Defendant 100% Liable For U-Turn Causing Accident

In Ferguson v. Wang, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision, and made an ICBC claim. The parties originally agreed to have a determination of liability only. The Plaintiff had originally stopped after dropping someone off. There was a gap between the Plaintiff’s vehicle and another vehicle parked behind the Plaintiff’s vehicle, with both vehicles facing the same direction. The Defendant, traveling in the opposite direction, made a U-Turn, attempting to enter the gap between the two aforementioned vehicles. At the same time that the Defendant was making a U-Turn, the Plaintiff began backing up, and was struck from behind by the Defendant. The Court held the Defendant to be 100% liable for the accident.


[41]         In my view, the u-turn performed by the defendant in an attempt to secure a parking spot across the street in a school zone where parents were busy dropping their children off for school was a maneuver fraught with danger.  Moreover, I am satisfied that the plaintiff’s backup lights were illuminated, that the defendant ought to have seen them and that he ought to have anticipated the plaintiff’s vehicle was in the process of reversing into the space the defendant was attempting to move into.  Captain MacPherson saw these backup lights.  Had the defendant been keeping a proper look out, he would have seen them as well.


[42]         The defendant has failed to satisfy me that the plaintiff was contributory negligent in any way.  


[43]         The law does not require perfection on the part of the plaintiff to guard himself against every conceivable eventuality.  He must only guard himself against those eventualities that a reasonable person ought to have foreseen, within the ordinary range of human experience.  The plaintiff was entitled to proceed on the assumption that all other vehicles would do what is there duty, namely observing the rules of traffic: Pacheco (Guardian ad Litem of) v. Robinson (1993), 75 B.C.L.R. (2d) 273 (C.A.) at para. 11; Dechev v. Judas, 2004 BCSC 1564 at para. 22.


[44]         The plaintiff checked the area around his vehicle by looking in his side and rear view mirrors and by looking over his right shoulder.  He did all that he ought to have done.  A reasonably prudent driver should not be expected to anticipate that while in the course of backing up, another vehicle will perform an aggressive and illegal u-turn from the other side of the street in an attempt to occupy the space behind him.

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