“I never saw the other vehicle before the crash” is rarely a satisfactory answer in absolving a party from liability. Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Court of Appeal discussing this principle finding that it is reversible legal error not to consider if a party is liable for failing to see something that is there to be seen.
In today’s case (Sharma v. Kandola) the Plaintiff was injured in a two vehicle collision. At the time she was in the process of making a U‑turn from the south to the north side of the street in a school zone. The Defendant, who was travelling behind her, attempted to pass her in the westbound lane. The vehicles collided. The Plaintiff never saw the Defendant prior to the crash.
At trial the Court found the Defendant fully liable for “travelling too close to Ms. Sharma’s car and driving too fast, he failed to keep a proper look out, and he was attempting to pass Ms. Sharma’s vehicle in the westbound lane, an activity prohibited in a school zone“.
The Defendant appealed. The BC Court of Appeal found that the Defendant was largely to blame but the plaintiff also bore some liability for failing to see the Defendant prior to the crash. In reaching this decision the Court provided the following reasons: