Father who lost son in Broncos crash wants graduated licensing in truck training

A father who lost his son in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash says mandatory training in Saskatchewan for commercial semi-truck drivers is a good first step, but he wants to see more.

Russ Herold, whose son Adam died in a collision between the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi last April, told CJME in Regina that he would like to see the rules adopted nationwide.

Herold is also calling for graduated licensing with limits on mileage and on what semi-trailer combinations drivers are allowed based on how much time they’ve spent behind the wheel.

Last week, the Saskatchewan government announced that, starting in March, drivers will have to take mandatory training of just over 120 hours for a Class 1 commercial licence.

Farmers driving for agricultural purposes will be exempt from the new rules, but will need to stay within the provincial boundary.

Herold, a farmer himself, doesn’t think there should be exemptions for anyone.

“There is no such thing as a border when you’re a truck driver nowadays,” he said. “Everybody sees that there’s lots of trucks. Truck traffic is just the way goods move these days and we need to ensure the roads are safe.”

He suggested experience has to be key in training.

“Experience behind the wheel is what’s going to make people better drivers. You’re not going on a thousand-mile trip your first trip out,” Herold said.

“We all share the road and an accident could happen in 50 miles as easy as it can in 500 miles.”

Sixteen people were killed and 13 players were injured as a result of the crash at a rural intersection in April as the Broncos were heading to a junior hockey playoff game.

The truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, is charged with numerous counts of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, has called mandatory training overdue and said the government had been considering the measure even before the Broncos crash.

Herold said he gets frustrated to hear that from a government that has been in power for years.

“If people talk like that, obviously they know there was a concern. There was possibly a problem,” he said. “Why weren’t things done sooner? Why did it take a tragedy like this to bring it to the forefront?”

BC Court of Appeal – Settlement Paying Pennies on the Dollar Beats Losing Your House

BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

You are badly injured through the alleged negligence of others.  If you win at trial you can get north of $400,000 in damages.  If you lose you will literally lose your house to cover the costs of litigation. When faced with this stark reality a settlement offer that pays less than 1o cents on the dollar may very well be reasonable.  The BC Court of Appeal released reasons for judgment today saying as much.

In today’s case (Deo v. Vancouver) the infant plaintiff suffered serious injuries leaving him partially blind while at school.  He sued for damages and was largely unsuccessful on proving liability at trial.  The Plaintiff’s lawyer valued the claim at over $400,000 but before the liability appeals could be heard a settlement of $35,000 was reached.  The Plaintiff, being an infant, could not legally agree to any settlement and judicial permission was needed.  The BC Court of Appeal noted that if the lawsuit ultimately proved unsuccessful the costs consequences would be so steep that the Plaintiff’s parents would likely need to sell their house.  Appreciating this the risk-based settlement was reasonable and the Court approved it.  In supporting the settlement the BC Court of Appeal provided the following reasons:

[11]         Counsel assesses the quantum of damages for non-pecuniary loss in the range of $100,000 to $140,000 and for loss of future earnings in the range of $300,000 to $350,000. The estimate of an adverse costs award if the appeal is unsuccessful is in excess of $100,000.

[12]         Isaac lives with his parents in a house in East Vancouver. If costs are awarded against him, they would have to sell the house to pay the costs. His father says that he has weighed the prospects of success of the appeal against the risk of losing the home and the impact that would have on Isaac and the rest of the family. He says he has concluded that it is in Isaac’s best interests to accept the settlement.

[13]         The parties have consented to the trial judge approving the solicitor’s account without costs.

[14]         Having read the materials provided, it is our view that the settlement is a prudent one, and is in Isaac’s best interests. As was noted in Lotocky, “it is… artificial and misguided to judge the merits of the appeal in isolation from the financial ramifications that would arise from an unsuccessful appeal”: para. 69. Counsel for Isaac acknowledges the “very real” risk that the appeal on liability will be unsuccessful. In light of the serious financial consequences that would flow from an unsuccessful appeal, we agree with the assessment of counsel and that it is in Isaac’s best interests to accept the settlement.

[15]         The settlement is approved in the terms sought. The appeal and cross appeal are dismissed as abandoned on a without costs basis to any party. The matter is remitted to the Supreme Court to Justice Riley for approval of the solicitor’s account.

Pedestrian Found 80% At Fault For Being Struck While Jaywalking

Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Court of Appeal upholding a trial judge’s assessment of fault for a pedestrian/vehicle collision.

In the recent case (Vandendorpel v. Evoy) the Plaintiff was struck while crossing a street.  He was at a light controlled intersection.  He pressed the button to activate the pedestrian walk signal but did not wait for the signal to come on.  Instead, he proceeded to cross the street while the signal for traffic in his direction was still red.  The Defendant was driving marginally over the speed limit and entered the intersection on a fresh yellow light striking the jaywalking pedestrian.   At trial the plaintiff was found 80% at fault for the crash.  In upholding this result the BC Court of Appeal agreed with the following reasonsing of the trial judge:

[53]      While both parties failed in their respective duties of care, I find Mr. Evoy’s failure was much less significant than Mr. Vandendorpel’s. His negligence consisted of driving at a speed that was over the posted limit, even if it was only minimally above that limit (i.e., approximately 55 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone) and doing so when the lighting and road conditions were less than optimal. Compared to this conduct, Mr. Vandendorpel’s failures were more serious. He was dressed in dark clothing, including a dark hooded pullover that was zipped up to the top. None of his clothing had any light reflective qualities. Counsel for Mr. Vandendorpel submits that wearing dark clothing is not in and of itself contributory negligence. That submission is correct, but Mr. Vandendorpel’s failures are greater than simply the clothing he was wearing. He was also wearing headphones and listening to music and that reduced his ability to hear any on-coming traffic. He also had to cross a five-lane roadway that spanned approximately 18 metres. Although he depressed the pedestrian control device, he only waited a second or so before he attempted to cross the roadway. He carelessly did so even though the pedestrian control signal was still red and the traffic control signals were still green. Mr. Evoy’s vehicle approached the Intersection from the north. That is the direction Mr. Vandendorpel was initially walking. The headlights of Mr. Evoy’s vehicle would have been visible from at least 100 metres away. Mr. Vandendorpel must not have looked north on Sooke Road as he began to cross the roadway because he did not see the headlights of Mr. Evoy’s vehicle until it was approximately 30 metres away from him. That is, until the vehicle was just about to enter the Intersection. At that point, the pedestrian control signal was still red and the traffic control signal was yellow. Notwithstanding all of this, Mr. Vandendorpel chose to run across the path of the on-coming car instead of standing fast or retreating.

[54]      I remain of the firm opinion that Mr. Vandendorpel showed a reckless disregard for his duties as a pedestrian on the roadway and conclude that his degree of fault for the accident is greater than that of Mr. Evoy.

[55]      The case authorities counsel provided me with respect to apportionment have been helpful. Each party’s degree of responsibility is to be decided by assessing the risk their respective conduct created, the effect of that risk, and the extent to which each party departed from the standard of reasonable care (see: MacDonald (Litigation guardian of) v. Goertz, 2008 BCSC 394, aff’d 2009 BCCA 358).

[56]      In my view, the risk Mr. Vandendorpel created when he chose to walk and then run across Sooke Road, into the path of Mr. Evoy’s on-coming vehicle created a much more significant risk than Mr. Evoy driving at a speed marginally above the speed limit on a dark morning with a wet roadway. Moreover, I find the departure from the standard of care expected of Mr. Vandendorpel as a pedestrian was much more pronounced than the departure of Mr. Evoy from his duty of care as a driver of a motor vehicle.

A timeline of events in an RCMP investigation at the B.C. legislature

A timeline of events surrounding an investigation by the RCMP into staff at the B.C. legislature:

January: Alan Mullen is hired by Speaker Darryl Plecas as a special adviser to work on issues of concern to him, which included an investigation of senior legislature staff.

August: Mullen provides information he has gathered to the RCMP.

Sept. 28: The RCMP privately asks the assistant deputy attorney general for the appointment of a special prosecutor to provide assistance in an investigation.

Oct. 1: Two special prosecutors are appointed, but their appointments are not made public.

Monday, Nov. 19: A request from Plecas to appoint Mullen as acting sergeant-at-arms is rejected by the legislature’s three party house leaders at a meeting to discuss placing sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and clerk of the house Craig James on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Tuesday, Nov. 20: The legislature votes unanimously to place the James and Lenz on administrative leave pending an investigation.

_ Later that day, the RCMP issues a statement saying it is aware of “the activities that took place” on Tuesday at the legislature. The statement continues: “The RCMP has an active investigation underway, with respect to allegations pertaining to their administrative duties, and we are not in a position to provide any other details or specifics. A thorough investigation is underway and will take the time necessary.”

_ The B.C. Prosecution Service also issues a statement announcing the appointment of the two special prosecutors to provide advice to the RCMP “in relation to an investigation being conducted into the activities of senior staff at the British Columbia legislature.”

Thursday, Nov. 22: Liberal house leader Mary Polak releases a sworn affidavit that makes public for the first time Plecas’s plan to appoint Mullen as acting sergeant-at-arms. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson says the public should be told more details about what happened this week.

How Cannabis Legalization Impacts Your Insurance Coverage

Source: the co-operators

The Cannabis Act, also known as Bill C-45, came into effect Oct. 17, legalizing recreational marijuana. Here’s how this landmark decision affects your Home, Auto and Life insurance.

Home insurance

In all provinces except Manitoba and Quebec, you can legally grow up to four cannabis plants on your property for personal use. These four plants are treated the same as any other legal plant on your property and are covered under your Home insurance policy. If you illegally exceed the number of plants allowed in your province or territory, your claim may be denied entirely.

Household members who smoke cannabis aren’t eligible for our non-smoker discount.

Auto insurance

Legislation introduced by the federal government improves roadside screening and implements new charges for driving while impaired by drugs, including cannabis. Driving while under the in fluence of cannabis is illegal and can result in increased auto insurance premiums. Learn more about the dangers of cannabis impaired driving.

Life insurance

If you use cannabis for medicinal purposes, you may be asked about your medical condition during the life insurance application process. While recreational cannabis use won’t impact your rates, heavy use could cause higher premiums or a declined application.

What else you need to know about cannabis

While it’s legal for adults to use cannabis in Canada, each province and territory has different rules. It’s your responsibility to know what’s legal and what isn’t in the province or territory where you live or visit, including:

  • The legal age
  • Where you can buy and use cannabis
  • How much cannabis you can possess

For more information on the cannabis laws, visit the federal government’s Cannabis in Canada website.

$55,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic But Not Disabling Neck and Shoulder Injury

Source: BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries sustained in a collision.

In today’s case (Young v. Shao) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 rear-end collision.  The Defendant admitted fault.  The crash resulted in chronic but non-disabling soft tissue injuries with a poor prognosis for full recovery.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $55,000 Madam Justice Adair provided the following reasons:

[81]        Based on my findings above, Ms. Young will continue to have chronic pain symptoms, particularly in her neck and shoulder. As a result of the injuries she sustained, her ability to participate in her most favourite past-time – dancing – was curtailed altogether for several months. When Ms. Young’s injuries had sufficiently healed to allow her to resume dancing, she could not engage in the activity to the same extent as before the accident. Dancing has always been a very important part of Ms. Young’s lifestyle. The effects of her injuries have also made Ms. Young’s ability to work – something else that is important to her and gives meaning to her life – more difficult. Although she has never missed work, she has had to work with pain, and will have to do so indefinitely.

[82]        On the other hand, I had no evidence that, as a result of the injuries, there was any impairment in Ms. Young’s family or social relationships. Indeed, only Ms. Young testified about how her life was affected. I did not hear from any friends, family members or co-workers. This was a significant feature of at least two of the cases cited by Mr. Vondette, which is not present here.

[83]        In view of my findings above, and taking into account the factors mentioned in Stapley (including Ms. Young’s age and stage of life) and the cases cited to me in argument, I conclude that a fair and reasonable award of non-pecuniary damages is $55,000.

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