Tag: negligence

Martial Arts Student Waiver Held Not To Extend to Injuries Sustained in a Tournament

Post originally published here on my other legal blog combatsportslaw.com 
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Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, allowing a lawsuit against a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor to proceed for injuries a student sustained in a tournament.
In the recent case (Peters v. Soares) the Plaintiff was a student of the defendant’s BJJ academy.  The Plaintiff participated in a tournament where he sustained injury.  He sued for damages alleging his instructor was negligent in allowing him “to compete against a participant in a higher weight class and in a competition where stand up skills were required….(when the plaintiff) had no experience or training in stand up skills“.
As part of the plaintiff’s BJJ membership agreement he signed a waiver agreeing not to sue for injuries “in connection with my participating in the Classes“.  The Defendant argued that this waiver should be upheld and the lawsuit dismissed.  The Court disagreed noting that a waiver must be interpreted as only covering “matters specifically in the contemplation of the parties at the time the release was given“.  Using this test the court found the waiver for injuries in classes could not extent to a tournament.  In reaching this conclusion Madam Justice Matthews provided the following reasons:

[24]         Mr. Soares argues that because Mr. Peters’ claim of negligence is that the defendants knew he had no standing skills training, his claim arises from or is connected with his participation in the classes.

[25]         I do not accept that argument. Mr. Peters’ claim asserts a duty of care owed in relation to the competition, not the classes. While Mr. Peters alleges that Mr. Soares and Carlson Gracie knew his ability and training did not extend to standing skills and standing skills were required for the competition, it is not the training or lack of it that he asserts was negligent; it is inviting him to participate in the competition given what they knew about his training or lack of it. It is likely that at a trial of the negligence issue, Mr. Peters will seek to prove that the defendants’ had knowledge of his lack of standing skills training at least in part because of their interaction during the classes, but that is not the same thing as alleging negligence in relation to or arising from the classes.

[26]         In addition, there is no evidence that the competition was in Mr. Peters’ contemplation at the time he signed the membership agreement, and so there is no factual basis on which to find that Mr. Peters contemplated that the waiver provisions of the membership agreement would apply to the competition. The membership agreement was signed on September 23, 2015. Mr. Peters signed up for the competition on May 13 or 14, 2016, two weeks before he participated in it. There is no evidence that Mr. Peters was aware of or contemplated participating in the competition at the time he signed the membership agreement.

[27]         Mr. Soares has not led evidence that he had the competition in contemplation when Mr. Peters signed the membership agreement. In his affidavit, Mr. Soares described the waiver terms of the membership agreement. All of Mr. Soares’ evidence about the membership agreement and its waiver terms specifically reference the classes. He does not reference the competition at all when deposing about the waiver terms of the membership agreement.

[28]         I find that neither Mr. Peters nor Mr. Soares had the competition in contemplation when Mr. Peters signed the membership agreement.

[29]         The first Tercon inquiry is answered in the negative. The membership agreement waiver does not relate to Mr. Peters’ claim regarding the injuries he allegedly sustained in the competition and so cannot exclude Mr. Peters’ claim.

Single Vehicle Leaving Roadway With No Reasonable Explanation Sufficient to Prove Negligence

Two cases were recently released by the BC Supreme Court addressing negligence in the face of single vehicle collisions involving vehicles leaving the roadway.
In the first case (McKenzie v. Mills) the Plaintiff was injured when she was the passenger in a vehicle the left the roadway.  The Plaintiff had no recall of how the collision occurred.  The Defendant disputed liability arguing there was no sufficient evidence to prove the collision was caused by negligence.  Madam Justice Dorgan disagreed finding that absent a sensible explanation by the Defendant negligence could be inferred.  In so concluding the Court provided the following reasons:
[30]         Crossing the oncoming traffic lane and even losing control to the point of rolling the vehicle does not necessarily give rise to an inference of negligence; in other words, it is not determinative of the issue of liability.  See Benoit v. Farrell Estate, 2004 BCCA 348 where Smith J.A., writing for the court, says at para. 77:
The question whether negligence should be inferred when a motor vehicle has left its proper lane of travel usually arises in cases, like Fontaine, where the driver of the vehicle is sued by a plaintiff injured in the accident.  In such cases, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof.  The inference that a vehicle does not normally leave its proper lane in the absence of negligence by its operator may afford a prima facie case but, if the defendant driver produces a reasonable explanation that is as consistent with no negligence as with negligence, the inference will be neutralized:  see paras. 23-24.
[31]         However, in this case, neither the defendant nor the third party offered evidence of explanation of the cause or circumstances of the accident.  The defendant left her lane of travel (northbound), crossed over the oncoming lane (southbound), and rolled the truck which was found in the ditch of the southbound lane.  The defendant was intoxicated at the scene; she was given a 24-hour driving prohibition as a result; and was charged with driving while subject to a driving restriction.  While her level of intoxication at the scene is not direct evidence of intoxication while driving, there is no evidence of the defendant, or the plaintiff for that matter, drinking after the accident and before the police arrived.  The only reasonable inference to draw is that the defendant was driving while drunk.
[32]         I have concluded the only reasonable inference to draw from the whole of the evidence is that the plaintiff has established a prima facie case of negligence against the defendant.  The defendant offers no evidence of explanation; therefore, the plaintiff has proved liability.
In the second case (Garneau v. Izatt-Sill) the vehicle left the roadway.  There were no witnesses and two of the vehicles occupants were killed due to the forces of the crash.  The Plaintiff, the sole survivor, had no recall of what occurred.   The Court found that in the circumstances a finding of negligence was warranted with Mr. Justice Weatherill providing the following reasons:
[100]     The evidence leads overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the driver of the vehicle was negligent and that his negligence caused the crash.  The posted speed limit was 110 kph.  The vehicle was travelling in excess of 130 kph at the time of the accident.  As Sgt. Nightingale put it, the crash was caused by speed and the driver’s inattentiveness.  I accept this evidence.  Mr. Bowler agreed that there was no indication of anything mechanically wrong with the vehicle that would have caused or contributed to the crash and that the crash was consistent with driver inattention. 
[101]     In such circumstances, negligence can be inferred: Nason v. Nunes, 2008 BCCA 203 at para. 8.  The defendants led no evidence to the contrary.  

Crashes and Winter Driving Conditions: Take Care to Be Accurate When Calling ICBC


With the first heavy snow of 2012 hitting the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria comes the expected increase in motor vehicle collisions.  With this in mind I’m republishing a post I originally wrote in the early days of this blog reminding injured passengers of the consequences of minimizing details of wrongdoing when reporting a collision to ICBC:
Snow in BC has two reliable results 1. Car Accidents, 2. Phone calls to ICBC and lawyers about those car accidents. The second is particularly true in Victoria and Vancouver because of the local populations relative inexperience dealing with winter driving conditions.
In anticipation of the almost certain phone calls I will receive this week I write this post.
If you are the driver involved in a single vehicle accident in British Columbia, and you lost control due to the weather, all you can likely claim from ICBC are Part 7 Benefits. There is (except in some unusually peculiar situations such as an ICBC insured driver contributing to the road hazards) in all likelihood no claim from ICBC for pain and suffering and other losses in these circumstances.  Your right to claim pain and suffering and other “tort” damages only arises if someone else is at fault for your injuries. In single vehicle accidents drivers usually only have themselves or the weather to blame.
If someone else contributed to the accident (perhaps the road maintenance company for failing to act in a timely fashion or perhaps a mechanic for failing to bring your vehicle up to snuff last time you had it inspected) you will have to make a claim against them. Chances are they are not insured through ICBC for such claims and instead you will have to claim against their policy of private insurance.
Now, if you are a passenger in a single vehicle, weather related accident, and your driver did not operate the vehicle safely in all the circumstances (for example driving too fast for the known or anticipated poor road conditions) and this caused or contributed to the collision then you can bring a tort claim against them in addition to claiming your Part 7 Benefits.
If you are advancing a tort claim against a driver be weary of the defence of “inevitable accident”. ICBC defends claims. One of the best defences to a weather related accident is that it was “inevitable”. What this means is that the driver, operating safely, could not have avoided losing control of his vehicle. If this can be proven then the tort claim can be defeated.
People naturally don’t want to get those known to them in trouble and it is all too common for passengers reporting such a claim to ICBC to readily agree to how unexpected the accident was and how the driver was operating the vehicle very carefully. If this is true that’s fine. My words of caution are as follows: If the driver was not careful and you give ICBC the alternate impression with a view towards helping the driver out, your statement may severely damage your ability to bring a tort claim.
Tell the truth and know what’s at stake when doing so. If ICBC gets the false impression that an accident was inevitable you will have a much harder time advancing or settling your tort claim.
The bottom line is this: If an accident truly is inevitable and there is no tort claim so be it, but, don’t lead ICBC to this conclusion if it isn’t true. Doing so will harm your claim for lawful compensation.

Supreme Court of Canada To Address The Law of Causation in Injury Lawsuits

(UPDATE June 29, 2012the below decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in reasons for judgement released today.  You can click here to read the Supreme Court of Canada’s reasons)

Last year the BC Court of Appeal provided reasons for judgement in Clements v. Clements in which they tried to clarify the law of causation
In short the BC Court of Appeal provided the following summary of the law of causation in BC negligence lawsuits:

[63]         In summary, having regard to the over-arching policy that the material-contribution test is available only when a denial of liability under the but-for test would offend basic notions of fairness and justice, I agree with the following statement made by Professor Knutsen in setting out his conclusions (at 187):

g)         The “but for” test rarely fails, and currently only in situations involving circular causation and dependency causation:

1)         Circular causation involves factual situations where it is impossible for the plaintiff to prove which one of two or more possible tortious causes are the cause of the plaintiff’s harm;

2)         Dependency causation involves factual situations where it is impossible for the plaintiff to prove if a third party would have taken some action in the face of a defendant’s negligence and such third party’s action would have facilitated harm to the plaintiff;

h)         If the “but for” test fails, the plaintiff must meet two pre-conditions to utilize the material contribution test for causation:

1)         It must be impossible for the plaintiff to prove causation (either due to circular or dependency causation); and,

2)         The plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant breached the standard of care, exposed the plaintiff to an unreasonable risk of injury, and the plaintiff must have suffered that type of injury.

Today the Supreme Court of Canada granted the Plaintiff leave to appeal (permission to appeal).  Clarity in this area of personal injury law will be welcomed by lawyers across Canada and I’ll be sure to report on this case once reasons for judgement are handed down.

BC Government Shielded From Liability in "Shaken Baby" Lawsuit

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, discussing when a government authority can be pursued for damages for the negligent excercise of their powers.
In last week’s case (Sivertson (Guardian ad litem of) v. Dutrisac) the infant Plaintiff was brain injured allegedly “while in the care of…a licensed daycare ‘Kare Bare Child Care’ “.  The Plaintiff sued various Defendants including the Capital Health Region “CHR” who were responsible for licensing the Daycare in question.
The CHR brought an application to dismiss the lawsuit against them arguing that even if they inadequately exercised their duties the lawsuit could not succeed because the CHR did not owe the Plaintiff a ‘private law duty of care‘.  Madam Justice Boyd agreed and dismissed the lawsuit against the CHR.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
[51] The overall statutory scheme governing the licensing of daycare facilities provides an efficient framework to ensure the operation of community care facilities “in a manner that will maintain the spirit, dignity and individuality of the person being cared for “(s. 4(1)(a)(i)). …

[57] As in the Cooper decision, the CHR and its inspectors must balance a myriad of competing interests when dealing with the licensing and inspection of daycares, including the daycare owner’s interest in the continued operation of her business and the parents’ and the public’s interest in the protection of children in the care of the daycare owner.

[58] In my view, this balancing of interests is inconsistent with the imposition of a private duty of care.  Thus, on a review of all of the authorities, and a consideration of the legislation in issue, I reject the notion that any private law duty of care was owed by the CHR (and its employees) to the infant plaintiff and his family.

[59] If however I am in error, and it is found that such a private duty of law does arise in the circumstances of this case, then I nevertheless find that the application of the second stage of theAnns test yields no different result.  As the Ontario Court of Appeal held in Williams v. Canada (Attorney General), 2009 ONCA 378, at para. 17, at the second stage :

…the court considers whether there are “residual policy considerations” that militate against recognizing a novel duty of care.  …These are policy considerations that “are not concerned with the relationship between the parties, but with the effect of recognizing a duty of care on other legal obligations, the legal system and society more generally”.

[60] In my view, any private law duty of care which may arise in this case would be negated for overriding policy reasons as in the Cooper case.  This is because (i) the licensing officers were exercising both policy and quasi-judicial functions such that any decision required the balancing of both public and private interests.  The Director must act fairly or judicially in removing an operator’s license and this is potentially inconsistent with a duty of care to children and families; (ii) the Director must make difficult discretionary decisions in an area of public policy.  His decisions are made within the limits of the powers conferred on him in the public interest; and (iii) if there was a private duty of care owed by the Director to the children and parents, it would effectively create an insurance scheme for all those children attending licensed daycares within the Province, at great costs to the taxpaying public.  As the Court held in Edwards, there is no indication here that the Legislature intended that result.  Indeed the statutory immunity from liability provision suggests the contrary.

Affidavits and Exhibits: Take Care To Review the Whole of the Evidence


Once evidence is introduced at trial it is fair game for the finder of fact to rely on it even if the party that introduced it opposes this result.  Useful reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Kelowna Registry, illustrating this fact.
In this week’s case (Chow-Hidasi v. Hidasi) the Plaintiff was injured in a single vehicle accident.  She was a passenger and sued the driver claiming he was at fault for losing control for “overdriving the road conditions“.  The Defendant argued that he lost control because he experienced a sudden and unexpected mechanical failure and could not avoid the collision.  Ultimately this explanation was accepted and the Plaintiff’s lawsuit was dismissed.  Prior to reaching this conclusion the Court ruled on an interesting evidentiary issue.
The trial was a “summary trial” under Rule 9-7 in which the evidence is introduced through affidavits.  The Plaintiff’s lawyer’s legal assistant attached portions of the Defendant’s examination for discovery transcript as an exhibit to her affidavit.
The Plaintiff wished to only rely on portions of the reproduced transcript.  The Defendant decided to take advantage of other portions of his discovery evidence which was included in the affidavit.  The Plaintiff objected arguing that he introduced the evidence and only wished to rely on limited portions of it.  Mr. Justice Barrow rejected this argument finding once the evidence was introduced through the affidavit it was fair game for the defendant to rely on it.  The Court provided the following insightful reasons:

[6] The plaintiff objected to the admissibility of some of the examination for discovery evidence of Mr. Hidasi, evidence that Mr. Hidasi points to in support of his position. All of the impugned discovery evidence is exhibited to an affidavit of the plaintiff’s counsel’s legal assistant. As I understand the objection, it is that the questions in dispute were reproduced and exhibited to the legal assistant’s affidavit because they appear on pages of the transcript that contain other questions and answers which the plaintiff wishes to rely on. I pause to note that while that may be so, the affidavit itself does not contain a statement to that effect. On the first day of the hearing the plaintiff’s counsel provided the defendant with a list of specific discovery questions that he wished to rely on. The questions and answers to which objection is taken are not on that list.

[7] I am satisfied that the questions and answers are admissible, and that no prejudice inures to the plaintiff as a result. They are admissible because the plaintiff put them in evidence. As to the notice of the specific questions and answers the plaintiff wished to rely on, it does not alter of the foregoing. If it was intended to be a notice as contemplated by Rule 9-7(9), it was not filed within the time limited under Rule 8-1(8). It is therefore of no moment. As to the question of prejudice, the only reasonable inference to be drawn from the plaintiff’s notice of application is that the impugned evidence formed part of the plaintiff’s case. The defendant could have addressed the matters about which he gave evidence on discovery in his affidavit evidence. He may not have, I infer, because he concluded it was unnecessary given that the plaintiff had already put those matters into evidence. In any event, if the discovery evidence is excluded, fairness would require an adjournment to allow the defendant to supplement the evidence given the changed face of the evidentiary record he had reasonably thought would form the basis for the hearing. All that would have been accomplished in the result is that the evidence that is contained in the discovery answers would be before the court in the form of an affidavit.

This case is also worth reviewing for the Court’s discussion of the legal principle of ‘spoiliation’ at paragraphs 30-33 of the reasons for judgement.

Plaintiff Unsuccessfully Sues for Being Run Over By Car While Cleaning It


Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dismissing a personal injury lawsuit with a fairly unusual fact pattern.
In this week’s case (Biggan v. Fall) the plaintiff by counterclaim was employed as a housekeeper.  She was asked to clean her employers car so it could be prepared for sale.  The circumstances of the incident were as follows:

[8] She parked the car on the driveway and said she felt the rear wheels come in contact with the rock or piece of firewood.  She put the manual transmission in first gear, applied the hand brake and got out.  The car has an alarm system which sounds if the keys are left in the ignition, and as a result of hearing the chimes, she reached in, took the keys from the ignition, and placed them on the seat of the car.  She then started to walk back to the house to get some cleaning equipment.  She walked behind the car and as she did so, she noticed it was starting to roll backwards.  She moved out of the way and the car continued rolling backwards down the driveway towards the road.  Ms. Fall does not recall anything that happened after that point.

[9] When the car reached the Shawnigan-Mill Bay Road, it collided with the vehicles driven by Biggan and Leask.  The Biggan and Leask vehicles then collided with each other.  Although Ms. Fall does not recall doing so, it is apparent she ran beside the Scott vehicle as it rolled down the driveway.  A witness to the accident, Mr. Brian Mellings, observed her running beside the car and saw her become involved in the collision.  She somehow ended up under the Biggan vehicle and she suffered serious injuries.

She claimed the vehicle owner was liable for the crash pursuant to the Occupiers Liability Act.  Mr. Justice Bracken disagreed and dismissed the claim.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
[29] Ms. Fall says the Scotts, as occupiers of the premises, owed her a duty to take reasonable care to ensure she was reasonably safe in using the premises.  She argues the risk of the car rolling down the driveway and her action in running beside it in an attempt to gain control of the car was a foreseeable risk of moving the vehicle out onto the driveway in the first place.  Ms. Fall says the risk of the accident occurring as it did was a reasonably foreseeable risk that should have been anticipated by the Scotts and they are therefore liable for failing to warn her not to use or move the vehicle:  Rendell v. Ewert (1989), 38 B.C.L.R. (2d) 1 and Chretien v. Jensen, [1998] B.C.J. No. 2938…

[46] There is nothing to suggest either Lloyd Scott or Stewart Scott were aware of any defect in the motor vehicle, nor is there any evidence to establish that there was any defect in the vehicle that could have caused it to roll backwards down the driveway.  Finally, in reacting as she did by attempting to follow the vehicle down the driveway, she assumed all risk of the injury that in fact resulted.

[47] I am not able to find any breach of their duties under the Occupiers Liability Act by the Scotts and the action on Ms. Fall’s counterclaim is dismissed.  The Scotts are entitled to their costs.

Cyclist Found Fully At Fault For Collision With Vehicle


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:

[22]         I find the defendants’ theory of how contact occurred to be the more plausible.

[23]         I find the front wheel of the bike contacted the right rear quarter panel of the car, behind the right rear wheel well.

[24]         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.

[25]         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.

[26]         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.

[27]         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.

Back To Basics: Proving Fault in a BC Personal Injury Claim


When suing for damages as a result of a personal injury claim (specifically a Negligence claim) there are 3 basic matters that must be proven.  These were discussed in reasons for judgement released earlier this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry.
In this week’s case (Brooks-Martin v. Martin) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2005 motorcycle crash in Saanich, BC.  She lost control of her bike.  She claimed that another motorcyclist, who was travelling in front of her, swerved in front of her causing her crash.  She sued the other motorist and also a  company she alleged was responsible for failing to clean up gravel spilled onto the road which allegedly contributed to the crash.
At the close of the Plaintiff’s claim the Defendant brought a ‘no-evidence’ motion and asked the Court to dismiss the Plaintiff’s claim.  Mr. Justice Halfyard refused to do so and provided the following succinct reasons summarizing the law of no-evidence motions and the basic requirements of a successful lawsuit for negligence in British Columbia:
[5] The legal test that must be met by a defendant who makes a motion for non-suit has been stated many different ways by many different courts. Based on the authorities, I would state the rule in this way:  In order to succeed on a motion for non-suit, a defendant must persuade the court that there is no evidence which is capable of proving one of the essential elements of the cause of action alleged against the defendant. The court must not weigh evidence or attempt to make findings of fact or to assess credibility. If an inference which is essential to the plaintiff’s case would be “mere speculation,” the defendant’s “no evidence” motion should be granted. See Fenton v. Baldo 2001 BCCA 95 at paragraphs 25-26; Seiler v. Mutual Fire Insurance Co. 2003 BCCA 696 at paragraph 12; Craigdarloch Holdings Ltd. at paragraphs 14 and 30; and Tran v. Kim Le Holdings Ltd. 2010 BCCA 156 at paragraph 2….

[27]        A plaintiff who sues for damages for personal injury allegedly caused by the defendant’s negligence, must prove:

a)    That the defendant owed him or her a duty of care;

b)    That the defendant did an act or failed to do an act, which act or omission fell below the standard of care required of the defendant; and

c)    That the defendant’s said act or omission caused an accident (which caused injury to the plaintiff).

(See Linden & Feldthusen, Canadian Tort Law, 8th edition (2006), page 108)

[28]        In my opinion, there is some evidence which, if believed, could support findings of each and every essential element of the cause of action alleged against MacNutt. To my mind, none of the disputed inferences required to support the plaintiff’s case at this stage, would be “mere speculation.”

[29]        It was for these reasons that I dismissed MacNutt’s motion for non-suit.

Repost: Ice, Snow and Your ICBC Injury Claim


The first snow of the year is falling and with it will come the usual increase in motor vehicle accidents.  With this in mind I’m republishing a post I originally wrote in the early days of this blog:
Snow in BC has two reliable results 1. Car Accidents, 2. Phone calls to ICBC and lawyers about those car accidents. The second is particularly true in Victoria and Vancouver because of the local populations relative inexperience dealing with winter driving conditions.
In anticipation of the almost certain phone calls I will receive this week I write this post.
If you are the driver involved in a single vehicle accident in British Columbia, and you lost control due to the weather, all you can likely claim from ICBC are Part 7 Benefits. There is (except in some unusually peculiar situations such as an ICBC insured driver contributing to the road hazards) in all likelihood no claim from ICBC for pain and suffering and other losses in these circumstances.  Your right to claim pain and suffering and other “tort” damages only arises if someone else is at fault for your injuries. In single vehicle accidents drivers usually only have themselves or the weather to blame.
If someone else contributed to the accident (perhaps the road maintenance company for failing to act in a timely fashion or perhaps a mechanic for failing to bring your vehicle up to snuff last time you had it inspected) you will have to make a claim against them. Chances are they are not insured through ICBC for such claims and instead you will have to claim against their policy of private insurance.
Now, if you are a passenger in a single vehicle, weather related accident, and your driver did not operate the vehicle safely in all the circumstances (for example driving too fast for the known or anticipated poor road conditions) and this caused or contributed to the collision then you can bring a tort claim against them in addition to claiming your Part 7 Benefits.
If you are advancing a tort claim against a driver be weary of the defence of “inevitable accident”. ICBC defends claims. One of the best defences to a weather related accident is that it was “inevitable”. What this means is that the driver, operating safely, could not have avoided losing control of his vehicle. If this can be proven then the tort claim can be defeated.
People naturally don’t want to get those known to them in trouble and it is all too common for passengers reporting such a claim to ICBC to readily agree to how unexpected the accident was and how the driver was operating the vehicle very carefully. If this is true that’s fine. My words of caution are as follows: If the driver was not careful and you give ICBC the alternate impression with a view towards helping the driver out, your statement may severely damage your ability to bring a tort claim.
Tell the truth and know what’s at stake when doing so. If ICBC gets the false impression that an accident was inevitable you will have a much harder time advancing or settling your tort claim.
The bottom line is this: If an accident truly is inevitable and there is no tort claim so be it, but, don’t lead ICBC to this conclusion if it isn’t true. Doing so will harm your claim for lawful compensation.

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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!”
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