Rear-Ended Motorist Found 75% at Fault for Stopping for "No Apparent Reason"


As I’ve previously written, If a vehicle is involved in a rear-end collision the rear motorist is usually found 100% at fault.  There are exceptions to this general rule, however, and one such exception was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry.
In today’s case (Yacub v. Chipman) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2007 collision in Surrey, BC.  Her vehicle was rear-ended by a truck driven by the Defendant.  She sued for damages and the Court was asked to decide who was at fault.
The Court heard different versions of how the collision occurred but ultimately found that as the Plaintiff entered an intersection she stopped for “no apparent reason” and was then rear-ended by the Defendant.  Mr. Justice Truscott found the Plaintiff was 75% to blame for this crash.  In coming to this finding the Court provided the following reasons:

[44]         I accept the evidence of these same two witnesses as well that the plaintiff told Mr. Chipman she had stopped in the middle of the intersection out of concern that a vehicle about to left turn was going to do so in front of her.

[45]         Unfortunately the plaintiff herself does not give this as a reason for her stopping in the middle of the intersection and there is no evidence of any vehicle proposing to turn left making any movement to do so that would support any concern that she might have had in that regard.

[46]         In the absence of any such evidence she is not able to meet the requirement of s. 189(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act that she did so to avoid conflict with traffic and I must conclude that she violated s. 189(1)(c) in stopping in the middle of the intersection for no apparent reason.

[47]         This breach also puts her in violation of s. 144(1)(a) and (b) in driving without due care and attention and without reasonable consideration for Mr. Chipman using the highway behind her.

[48]         I accept the evidence of Ms. Hallett that Mr. Chipman was only about one car length behind the plaintiff’s vehicle as the plaintiff’s vehicle entered the intersection…

[51]         Accordingly I conclude that as Mr. Chipman entered the intersection he was following more closely than was reasonable and prudent having regard to the speed of the two vehicles contrary to s. 162(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

[52]         This also put him in breach of s. 144(1)(a) and (b) for the same reasons.

[53]         In my view the fair conclusion from these findings is that liability should be apportioned against the plaintiff 75% and against the defendant 25% and an order will go to that effect. The plaintiff’s liability is greater because Mr. Chipman would have no reason to think she would stop in the middle of the intersection while the plaintiff had to know that this would be unexpected to following traffic.

bc injury law, fault, following too close, liability, Mr. Justice Truscott, rear end collisions, rear end crashes, Yacub v. Chipman

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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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