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Court victory for pedestrian injured at a crosswalk

crosswalk

Webster & Associates has recently won an important court victory for  a pedestrian injured at a crosswalk. Our client, who had consumed a significant amount of alcohol prior to the accident, was struck by a speeding car while walking in an “unmarked” Vancouver crosswalk. He was thrown some 24 meters and suffered a severe brain injury. ICBC unsuccessfully defended the speeding driver.

The trial was heard in the Vancouver Supreme Court in February 2013. Mr. Daniel Corrin of Webster & Associates was counsel.

The evidence of independent witnesses and engineers showed clearly that driver had been driving at speeds of as much as 90 kph shortly before the collision. According to the “black box data recorder”, 4 seconds before collision in the vehicle slowed down to about 68- 70 kph, then to 66-68 three seconds before impact, 62-66 two seconds before impact and 62-64 one second before impact. The vehicle hit Mr. Alarcon while travelling at about 52-54 kph. Despite the high speeds and the fact that the driver’s vehicle only had his daytime running lights on, instead if his full headlights, ICBC and the driver attempted to blame the pedestrian for his injuries. They argued that the pedestrian should have seen the speeding car and got out of the way in time to avoid the collision. They also argued that his alcohol consumption impaired the Mr. Alarcon’s ability to take proper care of his own safety. Justice S. Griffin did not agree.

In the recent judgment pronounced March 11, 2013 the court found the vehicle driver 100% responsible for the collision and Mr. Alarcon’s injuries. She found that the driver was simply not paying the proper attention he should have been paying under the circumstances. While Mr. Alarcon had consumed significant quantities of alcohol prior to being struck, Justice Griffin found no evidence to show that his alcohol use had affected his ability to pay proper attention to the approaching traffic or that alcohol had contributed to his injuries.

This case also points to the valuable role that “black box” or crash data can play in a trial. This data was only obtained by Webster & Associates through persistence in the discovery process.

 

Settled Claim for 20 Times Amount Originally Estimated by Other Law Firm

A lack of understanding about how to value a serious brain injury case is very common – even amongst lawyers.

We recently settled a claim for a young man who sustained a severe brain injury at the age of 13. He was struck by a car while riding his bike on a road near his home in a rural BC community. Shortly after the collision, his parents sought legal advice from a local law firm. They were told by the lawyer that this was a high risk case that they should not pursue – if won, the case would only be worth around $30,000 and if lost, they could potentially lose their home. Additionally, the parents were told by ICBC that their son was 100% responsible for the collision. They decided not to make a claim. Six years passed and, despite ICBC’s obligation to provide “no fault” rehabilitation benefits, the young man received very little in the way of rehabilitation support other than that provided by his family.

At the age of 19, the young man coincidentally met another young person with a brain injury and learned about our firm. We met him and his family and told them that his serious injuries could be worth a great deal more than what was originally estimated by the first lawyer his parents had talked to; possibly more than a million dollars.

After we commenced a legal action on his behalf the case was settled by ICBC for more than 20 times the amount originally estimated by the first lawyer.

We take cases that other lawyers turn down as being too “high risk.”

If you or your family member has sustained a serious brain injury, please contact us to see whether we can help. We offer second opinions at no charge or obligation.

OR

If you are a lawyer, we are happy to work with you to assist your clients. Please call us for a no obligation, no charge consultation.
Tel: 604.713.8030 (Vancouver)
Tel: 250.589.8030 (Victoria)
Toll free: 1.877.873.0699 (within North America)

Email: info@braininjurylaw.ca

 

Rehabilitation: Courtesy of your insurance company

It’s no secret that prompt rehabilitation practices have reduced the ultimate cost of ICBC claims, and ICBC rehabilitation coordinators are an integral part of this process. But it’s important to remember that these coordinators are part of the insurance defence team and not your client’s advocate.

It’s when your patient is discharged from the rehabilitation facility that an ICBC rehabilitation coordinator becomes involved. It’s the coordinator’s job to assist your patient in achieving the highest level of gainful employment and self-sufficiency within the shortest possible time. At this point, ICBC and the health care system become enmeshed and it’s vital to know which rules apply.

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What can you do if you don’t know who caused the BC collision that resulted in your injuries?

Car Accident

Under section 24(5) of the Insurance Motor Vehicle Act you can successfully sue ICBC as the nominal defendant if you have taken all reasonable steps to find the driver who caused your injuries.

However, the recent case of Morris v. Doe that was pronounced by the BC Supreme Court in March 2011, gave us all a serious reminder that you must take steps to try to find the parties responsible not only immediately after the collision but also in the days and weeks after the collision.

In this case, the plaintiff was a passenger who suffered injuries when the vehicle she was riding in, driven by her husband, was rear-ended by another vehicle. Her husband got out of his truck and indicated to other driver they should pull into a nearby parking lot to exchange information. The other driver appeared to agree by nodding, but took off before the plaintiff or her husband were able to get the information. The plaintiff quickly called the police and notified ICBC, but took no further steps to try to identify other driver after the collision.

The court decided that the steps taken by the plaintiff were not enough and the action against ICBC was dismissed.

The plaintiff had failed to make all reasonable efforts to ascertain identity of the driver as required by Insurance (Vehicle) Act, section 24(5). The court stated that further steps such as posting signs and advertising in a local newspaper in an effort to seek out potential witnesses would be entirely “logical, sensible and fair”. The plaintiff had not taken any of these steps and as a result she was left without any compensation for her injuries.