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Motorist Who Had Seizure At Fault For Crash for Failing to Take Medication

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, finding a motorist solely liable for a multiple vehicle collision after losing control due to a seizure.  While there can sometimes be no negligence in such a case here the Court found the Defendant failed to take prescribed medication and it was negligent for him to be operating his vehicle in the circumstances.

In today’s case (Goronzy v. Mcdonald) the Defendant was driving northbound across a bridge. Before reaching the crest of the south side of the bridge, he suffered a grand mal seizure, crossed through the yellow plastic pylons that separated the north and south bound lanes, and struck a taxi, as it travelled southward in the left lane.

It was alleged that the Defendant  was not taking his medication contrary to medical advice and should have known he should not have been driving and should have foreseen a grand mal seizure.  The Court agreed.  In finding him liable for the crash Madam Justice Humphries provided the following reasons:

[147]    There is no question that Mr. McDonald was negligent and is at fault for the collisions. He knew he should be taking his medication. He was warned that he should not be driving if he was not fully compliant with his medication. Yet he drove, particularly on a day when he had already had a focal seizure. It seemed during his testimony that Mr. McDonald was not overly concerned with the accident; it was the effect of the accident on his appreciation of the seriousness of his condition that pre-occupied him.

[148]    It is unnecessary to repeat the arguments made by the plaintiffs. I accept that Mr. McDonald should not have been driving, and knew or should have known he should not have been driving. Had he been compliant with his medication, it is unlikely that he would have had the grand mal seizure. In fact, Dr. Woolfenden was prepared to go further and say he would not have had such a seizure, had he been properly medicated. The accident would not have occurred.

[149]    Mr. McDonald is at fault for both collisions.

bc injury law, failure to take medication, Goronzy v. McDonald, inevitable accident, Madam Justice Humphries, no negligence, seizure