Personal Injury Case Filing in Surrey

Have you or anyone from your family been injured in an accident? Feeling clueless about the entire case filing process? Contact MacMillan Tucker for your personal injury cases in Surrey, BC. We have a team of lawyers who provide solutions and assistance for motor vehicle accidents or other personal injuries. From hit- and- run accidents to cases involving trucks, buses and bicycles, we take up cases involving pedestrians hurt by motor vehicles as well. Our lawyers help determine the extent of your injuries, provide compensation and initiate a claim against the person who injured you! 


Please read the articles below to learn more about injury and insurance law.

IT’S THE LAW – By Corey J. Bow

What would you do if you were the judge? Judges decide the facts based on evidence put before them, and then apply the law. Here is a fact pattern. How would you decide who was at fault? Fact patterns similar to this one are often presented in court and assessed by judges. Test your judgment!

You Can’t Go back on Your Word

Speedy Gonzalez was driving his car and going straight through an intersection. Lefty McNish was heading towards the same intersection in the opposite direction. She, unfortunately, decided to turn left right in front of Speedy. Speedy collided with Lefty’s car and he was injured. Somebody had filmed the accident with their dash cam and gave the video to Speedy. Speedy’s lawyer gave that video evidence to ICBC, who was handling the matter. Speedy’s case didn’t settle before the two-year limitation date so he had to start a lawsuit. In the lawsuit, Speedy claimed that Lefty was negligent for turning left right in front of him.


Because Lefty had insurance with ICBC, they hired a lawyer to defend the claim. As is normal in these situations, the defence lawyer filed a written response to the lawsuit. Because there is a higher onus on a left turning driver, the lawyer for ICBC admitted in the court papers that Lefty was at fault for the accident.

Sometime later in the litigation, the ICBC lawyer sent the dash cam evidence to an engineer. That engineer found that Speedy was speeding at the time of the accident. Upon finding out that Speedy may also have been negligent in the accident, Lefty’s lawyer applied to the court to have their previous admission of liability retracted.


If You Were the Judge, How Would You Decide? 

Once you have made an admission in a lawsuit, it is quite difficult to take it back. The defence lawyer cannot simply amend his pleadings, but has to apply to the court to get the court’s permission to remove that admission. The court has to consider a number of factors to allow a party to remove an admission. For example, if the admission was made hastily or without the facts known to the party; if removing the admission would prejudice the other party; or if there was delay in bringing the application. In this case, the court did not allow Lefty’s lawyer to remove the admission. The main reason for that was because ICBC already had the dash cam footage in their possession when the admission was made. In law, like in life, you have to be careful with what you admit.

Corey J. Bow is a lawyer who practices in Cloverdale with the firm MacMillan Tucker at 5690 – 176A Street, Cloverdale (Surrey), B.C. At MacMillan Tucker, lawyers are available to answer questions about wills and estates, ICBC claims, personal injury, professional negligence, family matters and other issues. If you require legal assistance, please call (604) 574-7431 to book an appointment.

IT’S THE LAW – By Cassandra Douma

What would you do if you were the Judge? Judges decide the facts based on evidence put before them, and then apply the law. Here is a fact pattern. How would you decide who was at fault? Fact patterns similar to this one are often presented in court and assessed by Judges. Test your judgment!

Don’t Let Anyone Drink and Drive!

Insured Ingrid and her friend Sloshed Steve went to a co-worker’s house for some drinks. They had arrived together in Insured Ingrid’s car, and Sloshed Steve had told them that he would drive it home at the end of the night. Insured Ingrid and Sloshed Steve had a number of drinks together as the evening progressed, and Insured Ingrid proceeded to become quite intoxicated.


Sloshed Steve drove them home in Insured Ingrid’s car at the end of the night. While on their way, Sloshed Steve ran a red light, and Insured Ingrid’s vehicle was t-boned. Insured Ingrid was injured in the crash and she sought compensation for her injuries. Her Insurer argued that she should have known that Sloshed Steve was too intoxicated to drive and because of that, she had breached the terms of her policy by permitting him to drive. Insured Ingrid brought an action to force her Insurer to compensate her for her injures.

If You Were the Judge, How Would You Decide? 

To avoid their liability under the insurance policy, the Insurer must establish that Insured Ingrid knew, or ought to have known, that Sloshed Steve was incapable of driving her vehicle. If Sloshed Steve was showing objective signs of intoxication to the point that it was reasonably foreseeable that he would be unable to execute a proper level of control, or if he told her that he was too intoxicated to drive, or if he had a lengthy drinking pattern which she knew about, the court might find that Insured Ingrid breached her policy and so the Insurer would not be required to compensate her. The Insurer could establish these points by any admissible evidence, such as the testimony of other witnesses who had seen Sloshed Steve at the co-worker’s house.

However, even if the court did not find that Insured Ingrid breached her policy, because she knew that Sloshed Steve had been drinking the court would likely still find that her letting him drive amounted to contributory negligence and her damages would be reduced. If Insured Ingrid ought to have been aware of Sloshed Steve’s level of intoxication, she should have known she would be at risk being a passenger.

Cassandra Douma is a lawyer who practices in Cloverdale with the firm MacMillan Tucker at 5690 – 176A Street, Cloverdale (Surrey), B.C. At MacMillan Tucker, lawyers are available to answer questions about wills and estates, ICBC claims, personal injury, professional negligence, family matters and other issues. If you require legal assistance, please call (604) 574-7431 to book an appointment.

IT’S THE LAW – By Corey J. Bow

What would you do if you were the Judge? Judges decide the facts based on evidence put before them, and then apply the law. Here is a fact pattern. How would you decide who was at fault? Fact patterns similar to this one are often presented in court and assessed by Judges. Test your judgment!

Risky Business

This month’s case is about the risk of going to trial versus settling your case. In this case, the plaintiff was injured in an accident and was about to go to a trial. It was not the usual type of trial as it was going to be a trial with a jury. These cases are always more risky and difficult to predict the outcome. 


Prior to the trial, ICBC had offered the plaintiff $88,000 to settle the case. It was a “formal offer”, meaning that if the plaintiff was awarded less than the amount of the offer after the trial, he might be punished with costly consequences. The plaintiff did not accept ICBC’s offer before the Trial.  Instead, he had made his own formal offer of $175,000.


Following the trial, the jury only awarded the plaintiff $22,000 for injuries and expenses. Obviously, the jury did not believe the plaintiff was all that injured. This was a devastating blow for the plaintiff, and it could get worse. Since the jury’s award was so much less than ICBC’s formal offer, there was a potential that the plaintiff would have to pay money to ICBC for costs, because the plaintiff did not beat ICBC’s offer. In addition, the plaintiff may have to pay his lawyer for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses incurred in preparation for the trial and cover some of ICBC’s expenses. The total bill could be more than the $22,000 jury award.


ICBC applied to the court to deny the plaintiff recovery of his legal costs, and to get their costs paid by the plaintiff because he did not beat their formal offer.

 

If You Were the Judge, How Would You Decide? 

Ultimately the judge forgave the plaintiff for going ahead with the trial instead of accepting the $88,000 offer. The judge noted that the test is not just beating the formal offer, but whether or not, given the circumstances at the time of the offer, the plaintiff should have accepted it. The judge decided that although there was divergent evidence about the plaintiff’s condition caused by the accident, it was not unreasonable for the plaintiff to reject the formal offer and see if he could get better compensation by going to trial. In the end, the judge awarded the plaintiff all of his costs for the proceeding. 


The lawyer and the client must have breathed a giant sigh of relief. Going to court for a trial is risky enough, but the potential for extreme consequences for not beating the other side’s formal offer to settle can pose an even greater risk.

Corey J. Bow is a lawyer who practices in Cloverdale with the firm MacMillan Tucker at 5690 – 176A Street, Cloverdale (Surrey), B.C. At MacMillan Tucker, lawyers are available to answer questions about wills and estates, ICBC claims, personal injury, professional negligence, family matters and other issues. If you require legal assistance, please call (604) 574-7431 to book an appointment.

IT’S THE LAW – By Corey J. Bow

What would you do if you were the Judge? Judges decide the facts based on evidence put before them, and then apply the law. Here is a fact pattern. How would you decide who was at fault? Fact patterns similar to this one are often presented in court and assessed by Judges. Test your judgment!

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign 

The plaintiff in this very important BC waiver case was an avid snowboarder from Australia. He was visiting and working at the Whistler Mountain Resort but was catastrophically injured while snowboarding on Grouse Mountain. He was snowboarding in the Terrain Park and attempted an advance level jump.  He landed badly and was rendered a quadriplegic. He started a lawsuit against Grouse Mountain claiming breach of contract and that the Mountain was negligent. He also claimed that they failed to keep the Mountain safe for its users. 


Grouse Mountain defended the lawsuit by applying for summary judgment. They argued that the plaintiff had no claim to sue because he was informed of the waiver of liability at the time he purchased his ticket, and also right before using the Terrain Park. In both instances, the warning was on a sign, as the plaintiff never signed a specific waiver or contract. In the fine print of the sign, there was a waiver of the Mountain’s own negligence. What that means is that a person using the Mountain could not sue the Mountain, even if their injury was caused by the Mountain’s negligence, poor design, unsafe conditions, or faulty equipment. 


If You Were the Judge, How Would You Decide? 

In the initial lawsuit, the judge threw out the plaintiff's claim, saying that he was warned sufficiently with a sign overhead when he was buying his ticket, another sign right before he entered the Terrain Park, and because of his work at Whistler Mountain, he was familiar with the content of waivers. The plaintiff appealed and the British Columbia Court of Appeal made a ruling.


The Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge’s decision and found that the case should not be dismissed summarily but should go to court on its own merits. That means that the waiver didn't work to stop the lawsuit, however, it did not mean that Grouse Mountain is liable to pay the plaintiff damages. He will still have to prove that Grouse Mountain was negligent after a trial, or settle his case with them. The Court of Appeal did not like the fact that the ski hill attempted to waive their own negligence, and that the wording for that was buried in the fine print. They held that the more onerous a waiver condition, the more a facility had to make the consumer aware of the provision. The Court of Appeal also held that the plaintiff's experience with similar waivers did not mean that he was properly made aware of the Grouse Mountain waiver.


In my view, operators should not be allowed to get away with excluding their own negligence. It is fine for the consumer to waive liability due to the inherent dangerousness of activity, but allowing an operator to waive negligence will mean they don't have to properly take care of their equipment or keep their facilities safe. If the consumer is injured due to unsafe conditions or operator negligence, how can the bad operators be held accountable?

Corey J. Bow is a lawyer who practices in Cloverdale with the firm MacMillan Tucker at 5690 – 176A Street, Cloverdale (Surrey), B.C. At MacMillan Tucker, lawyers are available to answer questions about wills and estates, ICBC claims, personal injury, professional negligence, family matters and other issues. If you require legal assistance, please call (604) 574-7431 to book an appointment.

IT’S THE LAW – By Cassandra Douma

What would you do if you were the Judge? Judges decide the facts based on evidence put before them, and then apply the law. Here is a fact pattern. How would you decide who was at fault? Fact patterns similar to this one are often presented in court and assessed by Judges. Test your judgment!

Timber!

Careful Carl was driving to a friend’s house through Stanley Park. It was a rather stormy night, and as he proceeded, a tree suddenly fell onto the road. Careful Carl swerved to avoid the fallen tree but hit Motorist Mary’s vehicle which had been travelling in the opposite direction. 


Motorist Mary was injured and sued Careful Carl for damages, alleging that Careful Carl was negligent in swerving into her lane.


If You Were the Judge, Who Would You Hold Responsible? 

The standard of care required by a driver is that of a reasonable person unless there is a sudden event or emergency. In such situations, a person need only advance an explanation of how the accident may have occurred reasonably without negligence on his part, as they are not expected to act as they would if the emergency hadn’t taken place, or if they had more time to consider their reaction. In order for someone to be liable in these situations, it would need to be established that the actions that were taken in response to the emergency were extraordinarily risky and that the damage they were seeking to prevent was minor in comparison. 


The judge considered the suddenness of the tree falling, and the dangers posed if Careful Carl had struck it and found that Careful Carl had established the defence of ‘explanation’ in reacting to the ‘agony of the moment.’ Even if on reflection there were other courses of action open to him, a reasonable person in the same circumstances could have taken the same actions as Careful Carl. Therefore, Careful Carl was not found responsible for Motorist Mary’s injuries. The judge would likely have come to a different decision if, for example, it was broad daylight, the tree had been present in the road as Careful Carl approached, if the tree was very small, or if there was evidence that Careful Carl was not paying attention. 


These situations are always fact-specific, as there are a number of different factors the court can consider. If you have a similar situation to that outlined above, it is recommended that you obtain legal advice to determine your rights in your particular situation.

Cassandra Douma is a lawyer who practices in Cloverdale with the firm MacMillan Tucker at 5690 – 176A Street, Cloverdale (Surrey), B.C. At MacMillan Tucker, lawyers are available to answer questions about wills and estates, ICBC claims, personal injury, professional negligence, family matters and other issues. If you require legal assistance, please call (604) 574-7431 to book an appointment.

MacMillan Tucker

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