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$45,000 Awarded for Persistent Low & Mid Back Pain in ICBC Injury Case

In the recently reported case of Sinkaruk v. Crouch, 2011 BCSC 1762, Mr. Justice A. Saunders awarded $45,000 in non-pecuniary damages following a five day trial to a plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident in Langley in August 2006.


With respect to the plaintiff’s injuries the court found that the plaintiff was totally disabled from his job for five months due to injuries to his mid and low back. The court also found that the accident contributed to two episode of back pain in the spring of 2007 and intermittent episodes of back pain that went on until the end of 2009.


Plaintiff Held 20% at Fault in ICBC Injury Case


Liability for the accident was denied by the defendant. The accident occurred at an intersection in an industrial area of Langely. While the defendant entered the intersection on a red light and was speeding, the court found the plaintiff partially to blame for the accident for proceeding into the intersection in the face of an immediate hazard. In finding the plaintiff 20% at fault for the accident, Justice Saunders said the following:


[17] Section 176(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act, RSBC 1979 c. 318, states:


The driver of a vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from an alley, lane, driveway, building or private road must yield the right of way to traffic approaching on the highway so closely that it constitutes an immediate hazard.


[18] A breach of the Motor Vehicle Act is not in itself determinative of liability; all of the surrounding circumstances may be taken into account.


[19] The sequence of events is that the plaintiff stopped at the exit from the parking lot, looked to the left and observed the defendant, then looked to the right, and then looked ahead and saw the B-train moving forward from its stopped position. Had the plaintiff then looked to the left again, he would have had the same view as Mr. Whetstone and at that point would have appreciated that the defendant was not going to stop, as Mr. Whetstone did. At that point, immediately prior to the plaintiff entering the intersection, the defendant’s vehicle was an immediate hazard. The plaintiff ought then to have yielded to the defendant.


[21] The most probable explanation for what happened is that the defendant did not bother checking again because the light was red, and because his attention had been drawn to the B-Train, and he was determined to beat it through the intersection so that he would not have to wait and risk missing an opportunity to cross while traffic on 96th Ave. was stopped. If he had taken the time to look, the defendant’s vehicle would have been perceived by him as a hazard. I therefore find that there was some contributory negligence on the plaintiff’s part.


[22] However, the greater negligence, I find, rests with the defendant, who entered the intersection on a red light and who was speeding. The evidence also suggests that his rear brakes were not properly functioning.


[23] I assess the defendant’s liability at 80%.


(written by Charles D. Jago)Need help with your ICBC injury claim? Call us.

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