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Personal Injury Claim Against Road Maintenance Company Upheld by Top Court


The BC Court of Appeal found that inadequate signage negligently caused injury in this uneven pavement car accident (Van Tent v. Abbotsford (City),2013 BCCA 236). This case re visits the distinction between duty and standard of care, affirming the  three step process for proof of Civil Negligence. The Anns neighbourhood rule is applied and the court makes it clear that road maintenance companies owe a duty to the drivers on BC highways.
The injury claimant was riding his motorcycle through a construction zone on the Trans Canada Highway and  drifted over the white fog line to his right.  He was unaware of a two-inch drop-off associated with construction at the edge of the pavement and was thrown from his motorcycle as the wheel crossed the drop-off.
The claimant sued the road maintenance company and the City of Abbotsford and the trial judge found the road maintenance company and the City liable in negligence for failing to adequately mark the uneven pavement.  She found as well that claimant’s conduct contributed to his own injuries.  She apportioned liability 20% against the claimant.
In finding the road maintenance company and the City 80% liable the Court pointed out, “a discussion of duty centres around its existence, while the standard of care clarifies what the content of the duty is.  Where there is no duty there is no negligence.  In my view, the first question in the negligence analysis applicable to this case must be answered affirmatively.  That is, there can be no doubt that both of the appellants are in a sufficiently proximate relationship with persons who use this stretch of highway, including[the claimant].  The appellants did owe a duty of care to [the claimant].”
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

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"Renn A. Holness is a gifted lawyer and author to over 1000 legal blog articles. Married father of two daughters, son of a neurosurgeon and founder of Holness Law Group."

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