Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dismissing an injury claim against involving an unidentified motorist because the Plaintiff had, due to injuries, no recollection of the collision and no evidence to establish driver negligence.
In today’s case (Salo v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was riding his hybrid bicycle in close proximity to an SUV when something occurred and a witness “saw the bicycle and Mr. Salo in “mid-air” about ten feet behind the SUV.”.
The Plaintiff suffered a brain injury in the event and had “absolutely no recollection as to what happened“. The SUV driver was not identified. The witness did not see what exactly transpired to send the Plaintiff airborne.
The Plaintiff sued for damages alleging the SUV driver was negligent. The Court dismissed the claim finding the above did not discharge the Plaintiff’s burden of proof on a balance of probabilities. In dismissing the claim Mr. Justice MacKenzie provided the following reasons:
 In this case there is no direct evidence as to what caused Mr. Salo to become airborne when the SUV was stopped at the stop sign. Both counsel have suggested possible scenarios or explanations as to what might have happened, some more fanciful or implausible than others. But, as the defendant asserts, absent any evidence “about the movements of the SUV before the collision”, it would be pure speculation to infer negligence on the part of the SUV driver. In addition, whether the SUV turned right a few seconds after Mr. Cunningham observed it stopped at the intersection or a moment or two later, this, in my view, does not assist the court in determining what caused Mr. Salo to become airborne near the rear of the SUV, or in drawing an inference that the SUV driver was negligent.
 Given the paucity of evidence as to what occurred on July 3, 2014 when Mr. Salo unfortunately suffered significant injuries while riding his bicycle, I agree with the defendant when it submits there are no positive proved facts from which I can infer that the unknown driver was negligent.
 As a result, the action is dismissed. Subject to any agreement between the parties, the defendant is entitled to costs on Scale B.
Cyclists commonly split a single lane of traffic by riding near the curb and passing vehicles stopped at an intersection on the right. Reasons for judgement were released today noting that doing so not only violates the Motor Vehicle Act but can be negligent as well.
In today’s case (Ilett v. Buckley) the Court overturned a trial judges finding of 100% responsibility of the Defendant driver. The court summarized the facts as follows:
 Mr. Ilett was riding on the shoulder of Admirals northbound. He was passing to the right of the slow-moving vehicles. Other cyclists were riding on the shoulder in the same way. He considered the shoulder to be a cycle lane. The road was flat for 300 yards leading to the intersection. He was seen approaching the intersection by the driver of the vehicle that was stopped behind Ms. Buckley’s vehicle, Messa Mattina; he was visible to her for a significant distance. Mr. Ilett scanned the traffic as he rode and he saw the large vehicle at the intersection ahead. He saw the gap in the northbound traffic ahead of that vehicle opening. He did not apply his brakes to slow his bicycle.
 The large vehicle precluded Ms. Buckley and Mr. Ilett from seeing each other as she began her turn and he closed on the intersection. Accepting Ms. Mattina’s testimony, the judge found that Ms. Buckley commenced her turn slowly but, before she could see Mr. Ilett approaching, she accelerated across the northbound traffic lane. Nearly the whole of the front half of her vehicle was across the shoulder when, after hearing a screech of brakes, Mr. Ilett crashed into it. His momentum was such that he was carried over the hood of the vehicle and onto the pavement beyond. The impact caused him to suffer various injuries. He was taken to hospital.
In finding the cyclist should bear 50% responsibility for this crash the Court of Appeal noted as follows:
 He was riding on the shoulder of the road at speed, passing the slow-moving northbound vehicles. He failed to recognize, as he should have, that he was not riding in a designated cycle lane and, at least under the Act, was not permitted to pass vehicles on the right as he was. He was approaching an intersection. He saw the gap in the northbound traffic open ahead of a large vehicle which would permit a southbound vehicle on Admirals to turn left onto Seenupin. He could not see whether the intersection was clear because the large vehicle was obstructing his vision. He made no attempt to slow down to see whether the intersection was clear – whether any vehicle was turning into the gap that had opened. He proceeded to pass the large vehicle on its right, entered the intersection, and immediately collided with Ms. Buckley’s vehicle.
 It is difficult to see on what basis the judge found in effect that, by virtue of s. 174, Ms. Buckley had a duty to yield to Mr. Ilett such that he effectively had the right of way when under s. 158 of the Act he was not permitted to pass the large vehicle on the right and enter the intersection as he did. It cannot be that one applicable section of the Actis to be taken to be a factor in establishing the standard of care but another section that would apply in the circumstances is not. It is not for the court to pick and choose between interrelated sections that apply. Rather it must be the whole of those sections, and the extent to which taken together they bear on the circumstances, that may be considered a factor in determining the standard of care. To do otherwise would appear to amount to legal error. ..
 As stated, the cause of the accident was primarily that neither Ms. Buckley nor Mr. Ilett saw each other before the collision. That was because neither exercised the measure of caution necessary to discharge their duty to make a reasonable effort to ensure they could proceed as they intended safely.
 It is not possible to establish different degrees of fault in the circumstances of this case such that in accordance with s. 1 of the Negligence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 333, liability is to be apportioned equally.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing a motorist 25% at fault for a crash despite being rear-ended.
In today’s case (Gibson v. Matthies) the Plaintiff was operating a motorcycle travelling behind the Defendant. The Defendant brought his vehicle to a “sudden stop” prior to attempting a left hand turn. The Plaintiff was unable to react in time and rear-ended the Defendant vehicle. The Court found that the Plaintiff was negligent but also gave the Defendant 25% of the blame for his sudden stop. In reaching this conclusion Mr. Justice Crawford provided the following reasons:
 Therefore I accept Mr. Kramer’s evidence that the truck came to a sudden stop, and if I were to speculate, it may have been that Mr. Matthies was debating whether he was going to make a left turn in front of the oncoming traffic but decided it was safer to come to a stop, albeit quickly.
 In the circumstances, Mr. Kramer, who was watching the red truck, was able to brake and evade the truck by swerving to his right and into the ditch and Mr. Matthies recalled seeing Mr. Kramer’s motorcycle beside him at that time.
 Mr. Gibson, according to the evidence, had been trailing behind Mr. Kramer but closer to the centre line.
 Mr. Gibson said he checked his rear-view mirror for the traffic behind him and looked up to see Mr. Matthies’ truck already stopped. He said he could not go left into the oncoming traffic, or go right, probably because Mr. Kramer had slowed because of Mr. Matthies’ truck slowing, and therefore Mr. Kramer’s motorcycle was relatively close to his right and he could not safely veer right. So he braked, the motorcycle “laid down” and the motorcycle slid into the back of Mr. Matthies’ truck. Mr. Matthies said he looked back to see Mr. Gibson’s motorcycle sliding into the rear of his truck. I credit Mr. Matthies for an extremely quick reaction, to accelerate his truck so that the motorcycle struck the rear of his truck as it was already starting to pull away and Mr. Gibson, who was catapulted from his motorcycle, somersaulted onto the roadway behind Mr. Matthies’ accelerating truck. Had Mr. Matthies not acted so promptly, Mr. Gibson may have been injured far more seriously.
 Ms. Steele’s evidence to some degree confirmed Mr. Kramer’s evidence as to not seeing a turn signal and there being a discussion between Mr. Kramer and Mr. Matthies about leaving the scene of the accident.
 The primary onus however, in law (and in common sense), falls on Mr. Gibson as he is the rear motor vehicle, to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. In addition, I find contributing negligence of both he and Mr. Matthies, Mr. Matthies for a sudden stop and Mr. Gibson for lack of lookout. The lack of lookout has two facets; a failure to see the truck slowing and stopping suddenly; and that in turn meant Mr. Gibson continued at cruising speed while Mr. Kramer slowed, and Mr. Gibson lost his ability to veer right behind Mr. Kramer.
 Both parties are in agreement in terms of applying the provisions of the Negligence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 333, s. 1. I find that the larger burden should fall on the plaintiff and thus I conclude that Mr. Gibson is at 75% at fault for the accident and Mr. Matthies at 25%.
Interesting reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, finding a street racer partly liable for the death of a passenger in another vehicle that he did not collide with.
In today’s case (Suran v. Auckland) Cadillac and a Chrysler 300 were involved in a street race. Police subsequently blocked off the road and the driver of the Cadillac was apprehended The driver of the Chrysler backed up and drove around the road block and “proceeded down a steep embankment and dropped over a retaining wall, before finally coming to rest at the bottom of a ravine.”. A passenger in the vehicle died when”he was unable to extricate himself from the vehicle when it caught fire. His body was found partially seated on the right front passenger’s seat area with his feet trapped between the right front passenger’s door and the ground.”
The passenger’s family sued and both motorists were found partly to blame with the passenger himself being faulted with 25% contributory negligence. In holding the driver of the Cadillac partly at fault for the death even though he was in police custody at the time Madam Justice Burke provided the following reasons:
 I conclude Mr. Marwaha in the Cadillac and Mr. Auluck in the Chrysler 300 were engaged in a common (unlawful) course of action that ultimately precipitated the catastrophic accident and death of Mr. Suran. It was reasonably foreseeable, as argued by Ms. Suran, that participation by Mr. Marwaha in a street race at high speed on a busy street would attract police attention and action, which it did. It was also reasonably foreseeable that Mr. Auluck would flee the police as he did, based on his erratic and dangerous behaviour throughout the evening.
 There is, therefore, sufficient proximity and foreseeability for Mr. Marwaha to be found partially liable for the accident. As he was indeed stopped by the police and could no longer participate in the race, I conclude Mr. Marwaha’s culpability for the accident lies at 10%.
There are a line of cases suggesting that once a plaintiff passenger establishes that he or she was injured while riding on a public carrier, a prima facie case of negligence is made out.
Today reasons were released by the BC Court of Appeal finding this is not so.
In today’s case (Benavides v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was awarded damages after being injured on a bus. At trial the Court found the driver was negligent. On appeal the BC Court of Appeal noted that the trial judge was wrong in finding there is a reverse onus in such cases however upheld the result on the basis that there was sufficient evidence to establish driver negligence.
The BC Court of Appeal provided the following reasons setting out the principles of liability:
 I draw from this review of the law the following principles:
· The mere fact that a passenger is injured while riding on a public carrier does not establish a prima facie case of negligence.
· The plaintiff bears the burden of proving on a balance of probabilities that the defendant breached the standard of care owed to the plaintiff.
· Once the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of negligence, in practical terms the burden shifts to the defendant to answer the case against him and to show that he was not negligent.
Although it is the exception rather than the norm, when a motorist is rear-ended they can sometimes be found partly if not fully at fault for a collision. Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, with such an outcome.
In today’s case (Bingul v. Youngson) the Plaintiff was rear-ended by a dump-truck driven by the Defendant. The parties had different versions of how the collision occurred but the Court noted concerns with the Plaintiff’s credibility and accepted the Defendant’s testimony. The court found that the Plaintiff abruptly moved into the lane of traffic occupied by the Defendant when it was unsafe to do so, namely when he was stopping for an intersection up ahead. In finding the Plaintiff fully at fault and dismissing the claim Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:
 Having considered these and other matters relevant to credibility, and taking into account the testimony of Mr. Tupper, which supports the testimony of Mr. Youngson, I conclude that I must and do prefer the evidence of Mr. Youngson about the circumstances of the accident. I conclude that Mr. Youngson has provided an explanation for the collision − the sudden and unexpected lane change made by Mr. Bingul − that negatives the prima facie assumption of liability on the following driver.
 I am unable to conclude that anything done or not done by Mr. Youngson constituted negligence that caused or contributed to the collision. Mr. Youngson testified that as he was approaching the intersection with Clark Drive he anticipated having to bring his vehicle to a stop for a red light. He braked and down-shifted and reduced his speed to 30 to 35 kph as he approached the intersection. He testified that had Mr. Bingul not suddenly moved into his lane ahead of him, he would have able to bring his vehicle to a complete stop at or before the stop line, but that Mr. Bingul’s move reduced his stopping distance to an unsafe degree.
 Mr. Bingul was aware that there was a large and heavy vehicle in the lane. I conclude that it was solely Mr. Bingul’s sudden and negligent move into the lane of travel of Mr. Youngson’s large and heavy vehicle that created the risk of collision and resulted in the accident.
 I therefore dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against all defendants.
There is a mistaken belief by some that when a collision occurs at an intersection between a left turning motorist and a vehicle proceeding straight through the intersection that fault will rest with the turning vehicle. This is often, but not always, the case.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, finding a left turning vehicle faultless for such a crash due to excessive Defendant speed.
In today’s case (Theiss v. Shorter) the Plaintiff was attempting a left hand turn on an amber light when she miscalculated the on-coming Defendant’s speed and a collision occurred. The Defendant was travelling at approximately double the posted speed limit and due to this the Court concluded fault should rest entirely with him. In reaching this conclusion Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:
 I found the opinions in Mr. Dinn’s report, reinforced by his response to rigorous cross-examination and some questions from the Court, to be logical, reasonable and persuasive, and the assumptions on which he based his opinions to be supported by the evidence. I conclude that Mr. Shorter was travelling at an excessive rate of speed as he approached the intersection − probably a speed in excess of 100 kph and possibly as great as 110 kph − more than twice the posted speed limit.
 Ms. Theiss commenced her left turn when the defendant’s vehicle − had it not been been travelling at an excessive speed − was sufficiently far from the intersection that it did not pose a hazard. She could not, in my view, have anticipated that the approaching vehicle was travelling at twice the posted speed limit. As such, and given that she was well into her turn when Mr. Shorter approached the intersection, he was obliged to yield to her.
 Mr. Shorter knew, I conclude, that the light at Chancellor Avenue for traffic on Helmcken Road had been green almost from the time he entered Helmcken Road and should have anticipated that it would turn to amber or red before he reached the intersection. He also knew that there was a southbound vehicle stopped at the intersection waiting to make a left turn. He was aware there was no left turn light and that vehicles wishing to turn left often did so on an amber light. Had he not been driving at an excessive rate of speed he could have stopped before entering the intersection, or had a greater opportunity to consider his options and to avoid the swerve to the right that was a contributing factor in the collision.
 This is, in my view, one of those rare instances in which the left-turning servient driver is not at fault. Ms. Theiss drove in a prudent and reasonable manner − stopping twice to check the distance from the intersection of the oncoming vehicle; and checking to ensure no pedestrians or cyclists were in the crosswalk. She was familiar with the intersection and able to make a reasonable estimate of when she could safely make it through the intersection before oncoming traffic reached the intersection. She could not reasonably have predicted the highly excessive rate of speed at which I have concluded Mr. Shorter was travelling.
 I find Mr. Shorter’s negligence in driving at an excessive rate of speed and failing to keep a proper look-out for left-turning vehicles to be the sole cause of the accident.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic pain following a motor vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Swieczko v. Nehme) the Plaintiff was involved in an intersection collision in 2011. The Plaintiff committed to the intersection on a green light but could not turn due to oncoming traffic. The Plaintiff waited until the light turned a stale yellow and began the turn. The Defendant, who was in the oncoming curb lane, came through on what was likely a red light and the vehicles collided. The Court found the Defendant fully liable for the collision.
The Plaintiff sustained soft tissue injuries which resulted in chronic symptoms. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Madam Justice Koenigsberg provided the following reasons:
 Mr. Swieczko suffered significant soft tissue injuries as a result of the accident. The clear medical evidence from the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. G.M. McKensie, is that Mr. Swieczko’s soft tissue injuries are now chronic and permanent, presenting as moderate to severe pain in the neck, mid-back and lower back with persistent flare-ups as a result of overtime work, attempts at physically interacting with his growing one-year-old daughter and attempts to reintegrate previously enjoyed recreational activities. His prognosis is poor. Dr. McKensie testified that while there are some positive prognostic indicators, such as the likelihood that his function will improve with an appropriate pain/activity program; these are outweighed by the negative indicators, such as length of time Mr. Swieczko has experienced pain and the fact that his body has become sensitized to it.
 Dr. Ashleigh Stelzer-Chilton, Mr. Swieczko’s general practitioner, testified that Mr. Swieczko will never return to his pre-accident baseline. She believes he can improve his function and in that sense she hopes for a decrease in his pain with some activities.
 Mr. Swieczko was 27 years old at the time of the Accident. He is now 31. He has been engaged in the video game industry for close to nine years. He began as a “quality assurance” tester. This is a sedentary job, essentially playing games to ferret out problems before the games are released to the public. It requires concentration and repetitive tasks. It was described as being a form of detective work. The work often requires overtime as projects reach launching time; that is, 10-to 16-hour days. This career is generally somewhat insecure, as most of the employment is on contract. Mr. Swieczko has been laid off and re-hired several times.
 Mr. Swieczko’s ambition has been to be a game designer and currently he has landed his dream job. Mr. Swieczko is obviously a talented, hard-working, ambitious young man. He appears to have an above average ability to get re-hired as needed at his places of employment and lately has been promoted. However, all of the medical evidence indicates that he will have difficulty maintaining and progressing in his career to the extent that it relies on individuals having the stamina to intermittently work long days. Mr. Swieczko has on occasion been unable to work the required overtime and when he has done so, he can only do it for a day or so without resorting to strong pain medication such as Tylenol 3s. Further, Mr. Swieczko has been at risk in the past of medicating himself with alcohol, although he appears at this point to have that risk under control.
 Mr. Swieczko and his partner, Ms. Philips, have a child who is just over one year old now. While providing both of them a great deal of joy, this has resulted in two complicating factors because each is suffering from chronic pain from the Accident. The first is that, given Mr. Swieczko’s demanding career, which requires that he must utilize (at this point) all of his stamina to maintain, he has become more limited in what time and activity he can devote to his daughter. However, the evidence is clear that Ms. Philips has been and still is unable to do several necessary tasks associated with housekeeping and child care – such as physically lifting and holding their child. Thus, up to now Mr. Swieczko has shouldered more of those tasks than he would have, which apparently limits the downtime his neck and back need to recover from strain. This in turn has required more pain medication and led to frustration.
 It must be recognized that this state of affairs is costing Mr. Swieczko psychologically. He is far less able to socialize and enjoy family get-togethers – or physical activity that he enjoyed before the Accident. Thus, Mr. Swieczko is struggling with frustration and emotional despondency from time to time as he contemplates the immediate future, wherein he may not be able to be an active participant in his daughter’s physical recreational life. It was clear from Mr. Swieczko’s evidence that he was taken aback by receiving his poor prognosis in relation to living relatively pain-free and being able to do what he did before. In particular, he had ambitions of participating in such physical activities as karate with his daughter as she matures. He is now very unlikely to be able to do this…
The most significant factor in this case making the assessment of general damages suggested by the plaintiff more appropriate than that suggested by the defendant is the severity and chronicity of pain, which combines with Mr. Swieczko’s increasing emotional struggle over the impairments to his family, marital and social relationships. Adding to this is Mr. Swieczko’s stoicism, which, in this case, has meant he has and continues to work longer and harder to achieve his career goals, but at a significant cost in pain and resort to strong medications.
 I assess his non-pecuniary damages at $90,000.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing a personal injury claim involving an alleged hit and run.
In today’s case (Havens v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2010 motorcycle collision. He sustained a brain injury. The Plaintiff alleged that the collision was caused through the careless actions of an unidentified motorist operating a red truck. The Court dismissed the claim finding it was not proven, most notably accepting medical evidence that the plaintiff’s recollection was medically ‘impossible‘ given the nature of his head injury. In reaching this conclusion Mr. Justice Myers provided the following reasons:
 ICBC obtained a report from a psychiatrist, Dr. Roy O’Shaughnessy, to address the likelihood of the plaintiff being able to recall the accident reliably after receiving the blow to the head. He referred to the plaintiff’s memory as being “recovered memory”, which is memory that occurs much later after the fact. Dr. O’Shaughnessy opined that Mr. Havens’ reported memory is not consistent with the physiology of memory in two ways. The first was that:
… he states he has developed a memory of being struck in the head by lumber extending out the rear of a pick-up truck that he states was in the lane beside him and crossed into his lane. He then recalls seeing the pick-up truck passing by him in his lane before becoming unconscious. This is physiologically impossible. If he were to have received a blow to the helmet or head that would have rendered him unconscious, it would have occurred immediately with impact and not some time later. He would not have been able to recall seeing the red pick-up truck pass by him and enter into his lane as he believes he recalled. Invariably any blow to the head of such a nature to cause unconsciousness does so immediately post blow. Were he to have actually been struck in the head, he would not have recalled anything post impact and would certainly not have recalled seeing the red pick-up truck accelerate away from him.
 The second is that when he was admitted to the hospital, Mr. Havens had an impaired Glasgow Coma Scale of 7 out of 15. Given that, it would have been impossible for him to have laid down long-term memory after the blow to the head:
… If there is a disruption in the person’s abilities to attend, focus, or concentrate, they will not be able to lay down memory or recall it at a later date. Individuals who have suffered a head injury of this magnitude will invariably experience impairment in their capacity to attend or concentrate such that the memory will never have been laid down in the first place and it is not “recoverable” at a later date.
 I accept the evidence of Dr. O’Shaughnessy that it would have been impossible for Mr. Havens to be able to recall the accident.
 That would be sufficient to dismiss the action, but the other inconsistencies in Mr. Havens’ evidence and the evidence of the other witnesses confirm that conclusion.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Court of Appeal confirming that a motorist can be negligent by passing others in poor conditions therby blanketing the other vehicles in snow.
In today’s case (Link v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was travelling in winter driving conditions when “the front windshield of his vehicle (was blanketed with snow by a passing sport utility vehicle” following which the Plaintiff lost visibility, tapped his brakes, and lost control of his vehicle resulting in a single vehicle collision.
At trial the Defendant vehicle was found at fault for the collision. ICBC’s appeal was dismissed with the BC Court of Appeal finding negligence can exist in these circumstances. The Court provided the following reasons:
 It appears to me it was clearly open to the judge to find that the speed of the SUV was excessive for the conditions. The plaintiff was travelling 40 to 60 kilometers per hour and, on his examination for discovery (the whole transcript of which ICBC put in evidence), he said the SUV “roared right by” and suggested it was twice as fast as he was “putting along”. He agreed that could have been 100 kilometers an hour, although he said he could not speculate because it all happened so fast. There was, of course, no evidence to the contrary and common sense dictates that, as any driver would know, the greater the speed of a vehicle the greater the amount of snow it may throw up when changing lanes on a snow-covered highway. It simply could not be said that if the SUV had passed more slowly and had not cut in front of the Jaguar as quickly as it did, the windshield of the Jaguar would have been completely obscured as it was. The speed of the SUV was excessive for the conditions because of the effect its speed had.
 In my view, no error has been shown in the judge’s concluding that, in what he described as the “treacherous” conditions prevailing, the driver of the SUV had not met the standard of care required of him in the circumstances. That vehicle was required to be operated with due care and attention and with reasonable consideration for the plaintiff who was driving the Jaguar at a slow speed in the right-hand land. If undertaken, the passing and change of lanes was required to be done safely without adversely affecting the travel of that vehicle. It was open to the judge to conclude as he did the driver of the SUV knew or ought to have known the risk that was inherent in his operating that vehicle as he did. Clearly the standard of care was breached.
 It follows that I would dismiss the appeal.