This recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case dealt with a motorcyclist who was forced to take evasive action while entering an intersection. The motorcyclist had the right of way, and another vehicle entered the intersection after stopping at a stop sign to the right of the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was able to avoid striking the other vehicle, but ultimately lost control of their motorcycle and suffered a significant injury while striking the ground. The courts found that the motorcyclist’s actions had been prudent in the circumstances and that they were still entitled to make a claim against the other driver, despite the fact that no collision had occurred between the two motor vehicles.
In coming to this conclusion, the judge applied a couple of important legal principles:
- When avoiding a hazard ahead, a driver is not expected to make the perfect decision, only a decision that is reasonable in the circumstances. The existence of a better course of action does not result in a finding of negligence.
- It is up to the driver who has created the initial hazard to demonstrate that the other driver could have reasonably avoided the hazard.
In this case had the defendant been able to show that the plaintiff’s rate of speed had contributed to or caused their fall then the judge may have made a different finding on liability. However, neither side presented evidence to show that the motorcyclist had been speeding. This case once again demonstrates the importance of hiring legal counsel, and why doing so prior to speaking with ICBC can be prudent.