After a motor vehicle accident it is very important to gather the appropriate information in case of a he said/she said battle over legal responsibility or liability.

Assuming that you do not need emergency medical attention after the motor vehicle accident you should look at and record the other driver’s licence number, the licence plate of the vehicle that hit you as well as their insurance information. It is worth stressing the importance of verifying the other driver’s licence number and not just asking for their name. This will remove the chance of the other driver providing you with a phony name. Take a picture of the other vehicle (and licence plate), the other driver and the other driver’s licence.

Also, take pictures of the scene of the accident, which would include any damages to vehicles as well as the position of the vehicles after the accident. If there are any 3rd party witnesses, their information and identity should be recorded to provide their account of the accident if there is a battle over liability.

After the accident there are also different entities that you should contact. Right after the accident you should contact ICBC. At this initial contact you should provide ICBC with the information that you gathered at the scene of the accident. Also, it may be necessary to call the police after the accident. If it is a hit-and-run accident you must contact the police; by calling the police you create a record of the accident which can be of assistance later on in the ICBC process. Finally, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. The lawyer will act on your behalf, guide you through the legal process and ensure that you are appropriately compensated from the accident.

If you or someone you know has been in a car accident contact Heath Law LLP.

Once liability (or legal responsibility) for a motor vehicle accident has been determined the remaining question is the quantum or amount of damages to be awarded.  There are 5 different heads of damages that must be considered in arriving at the final amount: past wage loss, future wage loss, non-pecuniary damages, costs of future care and special damages.

The legal principle that governs the entire process of awarding damages is that, insofar as is possible, the plaintiff should be put in the position he or she would have been in but for the injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Past wage loss deals with the victim’s lost earnings from the accident up until the point of trial.  This amount is determined through employment records, medical records and any other relevant materials.

Future wage loss is a much more involved process.  Once again employment records and medical records will be relevant.  In addition, high school records, university records and your family history will be reviewed.  The Judge must consider how long you likely would have been able to work as well as how much money you likely would have earned but for the incident.  The Court must consider variables such as the likelihood of your early death, economic downturns and likelihood of another debilitating injury.

Non-pecuniary damages compensate a plaintiff for their pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life up to the date of the trial and in the future. The essential principle derived from the jurisprudence is that an award for non-pecuniary damages must be fair and reasonable to both parties and should be measured by the adverse impact of the particular injuries on the individual plaintiff.  This valuation is completely up to the discretion of the Court. Awards vary a great deal depending on the type of injury and the type of person that was injured.

Costs of future care are awarded on the basis of what is reasonably necessary to promote the mental and physical health of the plaintiff having regard to the medical evidence.  To determine the appropriate award the Court must be satisfied that there is a medical justification for claims of future care and the claims must be reasonable.

Special damages cover a person’s reasonable out-of-pocket expenses they incurred as a result of an accident.  The expenses claimed must be limited to those expenses which are restorative rather than putting the injured person in a better position than before the accident.

In British Columbia, all of the above heads of damages are added together and paid out to the injured party as a lump sum.

Passenger in a Motor Vehicle Collision

A passenger in a motor vehicle collision may experience significant injuries. These injuries may affect a person’s ability to work, go to school, perform household tasks, and his or her ability to engage in leisure activities. If you have suffered injuries as a passenger in a motor vehicle collision, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries and expenses, including compensation for loss of income, pain and suffering, and the cost of treatment. Generally, you must start a legal action within two years of suffering the injury.

Who to sue?

In some cases, the Court may determine that no one was at fault for the collision. An example of a no-fault collision may be where a deer has unexpectedly run out in front of a vehicle and the driver was not driving negligently when he or she hit the deer. In these circumstances, your lawsuit may not succeed and your only compensation may be the accident benefits available through your insurance company.

However, more commonly, someone is responsible for the collision. As a passenger in a vehicle, the driver of your vehicle or the driver of the other vehicle may have caused the collision or both drivers may be at fault. For this reason, in many cases, an injured passenger will sue both the driver of the vehicle in which they were a passenger and the driver of the other vehicle.

Although it may be uncomfortable to file a lawsuit against your friend or a family member who was driving the vehicle, that person will likely have insurance coverage that will respond to your claim. The driver’s insurance company will, in almost all cases, provide the driver with legal representation and will cover the amount your claim up to the limit of the driver’s insurance policy.

If you are found to be partially at fault

In some circumstances, a passenger may be partially to blame for the injuries he or she suffers. For example, if you did not wear your seatbelt or if you did so incorrectly, a Court may find that you were partly at fault for any injuries that you experienced. If the insurance company is able to establish that your injuries would have been less serious if you had been properly wearing a seat belt, the amount of your damages could be reduced.

Soft tissue injuries are a very common type of injury affecting muscles, ligaments and tendons. These injuries often arise from motor vehicle or slip and fall accidents and can, due to the potential for significant pain and discomfort, have a substantial effect on a person’s ability to function in their everyday life. Although soft tissue injuries can often resolve on their own, or with appropriate treatment, sometimes they can be long-lasting or permanent.

Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries

As soft tissue injuries can cause pain or discomfort, they can prevent a person from enjoying the same activities they had before the injury. A soft tissue injury may also affect a person’s ability to work, or the ability to work to the same extent as he or she had prior to the injury. People who are suffering from soft tissue injuries may be entitled to compensation for the effect the injury has on their lives. This may include compensation for lost wages, future earnings, pain and suffering, and any out-of-pocket expenses that the individual incurred to treat the injury.

Receiving Compensation for Soft Tissue Injuries

Although soft tissue injuries can be significant injuries, unlike broken bones or other visible injuries, they are often very difficult to prove. Often there are no observable signs of a soft tissue injury and the only person who can give evidence that there is such an injury is the person who has suffered the injury. For this reason, it is often beneficial to speak to a personal injury lawyer to help you present your case and determine what may be fair compensation for your injuries.

 

As the weather becomes colder, it is important to be aware of the increased risks that result from the accumulation of snow and ice. In Canada, property owners and occupants have a responsibility to act reasonably to remove snow and ice to ensure that their property is not slippery or otherwise unsafe. The responsibility to remove snow and ice extends to the walkways in front of the occupier’s home.

What happens if someone falls?

If a person slips or trips on snow or ice that accumulated due to the owner/occupier’s negligence in failing to keep the property safe, he or she may sue for damages to recover the losses suffered. In order for a person who suffers a slip and fall on ice or snow to prove that the owner/occupier was negligent, he or she must show that the conduct of the owner/occupier fell below the accepted standard for clearing snow and ice. People walking on snowy or icy surfaces are also expected to take reasonable care by walking carefully and wearing reasonable footwear. If a person who suffers a fall was not acting reasonably, a Court may find that he or she was contributorily negligent and may reduce any damages awarded.

Removal of Snow or Ice?

Ensuring that your property is free of ice and snow can be challenging during the winter months, particularly when temperatures are changing quickly. However, an owner/occupier must only act reasonably in the circumstances to ensure that his or her property is safe, which means clearing snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time. Determining what is reasonable will depend on a number of factors, including typical weather conditions in the area and if the snow or ice was sudden or unexpected.

In addition to an owner/occupier risking liability for damages due to their negligence for failing to keep their property clear of snow or ice, they could also be exposed to a fine from the City/Municipality where the property is located.  Many cities have bylaws that prescribe specific time requirements for salting sidewalks and shovelling driveways or walkways. For example, in Nanaimo, British Columbia, owners/occupiers must remove snow and ice from walkways within 24 hours of the snow or ice accumulating.

Although a City may set certain time limit for snow or ice removal, a Court may still find an owner/occupier liable for damages if it concludes that the snow or ice should have reasonably been removed before the time period prescribed by the City. For this reason, it is important to be careful to diligently maintain your property and walkways during the winter months.

 

 

 

Whether it is a result of a slip and fall, an assault, a motor vehicle accident, or another type of accident, many people suffer injuries while working. If a person in British Columbia is injured while working, the worker should be able to recover some of their losses related to the injury. If the injured worker dies, the worker’s dependents may be able to recover losses on behalf of the deceased.

When a worker is injured, the primary question that will determine the type of compensation that can be claimed is whether the party that caused the injury or death was working at the time.

Types of Claims

In British Columbia, a person who is working at the time of the injury cannot make a claim against another individual working at the time of the accident or his or her employer. Instead, the injured person must claim through WorkSafeBC to recover any losses that he or she suffered.

However, if a person is injured while working and the other party involved is not working at the time of the accident, the injured party may be able to choose to recover any losses through WorkSafeBC or through a personal injury claim (i.e. a Court action).

A WorkSafeBC claim will compensate you for part of your wage loss or future income loss while a personal injury claim provides compensation to the full extent of all provable losses. In addition, a personal injury claim allows you to make a claim for pain and suffering, which is not compensated under WorkSafeBC.

Making the Choice

If the option is available to you to make a claim either with WorkSafeBC or to proceed with a personal injury claim, a lawyer can help you determine the best option. You must make this choice within 90 days of when the injury occurred. However, if you choose to proceed with a personal injury claim, you can also preserve your right to compensation through WorkSafeBC by filing the appropriate materials within one year of your injury. You may want to preserve your right to compensation in case your lawsuit is unsuccessful or you receive less money than you would have received through WorkSafeBC.

 

For any further questions regarding work-related injuries or to schedule an appointment with a litigation lawyer click here.

A pedestrian may be partially at fault for the accident if he or she was not acting in a safe manner. For example, a pedestrian may not look before crossing at a cross walk or may cross the street outside of a cross walk. If a pedestrian is found to have acted unreasonably in the circumstances, he or she may be found to be contributorily negligent and the pedestrian’s damages could be reduced.

In certain cases, ICBC may deny a pedestrian’s entitlement to any damages. For example, where the pedestrian was jaywalking and the driver did not have an opportunity to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits

Under Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, ICBC will provide certain insurance benefits to pedestrians injured in an accident irrespective of who caused or contributed to the accident. These no fault Part 7 Benefits may pay for expenses such as physiotherapy, medical equipment, and medication. The maximum that ICBC will pay under these Benefits is $150,000.

If you need any legal advice regarding an accident, please click here to contact us.

 

Injured by a Slip and Fall?

 People often suffer injuries when they slip and fall on another person’s property.

Slip and falls can result from many different scenarios: weather conditions could make a walking surface wet or slippery; an unsafe walking area could be poorly lit; a floor or sidewalk may be uneven due to wear and tear that has not been repaired; an area carpet or mat at a store entrance could be rippled and pose a tripping hazard to those entering the store; merchandise in a store may have fallen and caused a slipping hazard on the aisle.

The Occupier’s Duty

An occupier includes the owner or any person or company that is responsible for a property. Occupiers must keep premises in a reasonably safe condition for those entering upon or using the property. This duty does not require the occupier to keep the property in perfect condition.  The law requires that the occupier act reasonably to ensure the safety of visitors on the property.

If an occupier is negligent in keeping the property in a reasonably safe condition and, as a result, a person is injured then the occupier can be sued for damages.

Seek Legal Advice

If you suffered injuries from a slip and fall, you should consult with a lawyer to understand your legal rights including the time limits to bring a claim and the compensation that could be claimed.  Depending on the specific nature of your injuries, your claim for damages would include your out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatments or rehabilitation, compensation for your pain or suffering, any loss of income and the cost of any future medical care or therapy.

If you need legal advice on this subject or any other law related inquiry please contact us.

Your friends talk you into taking golf lessons.  They even manage to convince you to go out for a real round of golf.  You find yourself in a group of four, with one friend and two others that you do not know.  Everyone besides you claims to be an experienced golfer.

The round begins and everything is going fairly well (besides your constant miss-hits on the ball).  One of these miss-hits results in your ball barely making it off the tee-box.  You quickly move up to your ball and take one practice swing.  After your practice swing you see that one of the men in your four-some that you do not know is slightly ahead of you.  You do think to yourself that this may not be the safest place for him to stand but you don’t say anything.  The other man does have his eyes on you but he does not say anything either.  You take your triumphant swing and look down the fairway to see where the ball ended up.  To your surprise you do not see anything but rather you hear something.  You hear the yelp of a man who has just been struck in the face with a golf ball.

He is now suing you claiming that you were negligent.

The standard of care expected of a sportsman is what would a reasonable player in his place do or not do.  This test was cited in the British Columbia case Herok v. Wegrzanowski (1985 CarswellBC 2487).

Another BC Court decision stated as follows:

“Although there are some risks incidental in the game of golf, players must take care not to hit anyone because of the obvious danger of injury.”

[Finnie v. Ropponen, [1987] B.C.J. No. 448]

There are many considerations that must go into this “reasonable player” analysis, all of which cannot be discussed in this blog.  However, one pertinent consideration given the above facts is the experience of the players.  As an experienced player, one is expected to know how to play the game safely.  This does not mean that an inexperienced player is free from liability.  The inexperienced player knowing that his or her shots are likely to be sporadic must take caution when swinging a club.

In order to reduce your exposure to liability, you should not swing your club until the rest of your group is alongside or behind an imaginary line that extends straight at 180 degrees from where you have lined up to take your shot.

Given the facts above, it is likely that the inexperienced golfer will be held liable in negligence and responsible for the injured person’s personal injury damages.  The man who was hit will likely be found to have been contributorily negligent as well.  This is because, as an experienced golfer, he should have known not to have been standing ahead of an inexperienced golfer who was about to swing.

If you suffer injuries on the golf course due to the actions of another be sure to contact us for legal advice.

With summer in full swing, many people find themselves enjoying time on the water in boats.  Although most boating endeavours are fun filled family or friend adventures, situations can arise in which legal liability for personal injuries can ensue.  For example, what is the liability of the boat captain when one of their invited guests accidentally falls in to the water and is injured or dies?  The Courts have held that a boat captain owes a duty to take reasonable care to rescue a passenger who falls overboard [Horsley v. MacLaren [1972] S.C.R. 441].

The boat captain is expected to perform a rescue attempt that would be reasonable under the circumstance.  Boat captains are expected to be aware of the recommended rescue procedure for a passenger that has fallen overboard but are not expected to execute the rescue to a standard of perfection.

The standard of reasonable care exercised by the boat captain must, as stated in Horsley, be measured in light of the immediate and pressing circumstance.  As long as the boat captain acted reasonably in the circumstance the boat captain will be relieved of liability for the passenger’s injuries or death.

With that established, can legal liability arise if one of the other passengers invited onto the boat is injured or killed while attempting a rescue of a passenger who has accidently fallen overboard?  If it can be established that the boat captain has by his or her fault created a situation of peril, they must answer to any person who attempts to rescue the passenger who has accidently fallen overboard.  If the rescuer is injured or killed as a result of this attempted rescue, they can recover damages from the person that created the situation of peril.

It is important in this circumstance to delineate between the situations of peril that the boat captain has created versus the general situation of peril that comes with a person accidently falling overboard.  The boat captain would only be held accountable to the rescuer for injuries or death if it could be established that the boat captain failed to undertake a rescue attempt or did so in a negligent manner.  In other words, the liability of the boat captain to the rescuer stems from the creation of a new situation of peril created through the boat captain’s negligent rescue attempt of the passenger who has accidently fallen overboard.

If you need legal advice on this subject or any other law related inquiry please contact us.