This was a personal injury case dealing only with the issue of liability for an car accident in which a trailer ran over the claimant in a parking lot (2014 BCSC 1668). The accident in question occurred outside the Quinsam Hall in Campbell River, which is a freestanding building surrounded by a paved parking lot and laneways. Outside the front entrance of the hall there is a line of parking stalls and the accident occurred somewhere in the first driving lane outside the front door of the hall.
The claimant was a member of a musical group that had performed and had been drinking. She was acting in an animated and boisterous fashion striking and rocking the defendant’s Pathfinder vehicle.
There was no question in the Judge’s mind that the driver owed a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of the claimant. It was also crystal clear that the claimant owed at least a duty to take reasonable care for her own safety.
The Court found that the claimant approached the Pathfinder and its trailer after it began to move slowly ahead, and that in doing so she failed to take reasonable care for her own safety. However the driver did start forward, knowing that the claimant was drunk and boisterous and near the rear side of his vehicle. The claimant slipped and fell .under the vehicle.
The Judge found that the driver breached his duty of care by moving his vehicle forward without looking for himself to see that it was safe to do so.
As between the claimant and the driver the Judge concluded that the claimant’s negligence was the greater. She moved toward a moving vehicle and she did so deliberately, even allowing for diminished capacity due to her alcohol consumption. On the evidence, the Judge assigned 60 percent of the fault to the claimant and 40 percent of the fault to the driver.
ISSUE: Should drunk pedestrians be responsible for their injuries?
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.