Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court released a decision involving a personal injury claim arising from an accident that occurred at Westview Shopping Mall in North Vancouver.
As a person who often frequents the Westview Shopping Plaza, I can attest to how busy the lot is. It does not surprise me that an accident occurred at the shopping centre. In the case, Park v. El Malak, the accident occurred at the exit from Westview Shopping Centre just to the south of the McDonalds. The driver in front apparently came to a stop as he was exiting the mall and turning onto Westview Drive. The driver behind did not see the first driver stop and struck the vehicle. At the end of the five day trial, the plaintiff was awarded damages of approximately $90,000. The vast majority of these damages were on account of the first driver's pain and suffering, which amounted to $64,000.
Notably, the impact of the accident was quite minor, as there was less than $1,000 in damage to the Plaintiff's vehicle. Oftentimes, when an accident does not appear to cause significant damage to a vehicle, there can be a tendency on the part of the Defendant's insurer to rely on that fact in an attempt to minimize the Plaintiff's claim. All cases need to be looked at on their own, and in this case, when the entirety of the medical evidence was examined by the court, the judge concluded that the accident was more likely than not the cause of the Plaintiff's back injuries.
This case is interesting for another reason. At trial, the Defendant took the position that he was not liable for the accident, even though it was a rear-end collision. It was the Defendant's position that, given the circumstances of the accident, he was not negligent in failing to stop and in striking the Plaintiff's vehicle. The Court did not accept this argument, concluding that it was reasonable for the first driver to have been proceeding cautiously as he completed his right-hand turn onto Westview Drive, given the obstructed view of the street from the mall parking lot. From my own experience, I can say that I use great caution when entering Westview Drive from the mall. Traffic proceeding south on Westview is often travelling at a fairly quick pace and the McDonald's and the bus stop obstruct the visibility looking north. In the case that was recently decided by our courts, the judge concluded that it was reasonable for the first driver to have paused or stopped as he was proceeding out of the mall and, in the circumstances, the Defendant was 100% responsible for the accident.
If you have been involved in an accident on the North Shore or elsewhere in British Columba, please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions about your options or rights.