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Judge Finds Driver Running Red Light to Blame for Collision at Intersection in ICBC Case

In the recently published case of Chang v. Alcuaz, 2011 BCSC 843, Mr. Justice McEwan considered which of the parties involved in the proceeding was at fault for causing an accident at the intersection at 33rd Ave. and Main St. in Vancouver.  The intersection in question was controlled by a traffic light.  Both the Plaintiff and the Defendant claimed they had a green light as they entered the intersection.

Witnesses Key in ICBC Injury Case

Key to the Court’s decision that the Plaintiff ran a red light and caused the accident, was the evidence of various witnesses.  The Plaintiff’s evidence was thrown into doubt due to the fact that she was unconscious following the crash and because of a statement made to her doctor to the effect that she had no memory of the accident at all.  The evidence of the Plaintiff’s witness (a co-worker who testified that she was following the Plaintiff in her own car) was also called into doubt because neither of the witnesses who observed the “entire incident” noted any other vehicle near the scene of the accident.

In considering the duty of a driver approaching a green light at an intersection, Mr. Justice McEwan said the following:

[47]         There is simply no reliable evidence that the defendant did anything other than assume that others would obey the rules of the road.  Particularly where there is no apparent potential hazard (as there often is in the case of left turning traffic, for example) drivers are entitled to that assumption.  A driver who runs a red light on a city street with buildings obscuring all but the last few meters of the intersecting roadway may leave the other operator very little opportunity to avoid a collision.  That is what occurred in this case.  The plaintiff ran a red light and the defendant was not in a position to react in time to avoid a collision, in circumstance where that lack of opportunity was not attributable to any want of care on his part.
[48]         The plaintiff is, therefore, solely responsible for the collision and the action is dismissed.
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