Cyclist Struck in Marked Crosswalk Found 100% at Fault for Crash

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing a personal injury claim involving a cyclist struck by a vehicle.

In today’s case (Dhanoya v. Stephens) the Plaintiff cyclist rode into a marked crosswalk without stopping and was struck by a vehicle.  The Court found the cyclist was fully at fault for the collision and had the cyclist kept a proper lookout the collision could have been avoided.  In finding the cyclist solely liable Madam Justice Dillon provided the following reasons:

[13]         After consideration of all of the evidence and particularly after considering the evidence of the plaintiff in the context of all of the evidence and the surrounding circumstances, the evidence of the defendants and Woermke is accepted as to how the accident occurred. It is accepted that Jodie Stephens first saw the plaintiff as the plaintiff approached the intersection on his bike. Although Mr. Stephens was inconsistent as to his exact position when he first saw the plaintiff, it was from 15 to 30 feet from the crosswalk, close enough for the driver to have little option in the circumstances. He was travelling at about 35 kph initially and this estimate of his original speed was supported by Woermke. It was apparent to Mr. Stephens that the plaintiff was not going to stop. Mr. Stephens applied his brakes, managing to slow down to five to ten kph before impact. As described by Woermke, the plaintiff rolled into the crosswalk without stopping or looking. The plaintiff admitted that he bicycled across the crosswalk. He said that he stopped at the crosswalk, put his foot down, and looked for cars for a minute. He did not see the defendants’ vehicle approaching: if he had, he stated that he would not have entered the crosswalk. Clearly, the vehicle was there to be seen. Mr. Stephens realized that the plaintiff had not seen the Stephens vehicle and had not made eye contact so to judge his own safety. The plaintiff was on his usual route, on a bright day, getting close to his destination, with a perception that there were few cars on the road. In the scenario of little perceived traffic, it is concluded that it was the plaintiff’s usual practice to bike across the crosswalk. He followed that practice on the day of the accident. He did not stop and look both ways, else he would have seen the approaching vehicle which was 30 feet away from the crosswalk at most.

[14]         The driver of a motor vehicle has a general duty of care to keep adequate lookout for recognizable hazards on the road (Dobre v. Langley, 2011 BCSC 1315 at para. 34). A driver approaching a marked crosswalk assumes a heightened duty to take extreme care and maintain a vigilant lookout for those that might be in the crosswalk (Dobre at paras. 35 and 43). It is important to remember that the standard of care is not one of perfection, but whether the driver acted in a manner which an ordinarily prudent person would act (Hadden v. Lynch, 2008 BCSC 295 at para. 69).

[15]         A cyclist shares the same rights and duties with drivers of a motor vehicle (Dobre at para. 32). The duties specific to a cyclist are set out in s. 183 Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318. The plaintiff was riding his bicycle in a crosswalk in contravention of s.183 (2)(b) Motor Vehicle Act. He had a duty to keep a proper lookout (Dobre at para. 35).

[16]         Because of this violation of the traffic law, the plaintiff assumed a heightened duty to ensure his own safety, particularly to ensure that he was seen by other drivers (Hadden at para. 59; Dobre at para. 39; Callahan v. Kim, 2012 BCSC 1615 at para. 23). As acknowledged by the plaintiff, he did not have the statutory right of way when he bicycled across the crosswalk because he was not a pedestrian (Dobre at para. 34). Nonetheless, a reasonably careful and skillful driver has a duty to give way to a user of a crosswalk where there is an expectation that pedestrians and other users will be present (Callahan at para. 18). However, in the circumstance of the plaintiff’s failure to yield the right of way, he must establish that, after the defendant became aware that the plaintiff was proceeding onto the crosswalk, the defendant had sufficient opportunity to avoid the accident of which a reasonably careful and skilled driver would have availed himself (Hadden, at paras. 67-68). The plaintiff must establish that he was a recognizable hazard and that his actions left the defendant with enough time and distance to see and avoid striking him (Dobre at para. 34).

[17]         The plaintiff alleges that Mr. Stephens was not operating his vehicle at a reasonable speed in the circumstances, notwithstanding that he was travelling at below the speed limit. The plaintiff also says that Mr. Stephens was distracted by the conversation in the car, so failing to take due care and attention. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant breached the standard of care when he failed to yield the right of way to the user of the crosswalk and that this failure was the cause of the accident.

[18]         Mr. Stephens saw the plaintiff as he cycled towards the crosswalk and anticipated that the plaintiff was going to cycle right into the crosswalk. Although he admitted that he was in conversation with others in the vehicle, the evidence does not establish that he was so distracted so as not to notice the plaintiff as he was at the intersection and as he entered the crosswalk. The defendant was not speeding. He immediately slowed, braking to avoid a collision. He also tried to make eye contact with the cyclist. The defendant did not have sufficient opportunity to avoid the accident. A reasonably careful and skilful driver could not have avoided this accident.

[19]         The plaintiff did not exercise a reasonable degree of care when he cycled into the crosswalk without looking for vehicles. He did not exercise the expected degree of care for his own safety. He assumed that there was no traffic and cycled into the crosswalk without looking. Had he looked, he would have seen the defendant’s vehicle. Had he looked, the plaintiff would have made eye contact with Mr. Stephens who was alert to make contact. Had he looked, the plaintiff would not have proceeded into the crosswalk. Had he looked, this accident could have been avoided. The plaintiff is the author of his own misfortune.

[20]         The plaintiff is 100% at fault for the accident of November 21, 2015.

BFL CANADA Acquires Summit Insurance Brokers Inc.

BFL CANADA is pleased to announce the acquisition of Summit Insurance Brokers Inc. (Summit), located in Prince George, British Columbia. Founded in the late 1990s, this firm has a strong reputation and a long history of providing exemplary service to clients in Central and Northern British Columbia and brings expertise in industrial, commercial and farm risks to BFL CANADA.

Summit specializes in services for the forestry, logging contractors, agriculture, transportation and suppliers to the oil and gas and mining industries. In addition, clients include small type or hobby farms and auto businesses.

“We are delighted to welcome the skilled and experienced Summit employees to the BFL CANADA family as this acquisition will provide us with a stronger presence in key Canadian growth sectors,” said Barry F. Lorenzetti, President, CEO and Founder. “We expect the economy in Central and Northern British Columbia to experience significant growth over the next five years and the completion of this transaction will allow BFL CANADA to bring its industry specialization, market leverage, business model, centres of excellence, and digital expertise to the region.”

Hugh Delwo, former President and CEO at Summit Insurance Brokers Inc., will assume the position of Managing Vice President for the Prince George office, BFL CANADA’s 16th location, and Al Delwo, former Vice President at Summit Insurance Brokers Inc., will lead business development efforts for the region.

About BFL CANADA

Founded in 1987 by Barry F. Lorenzetti, BFL CANADA is one of the largest employee-owned and operated Risk Management, Insurance Brokerage, and Employee Benefits consulting services firms in Canada. The firm has a team of over 700 professionals located in fourteen cities across the country. BFL CANADA is a founding Partner of Lockton Global LLP, a Partnership of independent insurance brokers and agents who provide Risk Management, Insurance and Benefits Consulting services in over 125 countries around the world.

For further details about the company, visit bflcanada.ca.

SOURCE BFL CANADA

Insurance Professionals: Alberta Continuing Education –  New Expiry Dates

Insurance Professionals: Alberta Continuing Education – New Expiry Dates

To continue to provide the highest quality continuing education (CE) for insurance professionals in Alberta, the Alberta Accreditation Committee (AAC) has determined that CE without expiry dates and those accredited for longer than three years, will be phased out and no longer be accredited for CE purposes. This ensures that all CE offered aligns to current market conditions and trends.

How does this affect you?

If you’re completing your CE with ILScorp…

it doesn’t affect you at all!

ILScorp has re-accredited all of our Alberta continuing education courses to meet the new CE standards and requirements.

So don’t worry, take all the CE you need! Our courses are accredited

Alberta General CE

Each course that is accredited in Alberta will display both an Alberta Flag and an AIC#.

Alberta Life/A&S CE

Remember courses that are technical in nature qualify for continuing education requirements. Again if you see the Alberta flag and the AIC# then that course is valid in Alberta. Your courses will also display the word “Technical” in the CE Credit Type field.

Courses that are sales oriented or more along the lines of broker skills, such as Angry Customers and how to Deal with Them, do not qualify for Alberta continuing education so you will not see an Alberta flag or AIC# on that course.

If you need assistance completing your 15 hours of CE, contact ILScorp today!

The Alberta Accreditation Committee, as delegated by the Minister, is responsible for reviewing and approving continuing education providers, continuing education courses, and the hours and means of calculating the continuing education hours, for each course or seminar that can be used towards the 15-hour requirement that licensed agents and adjusters must satisfy each licensing year.

Edited for ilstv.com

Ontario creating task force to improve flooding resilience

TORONTO _ Ontario is creating a task force on improving the province’s resilience to flooding, following high water levels this spring in several communities.

Premier Doug Ford and Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski said in a statement that the government will work to better plan for and reduce the impacts of flooding.

“Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen first-hand the devastating effect of flooding on our communities,” they said in the statement Friday. “The people of Ontario can’t go through this every year. Something needs to change.”

The task force will consult with municipalities, including in the Muskoka region, Pembroke and the Ottawa Valley.

Ontario has activated a disaster recovery assistance program for residents in Bracebridge, Huntsville, Pembroke, Renfrew County, Ottawa, Clarence-Rockland, Champlain and Alfred and Plantagenet.

The program helps cover emergency expenses and the costs to repair or replace essential property not covered by insurance after a natural disaster.

The task force announcement comes not long after the Progressive Conservative government cut conservation authorities’ funding for flood management in half.

Conservation authorities forecast flooding and issue warnings, monitor stream flow, regulate development activities in flood plains, educate the public about flooding and protect natural cover that helps reduce the impacts of flooding.

Ontario had given $7.4 million to the conservation authorities for that work, but they say that has now been reduced by 50 per cent.

Yakabuski has said the government is trying to eliminate the deficit _ currently at $11.7 billion and has asked conservation authorities to focus on their core mandate, which includes flood control.

NDP environment critic Ian Arthur said the task force should start by reversing those cuts.

“Any review of flood management in Ontario should begin with undoing the damage done by the (Doug) Ford Conservatives,” Arthur said in a statement.

Fort McMurray woman wants Insurance Act changed

‘We are still paying a mortgage on a pile of ashes,’ homeowner says

Excerpreted article was written by Jamie Malbeuf · CBC News 

After struggling for three years to get a settlement, a Fort McMurray woman wants to see changes to the Insurance Act.

Jamie Harpe lost her home in the May 2016 wildfire that destroyed 15 per cent of the buildings in Alberta’s oilsands city.

“Three years into it, we are still paying a mortgage on a pile of ashes, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight,” she said.

After the fire, Harpe said, she was able to settle a claim for the cost of her home’s contents with her insurance company, Aviva.

But the house claim remains unsettled.

Aviva declined to comment on the case, but Harpe said she will opt for a formal dispute resolution process.

The most recent estimate for the cost of the rebuild is from two years ago; Two different companies assessed the cost at between $3.1 million and $4.3 million, said Harpe, the president of an oilfield servicing company she owns with her husband.

She estimates the house was about 7,000 square feet. Her lawyer requested a quote for the cost of heating and hoarding — which includes a fence around the construction site to prevent unauthorized access and tarpaulins to cover the site and keep heat contained, allowing construction in winter — and that estimate came in at between $200,000 and $400,000.

The two parties almost came to an agreement recently, she said, except for one unresolved matter: who would pay the heating and hoarding costs.

Harpe said she doesn’t think her family should have to shoulder that cost.

She has been paying lawyers to help her with the claim, which she said has cost her about $70,000 over the last two years.

In the meantime, she bought property two doors down from her old house and put a prefabricated home there.

She says the money for living expenses from the insurance company ran out, and her family has been paying additional expenses out of pocket.

Now they’re paying for a second mortgage on top of almost $5,000 a month for the first mortgage.

The insurance industry is going to be here until the very last claim is closed in Fort McMurray.– Rob de Pruis, Insurance Bureau of Canada

She would like to see the Insurance Act changed so that companies have to pay additional living expenses for lengthy cases such as hers.

“The Insurance Act seems to work for the insurance company, and when it comes to the consumer there are so many loopholes that the insurance companies can, in a sense, bully the hardworking Canadians.”

At this point, she said, her payout should be higher than the cost of the rebuild, because of the additional money they’ve spent.

The provincial and federal governments should make changes to insurance regulations that benefit consumers, she said

Harpe said the claim has taken a toll on her mental health.

“You still have to work. And you still have to live your day-to-day life. And in the meantime … you’re always worried about what’s happening with the rebuild.”

Less than 1% of claims unresolved

The Fort McMurray wildfire was the most expensive insured disaster in Canadian history.

Rob de Pruis, director of consumer and industry relations for the western arm of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said more than 60,000 insurance claims were opened after the fire.

He said less than one per cent of those files remain open, and those are typically the complicated files, or ones where the company and homeowner couldn’t come to an agreement.

An aerial photo of Harpe’s home before it burned down. She says it shouldn’t take three years to get an insurance settlement. (Submitted by Jaime Harpe)

De Pruis said in most cases when the claim is drawn out, it’s because of misunderstandings or poor communication between the company and the homeowner.

There are options for the homeowner to pursue if an agreement can’t be reached: the company’s internal ombudsman or an independent company called the General Insurance Organization.

They can facilitate conversations between the two parties.

There is also a formal dispute resolution process, which is the route Harpe is taking. This is a facilitated discussion with representatives and specific timelines.

As a last resort, De Pruis said, the claim could go to court.

“The insurance industry is going to be here until the very last claim is closed in Fort McMurray,” he said.

De Pruis said the IBC is available to help anyone who is struggling with an insurance claim.

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