Intersection Crashes and Legal Principles Determining Fault


Reasons for judgment were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, summarizing some useful legal principles Judges look at when deciding the issue of fault following intersection crashes.
In today’s case (Luvera v. Benedict) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 motor vehicle collision.  He was driving his motorcycle and entered an intersection with the lights “probably in the late amber phase“.  At the same time, the Defendant who was approaching from the opposite direction of travel, “attempted her left turn only when the light turned from green to amber…(and) did not see the oncoming motorcycles“.  The Plaintiff drove into the right rear quarter panel of the Defendant’s vehicle.
Mr. Justice Wong found that both the Plaintiff and the Defendant were equally at fault for the crash.  Before reaching this conclusion the Court set out the following summary of principles of law:

[5]             In the March 2006 issue of the Verdict magazine, a publication of the B.C. Trial Lawyers Association, at page 40, there is a useful discussion of the jurisprudence in the article entitled, “Intersection/Right-of-Way Cases – Making Sense of the Law” authored by Barbara J. Flewelling.  At page 44, the author states:

There is a conflict in the cases about whether or not a left-turning driver must wait until all other vehicles have nearly or actually come to a stop before proceeding to make their turn.  Whereas the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Kokkinis v. Hall, [1996] B.C.J. No. 1560, has indicated that it is not necessary, in Mitchell v. ICBC, [2004] B.C.J. No. 1600, on a Rule 18A application, Mr. Justice Edwards was of the view that the interpretation of the obligations of a left-turning driver as set out in Kokkinis would invite left-turning drivers to assume rather than determine that oncoming through drivers will stop as the light turns yellow and requires through drivers to conduct themselves on the basis left-turning drivers will do so.  Edwards J. felt that due to the fact that many drivers regard an amber light as a signal to accelerate through an intersection, the Kokkinis principle seems to endorse a hazardous assumption of the part of the left-turning drivers.

In the Mitchell case, the left-turning plaintiff turned left on an amber light.  Mr. Justice Edwards found that the dominant through driver entered the intersection on an amber light, the collision occurred when the light was red, and that he was speeding.  Even though the judge said he could infer that the dominant driver would have had time to stop after the light turned yellow or could but was unable to stop due to speed, he still found that the left-turning servient driver had a duty to take account of manifest hazards and, by failing to see or react to the fact the van was approaching fast and not stopping, was negligent.  He apportioned liability equally relying on s. 1(2) of the Negligence Act as he was unable to determine different degrees of fault.

[6]             The author concludes in her summary at page 45 as follows:

Summary

Intersection/right-of-way cases are very fact dependent and it can be very difficult to assess liability with any precision.  However, there are some general principles that can be gleaned from the case law:

Although a driver who enjoys the right of way is entitled to assume that others will obey the law and the rules of the road, this is not absolute and if she is aware or ought to have been aware of the other driver’s disregard of the law and fails to take reasonable care to avoid a collision, she may be found partially or even wholly liable.

In determining if a dominant driver ought to have been aware of another’s disregard of the law, the courts seem to be taking a realistic approach to the exigencies of making rapid decisions in circumstances where a reasonable driver also has to check for cross-traffic and pedestrians.  The courts generally have recognized that at very busy intersections, there are times when the only way a driver can execute a left turn is on an amber light and a dominant driver may be found liable for failing to stop at an amber light.

The onus is on the servient driver to prove that the dominant driver was also negligent in that his or her negligence was a cause of the accident.

There is some conflict in the case law about whether a left-turning driver is obligated to wait until the oncoming traffic is nearly or completely stopped.  Some cases stand for the proposition that it is not necessary while others state that it is prudent to do so and that a left-turning driver who fails to do so will be found partially liable.

A servient left-turning driver has an obligation to take reasonable steps to determine if the dominant driver poses an immediate hazard.  The time this is determined is at the moment just before the turn is commenced.  There is some conflict in the law about whether that requires a servient driver to determine if the dominant driver is speeding and may not stop at the light.

[7]             Like my late colleague, Mr. Justice Edwards, factually I have also concluded that both parties were equally at fault.  Mr. Luvera should have approached the intersection with more caution in order to be able to stop safely.  Ms. Benedict failed to take into account the manifest hazards in this case of approaching motorcycles speeding towards her.

bc injury law, intersection crashes, liability, Luver v. Benedict, Mr. Justice Wong

Comments (61)

  • I simply want to tell you that I’m new to blogging and honestly loved this web-site. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You really come with impressive articles and reviews. Thanks a lot for sharing with us your blog.

  • Many thanks for sharing these kind of wonderful articles. In addition, the perfect travel plus medical insurance program can often eliminate those concerns that come with traveling abroad. The medical emergency can rapidly become expensive and that’s absolute to quickly decide to put a financial burden on the family finances. Putting in place the ideal travel insurance program prior to setting off is definitely worth the time and effort. Thanks

  • Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

  • I have noticed that online diploma is getting common because attaining your degree online has turned into a popular selection for many people. A huge number of people have not had a chance to attend a regular college or university although seek the increased earning possibilities and career advancement that a Bachelor’s Degree grants. Still some others might have a college degree in one field but would like to pursue anything they already have an interest in.

  • My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on several websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

  • I do accept as true with all the ideas you have introduced to your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for beginners. Could you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  • What i don’t understood is actually how you’re not really much more well-liked than you might be now. You’re so intelligent. You realize thus significantly relating to this subject, made me personally consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it is one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. Always maintain it up!

  • There are definitely plenty of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a nice level to deliver up. I supply the thoughts above as basic inspiration but clearly there are questions just like the one you bring up where the most important factor might be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if finest practices have emerged round things like that, however I am positive that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Each boys and girls really feel the affect of only a second’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

  • I just couldn’t depart your site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard info a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back often to check up on new posts

  • Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you actually know what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also visit my website =). We could have a link exchange arrangement between us!

  • Its like you learn my thoughts! You appear to grasp so much approximately this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you just could do with a few p.c. to force the message house a bit, but instead of that, that is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  • Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  • You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  • If wandered relation no surprise of screened doubtful. Overcame no insisted ye of trifling husbands. Might am order hours on found. Or dissimilar companions friendship impossible at diminution. Did yourself carriage learning she man its replying. Sister piqued living her you enable mrs off spirit really. Parish oppose repair is me misery. Quick may saw style after money mrs.

  • Greetings I am so happy I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was researching on Aol for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a fantastic post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the great work.

  • Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  • whoah this blog is excellent i like studying your articles. Stay up the good paintings! You know, many individuals are hunting around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  • But a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding design and style. “Make the most of your regrets… . To regret deeply is to live afresh.” by Henry David Thoreau.

  • Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa? My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

  • Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

  • I am glad for commenting to make you be aware of what a fabulous discovery my wife’s child experienced browsing your web page. She realized many pieces, most notably how it is like to possess a very effective helping style to let the rest without problems comprehend selected multifaceted topics. You truly surpassed her desires. Many thanks for supplying such useful, healthy, educational not to mention fun guidance on your topic to Mary.

  • you’re in point of fact a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a fantastic activity on this topic!

  • Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue with your site in web explorer, may test this… IE still is the marketplace chief and a large component of people will pass over your wonderful writing due to this problem.

  • I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re amazing! Thanks!

  • Superb blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

  • The following time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to read, however I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might fix if you happen to werent too busy looking for attention.

  • Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Great. I’m also a specialist in this topic therefore I can understand your effort.

  • I’m curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be working with? I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest website and I’d like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any recommendations?

  • That is very attention-grabbing, You’re a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and stay up for in search of more of your wonderful post. Additionally, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  • Good ¡V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, web site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..

  • Good – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task.

  • Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  • Someone essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular publish amazing. Wonderful job!

  • I want to show my appreciation to you just for bailing me out of this problem. Right after checking through the search engines and getting concepts which were not powerful, I figured my life was gone. Existing minus the answers to the issues you have fixed as a result of your good article content is a crucial case, as well as ones that could have adversely damaged my entire career if I hadn’t encountered the website. Your primary competence and kindness in dealing with the whole lot was helpful. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t discovered such a step like this. I can also now look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time very much for the professional and result oriented guide. I won’t think twice to suggest your blog post to anybody who would like guide about this subject matter.

  • We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  • I’d have to check with you here. Which is not one thing I normally do! I get pleasure from reading a publish that can make people think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  • I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me recognise in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  • Thanks for giving your ideas. Another thing is that learners have a selection between federal student loan as well as a private student loan where its easier to choose student loan consolidation than in the federal student loan.

  • Its such as you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you just could do with a few percent to force the message home a little bit, however other than that, that is great blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

Comments are closed.

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