Court Refuses To Sever Liability From Quantum Where Damages Disputed

Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, (Hou v. McMath) refusing to sever liability from quantum in a personal injury trial where the Defendant not only disputed fault but also took the position that “no compensable injury” occurred.
Interestingly the Court did go on to proceed on the issue of ‘fault’ without making a formal negligence finding.  In doing so Madam Justice Kloegman provided the following reasons:
[2] Both parties desired to sever the issue of liability from damages and proceed on the question of liability alone. However, due to the defendant’s position that this accident caused no damage or compensable injury to the plaintiff, I refused to make an order severing liability from quantum. It is basic tort law that without damages there can be no finding of negligence or liability. I suggested instead that we proceed to hear viva voce evidence on the sole issue of “fault” for the accident; that is, who breached the standard of care of the reasonable, prudent driver in the circumstances?
The trial focused on the colour of the light in an intersection collision ultimately finding that the Defendant drove through a red light finding him at fault for the crash.

bc injury law, Hou v. McMath, Madam Justice Kloegman, Rule 12, Rule 12-5, Rule 12-5(67), severance

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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.

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