(Accident Reconstruction Software courtesy of SmartDraw)
Adding to this ever-growing database of BC motor vehicle liability cases, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Court of Appeal upholding a Jury Verdict dismissing an injury claim following an intersection crash.
In today’s case (Bailey v. Jang) the Plaintiff was driving in a restricted-traffic curb lane as she approached an intersection. At the same time the main lane in her direction of travel was backed up leaving a gap at the intersection. The Defendant tried to make a left hand turn through the gap and the vehicles collided. The Plaintiff sued for damages but her claim was dismissed with the Jury finding that the Defendant was not negligent. The Plaintiff’s appeal was also dismissed with the Court finding that the jury’s verdict was not unreasonable. In doing so the BC Court of Appeal provided the following reasons addressing some of the principles that come into play for crashes involving left-hand turning vehicles:
 Section 174 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, states:
Yielding right of way on left turn
174. When a vehicle is in an intersection and its driver intends to turn left, the driver must yield the right of way to traffic approaching from the opposite direction that is in the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard, but having yielded and given a signal as required by sections 171 and 172, the driver may turn the vehicle to the left, and traffic approaching the intersection from the opposite direction must yield the right of way to the vehicle making the left turn.
 Although, as asserted by the appellant, it is a logical corollary of the jury’s verdict that they concluded the appellant was 100% at fault for the accident, it is important to remember that the principal focus of this appeal is whether there was evidence on which the jury properly could have found that the respondent was not negligent.
 The appellant relies on Pacheco v. Robinson, (1993), 75 B.C.L.R. (2d) 273 para. 15 where this Court stated:
… the dominant driver who is proceeding through the intersection is generally entitled to continue and the servient left-turning driver must yield the right of way. The existence of a left-turning vehicle does not raise a presumption that something unexpected might happen and cast a duty on the dominant driver to take extra care. …
These comments were noted in Salaam v. Abramovic, 2009 BCSC 111 para. 26.
 The quotation of legal principle from Hiscox v. Armstrong, 2001 BCCA 258 and Pacheco is based on circumstances where the left-turning driver “proceeds through an intersection in complete disregard of his statutory duty to yield the right-of-way”. In Pacheco this Court found that the defendant “totally failed to determine whether [the] turn [could] be made safely”. In Salaam, the court held that the dominant driver “was there to be seen from 450 feet away” and that “[t]he plaintiff did not determine whether her turn could be done safely”. Such drivers cannot shift responsibility to the driver who has the right-of-way.
 Other cases relied on by the appellant show that a dominant driver is not without obligation. This was recognized in Pacheco wherein this Court distinguished a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal on the basis that “[t]here was no indication here that traffic on the left hand side of the plaintiff had stopped so that the plaintiff should have been alerted to a situation of potential danger”. An obligation on a dominant driver to take care was recognized in Berar v. Manhas,  B.C.J. No. 677, Reynolds. v. Weston,  B.C.J. No. 49, and Clark v. Stricker, 2001 BCSC 657.
 These cases illustrate the fact that a left-turning driver is not without rights as is clear from the wording of s. 174. Too often drivers proceed through an intersection as if left-turning drivers have no rights. In each situation, the specific circumstances dictate whether a left-turning driver is at fault for a collision, in whole, in part, or not at all.
When a Bus Driver is involved in an at-fault collision causing injury to the passengers a suit for damages can usually be brought. What if there is no collision but instead the bus driver makes an abrupt move causing injury to the passengers, can a suit succeed on these facts? Depending on the circumstances the answer is yes. Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing this area of the law.
In this week’s case (Habib v. Jack) the Plaintiff was injured while riding on a bus in Burnaby, BC. The Plaintiff testified that the driver went over a speed bump and that “her seat cushion slid out from under her and she became briefly airborne during which time her neck snapped forward and back“. The Court ultimately dismissed the lawsuit finding that the Defendant drove the bus appropriately. Prior to making this finding Madam Justice Ross provided the following useful discussion addressing this area of the law:
 The standard of care owed by a transit operator to a passenger was addressed in Day v. Toronto Transportation Commission,  S.C.R. 433. Justice Hudson described the duty as follow:
Although the carrier of passengers is not an insurer, yet if an accident occurs and the passenger is injured, there is a heavy burden on the defendant carrier to establish that he had used all due, proper and reasonable care and skill to avoid or prevent injury to the passenger. The care required is of a very high degree: 4 Hals., p. 60, paras. 92 and 95. In an old case of Jackson v. Tollett [(1817) 2 Starkie 37], the rule was stated by Lord Ellenborough, at p. 38, as follows:
Every person who contracts for the conveyance of others, is bound to use the utmost care and skill, and if, through any erroneous judgment on his part, any mischief is occasioned, he must answer for the consequences.
 In this province, Madam Justice Humphries summarized the principles to be applied in Lawson v. B.C. Transit, 2002 BCSC 1438, as follows at paragraph 18:
As set out in Wang v. Harrod, supra, once an accident has occurred, the defendant must meet the heavy burden of establishing that he used all proper and reasonable care and skill to avoid or prevent injury to the passenger. The standard of care imposed is the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent bus driver in the circumstances. The court must consider the experience of an average bus driver, as well as anything that the particular driver knew or should have known about the passenger. The standard of care required is higher when the driver knew or ought to have known that the passenger was handicapped or elderly.
 Mr. Justice Berger in Sawatsky v. Romanchuk,  B.C.J. No. 964 (S.C.) noted that:
…this is not a case where negligence has been established. I say that because, though the bus lurched as it started up, it was a lurch that she, as someone who had travelled on the buses for twenty years had experienced in the past. Anyone who travels on the buses must expect that from time to time the movement of the buses will not be smooth and uneventful. Lurches are part of the movement of these buses and something that the people who travel on the buses learn to expect. Accidents do happen. And there are bound to be some accidents on the bus system. And some of them, like this accident, will not give rise to a right to damages.
Madam Justice Ross goes on to cite about a dozen other cases dealing with Bus Passenger injuries in BC making this week’s case a good starting point in researching bus driver liability for injury to passengers.
Further to my recent post discussing this topic, Section 131(5) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act requires a driver approaching a flashing green light to travel with sufficient caution so they can bring their vehicle to a stop should it be necessary. Failure to do so could result in fault for a crash even if another motorist fails to yield the right of way. This was discussed in reasons for judgement released earlier this month by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In the recent case (Lutley v. Southern) the Defendant was attempting to cross Oak Street in Vancouver, BC. The Defendant was travelling on 67th Avenue. She had a stop sign in her direction of travel. At the intersection Oak Street had 6 lanes of travel. The Plaintiff was travelling in the lane furthest away from where the Defendant entered the intersection. As the Plaintiff approached the intersection she was faced with a flashing green light. Neither party saw each other’s vehicle until it was too late and a collision occurred.
(Accident Reconstruction Software courtesy of SmartDraw)
Mr. Justice Rice found both drivers at fault with the Defendant shouldering 60% of the blame. Although the Plaintiff entered the intersection on a green light she was found partly to blame for failing to comply with section 131 of the Motor Vehicle Act. In addressing the issue of fault Mr. Justice Rice provided the following reasons:
 By the Motor Vehicle Act, s. 131(5), a driver approaching a green flashing light at an intersection is obliged to slow down sufficiently to be able to stop before the intersection and avoid an accident. I find that the plaintiff was negligent and in breach of her statutory duties by failing to slow down sufficiently to be able to stop at the intersection. She could see that her vision of the intersection was obstructed and would continue to be obstructed practically until she had reached the intersection itself. She should have applied her brakes as soon as the obstruction appeared and come to practically a stop at or near the intersection.
 By the Motor Vehicle Act, ss. 125, 186 a driver approaching a stop sign must come to a full stop. There is also a general duty to drive safely, maintain a proper lookout, and not to proceed forward until it is safe to do so. I find that the defendant was negligent and in breach of her statutory duty in failing to maintain a proper lookout and by accelerating through the intersection when it was not safe to do so…
 In conclusion, I find that both drivers were negligent and in breach of duties imposed upon them pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318 at ss. 125, 141. I apportion liability at 60% to the defendant and 40% to the plaintiff.
It is not uncommon for motorcyclists to travel in a ‘staggered‘ formation when riding in groups. Typically one motorcyclist will travel within a few feet of the left of their lane of travel (the “A” position) with the following motorist travelling within a few feet of the right side of their lane of travel (the “C” position). This staggered position is used in part because section 194(4) of the BC Motor Vehicle Act prohibits motorcyclists from operating “their motorcycles side by side in the same direction in the same traffic lane“.
When travelling in groups of two it is important for the rear motorist to leave sufficient space between them and the lead motorist. Failing to do so could be negligent as was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry.
In last week’s case (Brooks-Martin v. Martin) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 collision in Saanich, BC. The Plaintiff was travelling in the “C” position behind a motorcycle operated by her husband who was travelling in the “A” position. Her husband unexpectedly cut in front of her. In trying to avoid a collision with her husband she lost control, fell down onto the road and was injured.
(Accident Reconstruction Software courtesy of SmartDraw)
She sued her husband for damages. Mr. Justice Halfyard found that the Defendant “cut in front of the plaintiff’s motorcycle and created an unreasonable risk to her safety.“. For this reason he was found legally responsible for the Plaintiff’s crash. The Plaintiff, however, was also found partially at fault and had her damages reduced by 30% as a result. In finding the Plaintiff partly at fault Mr. Justice Halfyard made the following observations:
 By reason of s. 194(4) of the Motor Vehicle Act, it is not unlawful for two motorcycle drivers to ride side-by-side in the same traffic lane. I accept that it is permissible and common practice among motorcycle riders to ride in their lane of travel in the A position and C position, and then come to a stop at approximately the same time, side-by-side. But in my view, s. 194(4) does not operate for or against the plaintiff in this case…
 I am satisfied that the plaintiff failed to take reasonable care for her own safety, in several respects. In my opinion, a motorcycle driver who possessed reasonable driving skills and who was exercising reasonable care for her own safety would not have been travelling in the C position only two motorcycle lengths behind a lead motorcycle in the A position, at a speed of 40 kph, when both riders were approaching the back end of a stopped pickup truck and when she was not more than 14.56 metres away from that truck (and when the lead motorcycle driver in the A position was closer to that truck and travelling at least as fast as she was).
 I find that when the defendant Martin steered in front of her, the plaintiff was driving without due care and attention and at a speed that was excessive relative to the road and traffic conditions, in relation to both her husband’s motorcycle and the stopped truck. That conduct was contrary to s. 144(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act and also constituted negligence.
 I find also that, at the time the defendant Martin steered in front of her, the plaintiff was following the defendant Martin’s motorcycle more closely than was reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speeds of the two motorcycles and the presence of the stopped pickup truck ahead of them. That conduct was contrary to s. 162(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act. I find that this conduct also constituted negligence on the part of the plaintiff.
 I am also satisfied that this driving conduct of the plaintiff in breach of the standard of care, was a cause of her losing control of her motorcycle. She put herself into a situation where the defendant Martin (before he swerved) was a potential hazard to her, and the stopped pickup truck was an actual hazard to her safety. If she had been travelling at a slower speed and at a greater distance behind the defendant Martin, and if she had slowed her motorcycle down sooner than she did, the plaintiff could have safely avoided the defendant Martin’s motorcycle and could have safely stopped behind the pickup truck. As it was, the plaintiff’s own negligent driving made it necessary for her to take emergency evasive action, which should not have been necessary. Taking that evasive action caused the plaintiff to lose control of her motorcycle, which resulted in her injury. I find that there was a substantial connection between the negligent driving of the plaintiff, and her injury. In my opinion, the evidence establishes on the balance of probabilities that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, addressing quantum and liability following a motorcycle accident.
In this week’s case (Langley v. Heppner) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2003 BC collision. The Plaintiff was operating a motorcycle and was following a vehicle operated by the Defendant. Both vehicles were behind a slow moving van. As the motorists approached a straight stretch of road both the Plaintiff and Defendant attempted to pass the van in the on-coming traffic lane. They did so at almost the same time resulting in a violent crash catapulting the Plaintiff about 60 feet.
Mr. Justice Barrow held that both motorists were at fault with the Defendant bearing 80% of the blame. Paragraphs 11-37 of the reasons for judgement are worth reviewing for the Courts discussion of liability.
The Plaintiff suffered various injuries. Most of these went on to heal however he was left with persistent neck and shoulder pain. Ultimately he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The limitations related to this were expected to continue to improve however there was a likelihood of long standing symptoms. Mr. Justice Barrow assessed the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) at $55,000. In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
 Turning to Mr. Langley’s injuries more generally, he suffered a number of bruises and abrasions which resolved unremarkably. His low back was sore, and although it remained sore and painful for a considerable time following the accident, it was asymptomatic by the time of the trial (six years post-accident). His most significant and persistent injury is to his right shoulder and the right side of his neck…
 I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the plaintiff has thoracic outlet syndrome and that it is a result of the motor vehicle accident…
 Mr. Langley’s right shoulder and right neck pain are the most significant consequence of the accident. I accept that he is always in some degree of discomfort in these areas. His level of discomfort increases when he becomes fatigued, but it is most seriously aggravated when he does any activity that involves lifting his right arm to or above shoulder level…
I am satisfied that Mr. Langley’s functional abilities will improve in some respects, although not to a significant degree…
 In view of all of the foregoing, an appropriate award for non?pecuniary damages is $55,000.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, addressing the issue of fault following a serious collision between a cyclist and a vehicle.
In today’s case (Ireland v. McKnight) the Plaintiff was a doctor who was involved in a “career-ending road traffic incident” in 2007. The Plaintiff was travelling southbound on his bicycle on Henderson Road. At the same time the Defendant passed the Plaintiff in the same direction of travel. At this time a collision between the bicycle and vehicle occurred.
The Court heard competing theories about how the collision occurred but ultimately found that the Plaintiff drove into the vehicle and was fully responsible for the crash. In dismissing the lawsuit Mr. Justice Wilson provided the following reasons:
 I find the defendants’ theory of how contact occurred to be the more plausible.
 I find the front wheel of the bike contacted the right rear quarter panel of the car, behind the right rear wheel well.
 If, as the plaintiff argues, the car was on a collision course with the bike, or failed to adjust sufficiently to avoid a collision course, then I find that the right front corner of the car would have struck the bike. The evidence does not support such a finding.
 I conclude that the plaintiff moved the bike to the left, concurrently with the turn of head in that direction. But for the plaintiff moving the bike, there would have been no contact between the bike and the car.
 I find the defendant driver passed the bike at a safe distance, and, on the evidence, that at least three-quarters of the car length had passed the bike before contact occurred.
 In result, I find the defendant driver not liable for the incident. It follows that the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant driver, pursuant to s. 86 of the Motor Vehicle Act, fails.
Accident reconstrucion experts routinely give evidence during BC personal injury lawsuits when fault for a motor vehicle crash is at issue. One subset of such expert evidence is “occupant dynamic” evidence which seeks to explain how a passenger would be thrown around following a collision. While this evidence can have some value at trial it is accompanied with certain shortcomings. These were discussed in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In this week’s case (Byer v. Mills) the Plaintiff was one of two occupants in a vehicle which was involved in an at-fault collision. The central issue at trial was who the driver of the vehicle was. The Plaintiff was badly injured and had no recollection of who was driving. The second occupant of the vehicle died shortly following the crash. There were no independent witnesses addressing who was driving at the time of the crash and the Court had to decide this issue relying on circumstantial evidence.
In the course of the trial the Court heard evidence from an ‘occupant dynamic‘ expert. Ultimatley Mr. Justice Harris dismissed the Plaintiff’s lawsuit finding that, on a balance of probabilities, he was likely the driver therefore he was at fault for his own injuries. This decision was most influenced by lay witness evidence and the occupant dynamic expert testimony was of little value in this particular case. Mr. Justice Harris provided the following short but useful comment addressing the shortcomings of occupant dynamic evidence:
 The principles of occupant dynamics are helpful up to a point. Certainly, they assist in identifying the principal direction of force exerted on occupants. They are also helpful in identifying the point at which an occupant might be expected to make initial contact with the interior of the passenger compartment. In my view, in the circumstances of this collision, the predictive value of principles of occupant dynamics rapidly diminishes once the movement of the passengers is affected by contact with the interior of the compartment and with each other. At that point the situation becomes inherently dynamic and fluid. There are far too many variables involved to make accurate predictions of how the occupants and parts of their bodies would move once they start hitting each other. It must be remembered that if unrestrained an occupant would be traveling within the compartment at a speed of about 55 km/h. I am sceptical that any reliable prediction of how the occupants would interact with each other, with the interior of the passenger compartment and move within it can be undertaken.
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, deciding the issue of fault for a two vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Tang v. Rodgers) the Plaintiff was travelling on West 33rd Avenue in Vancouver when he was struck by the Defendant’s vehicle. There was one lane in the Plaintiff’s direction of travel at the scene of the collision. The Plaintiff attempted a right hand turn into the driveway to his residence. At this time the Defendant was attempting to pass the Plaintiff’s vehicle on the right and a collision occurred.
There was conflicting evidence at trial but ultimately the Court found that both motorists were to blame. The Defendant was faulted for passing on the right when it was unsafe to do so. The Plaintiff was found 25% at fault for failing to engage his right hand turn signal in a timely fashion. In arriving at this apportionment Madam Justice Brown provided the following reasons:
 Section 158 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318, prohibits passing to the right in most circumstances. Mr. Rodgers was negligent in passing on the right without ensuring that it was safe to do so. Mr. Tang was moving slowly in the travel lane when Mr. Rodgers decided to pass. Mr. Rodgers did not know what Mr. Tang was doing and thought he was confused. Mr. Rodgers took a significant risk.
 Mr. Tang was also negligent. Section 167 of the Motor Vehicle Act provides that a driver of a vehicle must not turn the vehicle to the right from a highway at a place other than an intersection unless the driver causes the vehicle to approach the place as closely as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. Mr. Tang did not do so. Rather, as some drivers do, he placed his vehicle to the left before turning right. His vehicle was not as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway. Second, Mr. Tang did not shoulder check or look to his right before turning right. Finally, Mr. Tang only turned his right turn signal on immediately before the accident, which was too late to give warning to those behind him.
 The circumstances of this case are very similar to the circumstances that were before Mr. Justice Curtis in Boyes v. Mistal,  B.C.J. No. 1755, 1990 CanLII 528 (SC), aff’d 1992 CanLII 1954 (BCCA). There Mr. Justice Curtis said:
Mrs. Boyes did not give sufficient warning when she signalled. Like many drivers she signalled and turned almost simultaneously, too late to warn Mr. Mistal. Nor did Mrs. Boyes turn from as close as practicable to the right hand edge of the roadway, she turned when there was more than a car width to her right – thereby risking the sort of collision that did occur. Mrs. Boyes is at fault in the collision for these reasons.
I find Mr. Mistal’s fault to be the greater. Mrs. Boyes was occupying the only lane of travel, she never left her lane, and had a right to be there. Mr. Mistal chose to pass Mrs. Boyes when she slowed down on the basis of what he assumed was happening. She had not signalled and Mr. Mistal should have known that in choosing to pass a vehicle which was obviously intending some maneuver not yet signalled, in its own lane, he was taking a significant risk. I find Mr. Mistal to be 75% at fault and Mrs. Boyes 25%.
 I, too, conclude that Mr. Rodgers’ fault was the greater. I find Mr. Rodgers 75% at fault and Mr. Tang 25% at fault.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Penticton Registry, addressing the issue of fault for a single vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Bassi v. Bassi) the Plaintiffs were passengers in a vehicle driven by the Defendant. The Defendant lost control resulting in a roll-over crash. The passengers were injured and sued for compensation claiming the Defendant was careless. The Defendant argued that he was not and that he lost control due to a deer in the roadway. Mr. Justice Cullen found the Defendant entirely at fault for the crash and in doing so provided the following analysis:
 As I see it, the issue in the present case is whether the defendant’s explanation of the accident, involving as it does the mechanism of a deer running onto the highway from his left, neutralizes the inference that by leaving his lane of travel onto the right gravel shoulder, then crossing both lanes of the highway to the opposite gravel shoulder, and ultimately losing control of his vehicle and causing it to roll over involved negligent driving on his part. In my view, it does not. Although the deer running onto the highway presents a basis for an explanation that the accident could have happened without negligence, the explanation actually advanced by the defendant is inadequate to offset the inference that his negligence had a significant role in the accident.
 In the first place, there is no clear evidence where the deer was in relation to the defendant’s vehicle when he saw it or whether the action he took was the only or most effective way to evade the deer. The defendant said he swerved because he “got a little nervous.” It is unclear whether he was simply startled and overreacted or whether he took the only evasive manoeuvre open to him in the circumstances. There is simply no evidence of what actual crisis the defendant was confronted with or how imminent it was.
 Secondly, although the defendant asserts the deer came from his left from behind the bluff and he noticed it partway through the curve, it appears from the plaintiff Ms. Bassi’s uncontradicted pictures – and explanation that the defendant’s vehicle did not swerve off the road to the right until some distance past the corner down the straightaway which cast some doubt in the absence of the clearer evidence as to the nature and duration of the defendant’s reaction to seeing the deer or where he was when he reacted or where the deer was when he first saw it.
 Third, the defendant asserts, at least in his affidavit, that the reason he went across the highway to the left gravel shoulder was because “the turn in the highway was so sharp.” It is evident, however, from the defendant’s evidence on discovery and the photographs that the curve in the highway is not sharp, but is, in fact, quite gradual. Moreover, based on the uncontradicted photographs and affidavit of the defendant, Ms. Bassi, at the point where the van turned back onto the highway from the right gravel shoulder, it was well out of the curve and on the straightaway. There was no turn in the highway at all to cause the defendant to go “right across the highway and onto the left shoulder.”
 In his discovery, the defendant testified that when he tried to bring the van back onto the highway, “The turn was so sharp, it started going the other way right away on the other side of the highway.” It is not clear in that passage whether he was referencing the turn in the road or his own turn of the van in trying to bring the vehicle back onto the highway. Although he clarified that in his affidavit, his explanation appears quite at odds with the nature of the highway where he is said to have lost control and that significantly attenuates the value of his explanation because it fails to answer why he veered back across the highway to the opposite side.
 The defendant’s explanation also lacks any indication that he considered or attempted any other means of avoiding the accident such as by braking either when he first saw the deer or as he veered off the road to the right. There is no evidence of any skid marks, brake marks, distances, or reaction times that would aid in understanding how the accident took place or whether the defendant’s explanation could adequately account for what occurred.
 In my view, this is a case in which the plaintiffs have established a prima facie case of negligence and, while the defendant has offered an explanation of what occurred, it lacks cogent detail and is not sufficiently full, complete, or consistent with the existing conditions to neutralize the inference of negligence arising from the circumstances of the accident. In short, the defendant’s explanation does not adequately ground a non-negligence version of how and why he came to lose control of his vehicle.
 I conclude that all the circumstances, including the evidence that the defendant had not slept for nearly 24 hours and had driven for about four-and-a-half hours through the night before the accident occurred, establishes on a balance of balance of probabilities that the accident was a product of his negligence notwithstanding the explanation he advanced involving his reaction to seeing a deer coming onto the highway from his left. I, therefore, find liability in favour of the plaintiffs.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Court of Appeal dismissing ICBC’s appeal of judgment finding them liable for injuries caused during a 2004 “gas and dash” incident.
In today’s case (Nayar v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was the owner of a gas station. An unknown motorist fuelled her vehicle and attempted to drive away without paying. The Plaintiff confronted the unknown motorist and stood in front of her vehicle. The motorist then inched forward and revved her engine. The Plaintiff placed his palms on the hood of the vehicle at which time the motorist “accelerated to 100 kph while (the Plaintiff) lay on the hood of the vehicle, and then turned sharply, throwing him to the pavement“.
The Plaintiff could not ascertain the identity of the driver so he sued ICBC for compensation under section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. At trial ICBC argued that “the plaintiff is wholly to blame for his injuries“. Madam Justice Gropper disagreed finding ICBC liable to pay the Plaintiff damages. In doing so the Court made the following findings:
 It is unfortunate that the plaintiff placed himself in front of the Volkswagen, but Jane Doe was entirely at fault. The events and the injuries which the plaintiff sustained were due to Jane Doe’s blameworthiness. Even if the plaintiff should have followed the gas-and-dash instructions, and even if he went in front of the Volkswagen, and even if he made a stop motion and placed his hands on the hood of the Volkswagen, the blameworthiness or fault which caused the plaintiff’s injuries were the actions of Jane Doe.
 Unfortunately, since the date of this incident, another gas attendant not following the gas-and-dash instructions was dragged to his death by a customer who did not pay for his gas purchase. The Legislature has responded by implementing a system where customers must pre-pay for their gas purchases. This is a much more infallible gas-and-dash avoidance procedure.
 In the result, I find Jane Doe to be solely responsible for the event which occurred and the plaintiff’s injuries which resulted.
 Judgment is therefore entered against the nominal defendant, ICBC.
ICBC appealed this finding although the appeal was dismissed for lack of timely prosecution. ICBC Applied to reinstate the appeal but this failed as well with the BC High Court finding that ICBC’s appeal was ‘doomed to failure’. The Court of Appeal provided the following useful reasons:
 I am unable to see any error in principle in the reasons expressed for dismissing the application to reinstate the appeal. In my view, it is clear Groberman J.A. considered each of the criteria that govern the kind of application that was before him. As he stated, it was not for him to assess whether the appeal would succeed or fail save for the very limited purpose of deciding whether it was appropriate to reinstate it. That required him to consider the merit in the one ground of the appeal advanced. Having done so, he determined it was insufficient to justify reinstatement, which was the issue before him. That was his determination to make. I see nothing inconsistent in his effectively characterizing the merits of the appeal as being so very weak as to render the appeal doomed to failure. For the purpose of considering reinstatement, he did not have to decide there was absolutely no merit in the appeal to conclude it was doomed, only that there was insufficient merit to justify its being reinstated.