The claimant suffered injuries as a passenger on a bus operated by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, doing business as Translink and/or Coast Mountain Bus Company Limited (“Translink”). The claimant was 76 years old at the time of trial and claims that he fell when the bus on Translink’s route number eight stopped suddenly as it travelled north on Fraser Street in East Vancouver, near 22nd Avenue (Benavides v. Doe,.2015 BCSC 1831).
Once a claimant passenger establishes that he or she was injured while riding on a public carrier, a prima facie case of negligence is made out. The onus then shifts to the defendant carrier to establish that the passenger’s injuries occurred without negligence on the part of the carrier.
The court found that the claimant established that he suffered injuries caused by the negligence of the bus driver, and that Translink was vicariously liable. The defendant Translink breached the standard of care it owed to the claimant. The claimant was found to have sustained soft tissue injuries to his neck and back, contusions to his right chest and rib cage, a strain or sprain to both hands, injury to the right side of his head and temporomandibular joint (“TMJ”), contusions to both knees and development of a large post-traumatic cyst on his right knee which required surgical removal.
Taking into account the claimants’ particular circumstances, all of the Stapley factors, including the claimant’s age, his pre-existing symptomatic arthritis and degenerative disc condition, the nature of the claimant’s injuries and their impact on his mobility and activities, and all of the authorities cited by the lawyers, the court assessed the claimant’s damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenities and enjoyment of life in the amount of $40,000.