Fault For Rear End Collision Following Lane Change Discussed

Reasons for judgement were released last week discussing fault for a rear-end motor vehicle collision which occurred after the Plaintiff made a lane change into the Defendant’s lane of travel.
In last week’s case (Perry v. Ismail) the Plaintiff was driving in “bumper to bumper” traffic in the right lane of a highway.  There were few vehicles in the left lane as it was closed to traffic ahead further up the roadway.  The Plaintiff made a lane change into the left hand lane and shortly after he was rear-ended by the Defendant.

Although collisions such as these can be caused by the fault of both motorists in last week’s case the Court determined that the Defendant was fully at fault for the crash for failing to keep a proper lookout.  In assessing the Defendant 100% liable Madam Justice Hyslop provided the following reasons:

[25] Before making his lane change, Mr. Perry shoulder checked and put on his signal light indicating his intention to change lanes. He concluded and I accept he could make the lane change safely. I do not accept Mr. Perry’s evidence that he actually recalls independently at the time of trial doing all of those checks before making the lane change. I do accept that he signalled, looked in his mirrors, did a shoulder check and decided that it was safe to change lanes.

[26] Mr. Perry had completed his lane change and was travelling at least 40 kilometres per hour, accelerating, and had not reached his intended speed when the rear end collision occurred.

[27] Mr. Ismail occupied the left lane and was he aware that vehicles might change lanes given the traffic conditions in the right lane.

[28] As Mr. Ismail drove in the left lane there was nothing to obscure his vision. He did not see the Perry vehicle until the very last moment when he slammed on his brakes, colliding with the rear of the Perry vehicle. He did not see the Perry vehicle’s signal, nor the change of lanes. I find that Mr. Ismail came upon Mr. Perry who was about four to five car lengths ahead of the Kelly vehicle and accelerating. Mr. Ismail should have seen the Perry vehicle signal and should have seen the lane change and should have seen the Perry vehicle ahead of him. He did not see any of these events.

[29] I conclude that Mr. Ismail was negligent in that he was not paying attention and failed to keep a proper lookout for other vehicles as he drove in the left lane on Lougheed Highway. When the Perry vehicle was finally seen by him it was too late. He slammed on his brakes and struck the Perry vehicle.

[30] I find all the witnesses to the accident to be truthful and they did their best to recall the events. Mr. Ismail did not attempt to explain away the accident. He was transparent, despite the fact there may be consequences to him from his employer.

bc injury law, Lane Change, Madam Justice Hyslop, Perry v. Ismail

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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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