Motorist Who Had Seizure At Fault For Crash for Failing to Take Medication

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, finding a motorist solely liable for a multiple vehicle collision after losing control due to a seizure.  While there can sometimes be no negligence in such a case here the Court found the Defendant failed to take prescribed medication and it was negligent for him to be operating his vehicle in the circumstances.

In today’s case (Goronzy v. Mcdonald) the Defendant was driving northbound across a bridge. Before reaching the crest of the south side of the bridge, he suffered a grand mal seizure, crossed through the yellow plastic pylons that separated the north and south bound lanes, and struck a taxi, as it travelled southward in the left lane.

It was alleged that the Defendant  was not taking his medication contrary to medical advice and should have known he should not have been driving and should have foreseen a grand mal seizure.  The Court agreed.  In finding him liable for the crash Madam Justice Humphries provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

BC Court of Appeal – It Is Negligent To “Not See What’s There To Be Seen”

I never saw the other vehicle before the crash” is rarely a satisfactory answer in absolving a party from liability.  Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Court of Appeal discussing this principle finding that it is reversible legal error not to consider if a party is liable for failing to see something that is there to be seen.

In today’s case (Sharma v. Kandola) the Plaintiff was injured in a two vehicle collision.  At the time she was in the process of making a U‑turn from the south to the north side of the street in a school zone.  The Defendant, who was travelling behind her, attempted to pass her in the westbound lane.  The vehicles collided.  The Plaintiff never saw the Defendant prior to the crash.

At trial the Court found the Defendant fully liable for “travelling too close to Ms. Sharma’s car and driving too fast, he failed to keep a proper look out, and he was attempting to pass Ms. Sharma’s vehicle in the westbound lane, an activity prohibited in a school zone“.

The Defendant appealed.  The BC Court of Appeal found that the Defendant was largely to blame but the plaintiff also bore some liability for failing to see the Defendant prior to the crash.  In reaching this decision the Court provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Defendant Relying on “Waving” Motorists Still Found Liable For Crash

Relying on another motorist waiving you through an intersection is no defense to an allegation of negligence if the intersection is in fact not clear.  Motorists must keep their own proper and clear lookout and relying on representations of others that ‘all is clear’ does not displace this duty.  This principle was demonstrated in reasons for judgement published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry.

In today’s case (St Denis v. Turner) the Defendant was stopped attempting to turn left at an intersection.  The first 2 of the 3 oncoming lanes of traffic had vehicles backed up at the intersection and these motorists apparently ‘waved on’ the Defendant.  As he proceeded with his turn and entered the final oncoming lane the plaintiff drove into the intersection and a collision occurred.  The Court found both motorists liable with the Defendant shouldering more of the blame.  In finding that relying on ‘waving on’ motorists was no defence to negligence Mr. Justice Funt provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Motorist Found Fully Liable For Striking Cyclist in Dedicated Bike Lane

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Kelowna Registry, discussing the duties of cyclists riding in dedicated bike lanes.

In today’s case (Charlton-Miner v. Hedgecock) the Plaintiff was travelling on a bicycle in a dedicated bike lane.  As she approached an intersection that she was driving straight through the Defendant motorist approached from her rear and “turned across the plaintiff’s path, causing the right side of his vehicle to collide with the plaintiff’s left shoulder area and causing her to fall.”  The Plaintiff’s bike lane was to the right of a designated right hand turn lane.

ICBC argued that the Defendant should not be at fault for striking the cyclist for a variety of reasons including that the cyclist should have had a rear view mirror and somehow reacted differently and further arguing that the cyclist should have left the dedicated bike lane and entered the lanes intended for vehicles to go through the intersection because the bike lane was to the right of a dedicated right hand turn lane.  In rejecting these arguments and finding the motorist 100% at fault Mr. Justice Wilson provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Mother Found 50% at Fault For Striking Her Son With Vehicle

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing fault following the somewhat unusual fact pattern of a mother striking her own son with a vehicle.

In today’s case (Pringle v. Pringle) the Court described the circumstances and some of the evidence surrounding the collision as follows:

[2]             The collision took place after midnight, in a roundabout driveway just outside Mr. Pringle’s apartment building. Mrs. Pringle had driven over to speak with Mr. Pringle. Mr. Pringle’s sister, Emily Pringle, accompanied her mother. The visit had not gone well. It ended when Mr. Pringle told his visitors to leave and threatened to call the police. They did as he asked, but Mrs. Pringle accidentally took Mr. Pringle’s keys with her when she left. They met in the driveway a short while later to return the keys.

[3]             Immediately before the collision, Mrs. Pringle was at the wheel of her car with the ignition on. Emily was sitting in the front seat on the passenger side. Mr. Pringle was standing outside the car. Mr. Pringle and Mrs. Pringle were arguing through an open window.

[4]             Mr. Pringle testifies that what happened next was that Mrs. Pringle began to drive away, circling the roundabout, while he was standing on the roadway. Mrs. Pringle was driving angrily and recklessly. When he realized that she was driving back towards him and was not going to veer away, he jumped and was hit by the moving car’s windshield.

The Court found both parties equally liable for the crash.  In faulting both the driver and pedestrian Mr. Justice Gomery provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Bus Driver Not Liable For Injuring Passengers By Braking Hard to Avoid Pedestrian

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Kelowna Registry, dismissing a negligence claim against a bus driver whose hard braking injured several passengers.

In today’s case (Clarkson v Elding) multiple plaintiffs sued for damages following injuries sustained while passengers on a bus.  The Defendant operator “braked suddenly to avoid a collision with a pedestrian who was jaywalking across East Hastings.”  The resulting force of the braking “caused many passengers on the bus, including the plaintiffs, to fall or be slammed against seats and/or other passengers“.

The claims were dismissed with the court finding no negligence in these circumstances.  In reaching this conclusion Madam Justice Horsman provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Police Officer in Pursuit Found Fully at Fault for Intersection Collision

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Chilliwack Registry, finding a police officer fully at fault for an intersection collision with another motorist.

In today’s case (Burroughs v. Chiasson) the Plaintiff was an RCMP officer involved in a crash in 2013.  At the time, while driving a fully marked RCMP vehicle, she “pursued a truck with an uninsured trailer by attempting to turn left, on a red light, onto Young Road from the westbound curb lane on First Avenue. While making this turn, she collided with a minivan driven by the defendant, Jennifer Chiasson. Ms. Chiasson was driving eastbound on First Avenue.”.

The RCMP officer sued the other motorist claiming damages from the collision.  The claim was dismissed with the Court finding that the Plaintiff entered the intersection when it was dangerous to do so in circumstances with no particular urgency.  In dismissing the claim and finding the officer fully at fault for the crash Mr. Justice Basran provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Rear-Ended Motorist Found Partly At Fault For Collision

As previously discussed, occasionally a motorist who is rear-ended by another can be found liable for the collision.  Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, with such a result.

In the recent case (Bay v. Woollard) the Plaintiff struck a vehicle that had, moments prior, struck another vehicle.  The middle motorist in the three car pile up was found 25% at fault for the second collision despite being rear-ended.  The primary reason for this finding was the Defendant’s failing to brake before the first crash thus depriving the Plaintiff of full notice of the imminent hazard.  In reaching a 75/25 split for the impact Mr. Justice Harvey provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Cyclist Struck in Marked Crosswalk Found 100% at Fault for Crash

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing a personal injury claim involving a cyclist struck by a vehicle.

In today’s case (Dhanoya v. Stephens) the Plaintiff cyclist rode into a marked crosswalk without stopping and was struck by a vehicle.  The Court found the cyclist was fully at fault for the collision and had the cyclist kept a proper lookout the collision could have been avoided.  In finding the cyclist solely liable Madam Justice Dillon provided the following reasons:

Continue reading

Pedestrian Found 80% At Fault For Being Struck While Jaywalking

Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Court of Appeal upholding a trial judge’s assessment of fault for a pedestrian/vehicle collision.
In the recent case (Vandendorpel v. Evoy) the Plaintiff was struck while crossing a street.  He was at a light controlled intersection.  He pressed the button to activate the pedestrian walk signal but did not wait for the signal to come on.  Instead, he proceeded to cross the street while the signal for traffic in his direction was still red.  The Defendant was driving marginally over the speed limit and entered the intersection on a fresh yellow light striking the jaywalking pedestrian.   At trial the plaintiff was found 80% at fault for the crash.  In upholding this result the BC Court of Appeal agreed with the following reasonsing of the trial judge:

[53]      While both parties failed in their respective duties of care, I find Mr. Evoy’s failure was much less significant than Mr. Vandendorpel’s. His negligence consisted of driving at a speed that was over the posted limit, even if it was only minimally above that limit (i.e., approximately 55 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone) and doing so when the lighting and road conditions were less than optimal. Compared to this conduct, Mr. Vandendorpel’s failures were more serious. He was dressed in dark clothing, including a dark hooded pullover that was zipped up to the top. None of his clothing had any light reflective qualities. Counsel for Mr. Vandendorpel submits that wearing dark clothing is not in and of itself contributory negligence. That submission is correct, but Mr. Vandendorpel’s failures are greater than simply the clothing he was wearing. He was also wearing headphones and listening to music and that reduced his ability to hear any on-coming traffic. He also had to cross a five-lane roadway that spanned approximately 18 metres. Although he depressed the pedestrian control device, he only waited a second or so before he attempted to cross the roadway. He carelessly did so even though the pedestrian control signal was still red and the traffic control signals were still green. Mr. Evoy’s vehicle approached the Intersection from the north. That is the direction Mr. Vandendorpel was initially walking. The headlights of Mr. Evoy’s vehicle would have been visible from at least 100 metres away. Mr. Vandendorpel must not have looked north on Sooke Road as he began to cross the roadway because he did not see the headlights of Mr. Evoy’s vehicle until it was approximately 30 metres away from him. That is, until the vehicle was just about to enter the Intersection. At that point, the pedestrian control signal was still red and the traffic control signal was yellow. Notwithstanding all of this, Mr. Vandendorpel chose to run across the path of the on-coming car instead of standing fast or retreating.

[54]      I remain of the firm opinion that Mr. Vandendorpel showed a reckless disregard for his duties as a pedestrian on the roadway and conclude that his degree of fault for the accident is greater than that of Mr. Evoy.

[55]      The case authorities counsel provided me with respect to apportionment have been helpful. Each party’s degree of responsibility is to be decided by assessing the risk their respective conduct created, the effect of that risk, and the extent to which each party departed from the standard of reasonable care (see: MacDonald (Litigation guardian of) v. Goertz, 2008 BCSC 394, aff’d 2009 BCCA 358).

[56]      In my view, the risk Mr. Vandendorpel created when he chose to walk and then run across Sooke Road, into the path of Mr. Evoy’s on-coming vehicle created a much more significant risk than Mr. Evoy driving at a speed marginally above the speed limit on a dark morning with a wet roadway. Moreover, I find the departure from the standard of care expected of Mr. Vandendorpel as a pedestrian was much more pronounced than the departure of Mr. Evoy from his duty of care as a driver of a motor vehicle.

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
Erik’s Philosophy

Disclaimer