some lingering residual discomfort, it would be of a fairly modest magnitude.

[71]         Similarly, as for his claims that his neck pain continued for 12 to 18 months, that the headaches persisted for six to eight months, and his complaint of low back pain, I find that he has not proven on a balance of probabilities that such injuries resulted in discomfort such as he describes. On the evidence, it was substantially less.


Road Maintenance Claims "Clearly Require Expert Evidence" Addressing Standard of Care

October 11th, 2012

If a road maintenance company unreasonably fails to maintain a road for which they are responsible they can be held civilly liable for resulting harm.  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, discussing the complex nature of  such claims finding that such cases clearly require expert evidence to succeed.

In last week’s case (Collins v. Rees) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 collision when she lost control of her vehicle colliding with the side of the Massey Tunnel and was then struck by another vehicle.  She sued the contracting company responsible for maintaining that stretch of roadway arguing they failed to take proper steps to prevent the build up of ice.

Mr. Justice Williams noted that the claim must fail as there was no evidence to prove icy conditions caused the loss of control but further that cases such as this cannot succeed without expert evidence addressing the standard of care.  The court provided the following comments:

 

[36]         With respect to the issue of standard of care, I can find nothing in the record which could be said to constitute evidence going to prove the applicable standard of care of the defendants. To find that on the evidence before this court would require guesswork and speculation. I am unable to infer that standard from the evidentiary record.

[37]         Inference is the exercise of reaching a logical conclusion by reasoning from proven facts. Here, the proven facts from which the inference could be drawn are not present.

[38]         Insofar as applying my own knowledge of every day matters, that would not be an appropriate way to deal with this issue. Decisions as to the proper steps, measures and procedures to sign and maintain a highway system in a large metropolitan community are undoubtedly complex things. I am sure that engineers have spent their entire lives working on those very issues. The same applies with respect to issues such as drainage and vapour barriers. It is not reasonable to expect that a trial judge, as a layperson, will draw the inferences to establish this element. It is clearly a matter that requires expert evidence.

[39]         Accordingly, I find the plaintiff has adduced no evidence with respect to the element of the applicable standard of care and, as well, the issue of the defendants’ failure to meet that standard of care and that, therefore, the defendants’ applications must succeed.