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NEGLIGENCE - Apportionment of liability - Motor vehicles - Rules of the road

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 @ 6:31 AM  

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Appeal by the defendant from a trial judgment finding her 90 per cent liable for a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred at an uncontrolled intersection. The appellant was driving on a three-lane street in the curb lane. The other two lanes of traffic had stopped just before the intersection. The appellant continued through the intersection, thereby colliding with the respondent’s vehicle making a left-hand turn. Neither driver saw the other vehicle. The trial judge found that the respondent negligent for not seeing the appellant’s vehicle. The trial judge found the appellant had a positive obligation to be aware of all her surroundings and that she did not see respondent’s vehicle because she was not paying attention to what was happening on her left. She found the appellant should have approached the intersection with caution at a reduced speed. The appellant argued the trial judge allocated fault in a manner that was grossly disproportionate to an appropriate allocation when the respondent breached the higher legal standard of care and neither party saw the other until the moment of collision.

HELD: Appeal allowed. In considering the nature and extent of the departure from the respective standards of care of each of the parties, the respondent’s conduct was clearly more blameworthy. The trial judge’s apportionment of fault was grossly disproportionate to the apportionment the Appeal Court would have made. The appellant’s liability was reduced to 40 per cent.

Randhawa v. Evans, [2020] B.C.J. No. 1651, British Columbia Court of Appeal, H. Groberman, R. Goepel and B. Fisher JJ.A., October 27, 2020. Digest No. TLD-November232020006