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50/50 Liability Split For Intersection Crash On Amber Light

Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing the issue of fault for an intersection crash involving a left hand turning vehicle and a through vehicle on an amber light.

In yesterday’s case (Tan v. Nenadic) the Plaintiff was a passenger on a motorcycle.  There were two designated turn lanes and two through lanes in their direction of travel.  They were travelling in the right hand through lane.  As they approached an intersection their light turned amber.  Vehicles in the lane to their left stopped but the motorcycle continued into the intersection.  At the same time an on-coming BMW was committing a left hand turn resulting in collision.  Mr. Justice Wong found both driver’s equally to blame.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

] Mr. Kwong was driving a black 2001 BMW 330Ci convertible automobile eastbound on 49th Avenue, intending to turn left to go northbound on Boundary to attend his place of employment.  He had entered the intersection, stopped to wait for oncoming traffic to clear, before commencing his left turn.  Oncoming westbound traffic in the left travelling lane came to a stop when the light changed to amber.  It is unclear how many stopped vehicles were in that lane, but at least two to three, possibly more.

[8] Clear visibility of the right westbound travelling lane would likely be obscured by the line of stopped vehicles in the left westbound travelling lane for Mr. Kwong.  Mr. Kwong proceeded to make his left turn in one continuous sweep over the left westbound travelling lane, and proceeded halfway into the right westbound travelling lane, when he was struck by Mr. Nenadic’s motorcycle approaching from the east.  The car and motorcycle collided in the intersection.  The motorcycle went straight into the right front corner of the BMW, throwing Ms. Tan and Mr. Nenadic from the motorcycle.  There was considerable damage to the BMW.  Mr. Kwong apparently did not see Mr. Nenadic’s motorcycle until just before the impact…

[11] Like my late colleague, Mr. Justice Edwards, factually I have also concluded that both defendants were equally at fault.  Mr. Nenadic should have approached the intersection with more caution in order to be able to stop safely.  Mr. Kwong failed to take into account the manifest hazard in the case of Mr. Nenadic’s approaching motorcycle speeding towards him.  Had he paused for a better look before entering the right westbound oncoming lane, instead of casually continuing on, he would have avoided the collision.

[12] Accordingly, all defendants were equally culpable in fault.

bc injury law, liability, Mr. Justice Wong, Tan v. Nenadic