Motorist Ordered To Pay $34,980 in Damages Following “Road Rage Incident”
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, ordering a motorist to pay almost $35,000 in damages after striking another motorist in the face.
In today’s case (Henderson v. McGregor) the parties were both operating motor vehicle moving in the same direction of travel. The Plaintiff was concerned that the Defendant was not paying adequate attention. The vehicles stopped close to each other and the Plaintiff exited his vehicle and approached the Defendant. The Defendant “struck him without warning, grabbing and scratching his face causing lacerations and bruising and drew blood.”.
The Court found the Defendant liable for the torts of assault and battery and ordered damages just shy of $35,ooo to be paid including $2,000 in aggravated damages. Mr. Justice Walker provided the following findings regarding liability:
 I accept that Mr. Henderson believes he was calm and non-threatening when he approached Ms. McGregor’s vehicle. I also find that Ms. McGregor was surprised to see Mr. Henderson walking toward her vehicle.
 That said, Ms. McGregor committed an unprovoked assault and battery on Mr. Henderson (I will refer to both collectively as an assault). She struck him without warning, grabbing and scratching his face causing lacerations and bruising and drew blood.
 Mr. Henderson conceded in submissions that with the benefit of hindsight he should not have approached Ms. McGregor’s vehicle. However, that does not provide Ms. McGregor with a defence.
 Her submission that she acted in self-defence is without merit. She has not met the onus to establish self-defence: Mann v. Balaban,  S.C.R. 74 at 87. She has not established that she perceived an imminent attack. Without provocation, Ms. McGregor hit and grabbed Mr. Henderson’s face, scratching his skin with such force to cause lacerations, bleeding, bruising, and swelling.
 Even if Ms. McGregor felt threatened and perceived an imminent attack, which I do not accept she did, in exercising her right of self-defence, she must use only such force as on reasonable grounds she believes is necessary for her defence. The nature of the injuries suffered is not necessarily indicative of whether the force was reasonable. The issue is informed by the facts and circumstances of each case, including the nature and seriousness of the threatened attack. Here, the force Ms. McGregor used was not reasonable in the circumstances: Buchy v. Villars, 2008 BCSC 385 at para. 112, aff’d 2009 BCCA 519; Provencher v. St. Paul’s Hospital, 2015 BCSC 916 at paras. 45-46.