Barrie v. Marshall, 2010 BCSC 981
July 15th, 2010-  the injury claimant was riding his motorcycle  after spending time at a motorcycle show at the Tradex Centre near Abbotsford.  It was early afternoon, and the weather was clear and dry.  The claimant was travelling behind the car of the defendant, Benita Marshall.  The claimant said that Ms. Marshall stopped her car suddenly in front of him.  He claims that he was unable to stop in time, and collided with Ms. Marshall’s car.  The injury claimant was thrown from his motorcycle, and suffered injuries as a result, including a shattered right wrist.
Ms. Marshall denied that she was at fault, and says the collision was caused by the claimant’s negligence.
It was agreed that  where one vehicle runs into another from behind, the responsibility is on the driver of the rear vehicle to show that the collision was not  his or her fault.  Furthermore, the driver of a following vehicle has a duty to drive at a distance from the leading vehicle that allows reasonably for the speed, the traffic, and the conditions.  The judge outlines that this duty is expressly set out in sections 144(1) and 162(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318, which provide that:

144(1)  A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a highway

(a) without due care and attention,

(b) without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway, or

(c) at a speed that is excessive relative to the road, traffic, visibility or weather conditions.

. . .

162(1)  A driver of a vehicle must not cause or permit the vehicle to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the amount and nature of traffic on and the condition of the highway.

The judge concluded that the claimant  was operating his motorcycle without due care and attention, and was following Ms. Marshall’s vehicle too closely .  As a result, the claimant was unable to avoid colliding with Ms. Marshall’s car.  The injury claimant was found 100% at fault. Posted By Mr. Renn A. Holness
Issue: Should the law assume the rear-ending driver is always at fault?

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