Canadian Underwriter

How this auto client got bus-ted

June 7, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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A British Columbia motorist whose sharp right turn made a bus brake suddenly has lost his dispute with the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

Wen Sheng Li was involved in an accident in Vancouver on June 1, 2018. ICBC found him 100% at fault.

Li tried unsuccessfully at the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) to pin liability on the bus driver, for not insisting that the injured passenger  be seated before the bus pulled out from the curb. In addition, he blamed the passenger who was injured for not having her fare ready in advance.

Li was driving east on West Cordova Street in the middle lane. A TransLink bus travelling in the same direction in the curb lane stopped just before Richards St. to pick up and drop off passengers.

As the bus resumed driving east of the stop, Li suddenly drove from the curb lane, into the right lane and turned right on Richards Street.

The bus stopped suddenly. Although a collision was avoided, the sudden stop caused a bus passenger, Jennifer Pook, to be injured.

Li took ICBC to the CRT, asking it to rule that he was not at fault and award him $2,500.

In Li v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia et al, released May 31, CRT member Sarah Orr ruled against Li.

TransLink’s video footage shows Li did not move into the curb lane until his front tires were at the crosswalk for Richards Street, Orr noted.

Li argued TransLink is liable and Pook is contributorily negligent for her injuries. The bus started moving before Pook tapped her pass. Li argued the bus driver either should have waited for Pook to tap her pass, or should have told her to hold on to something before the bus started moving.

The CRT disagreed.

“Bus drivers are not generally required to wait for passengers to be seated before proceeding unless they are obviously impaired in some way, carrying a child, or otherwise unable to hold on,” Orr wrote. “Although Ms. Pook was reaching for her pass at the time of the accident the evidence does not indicate that she was unable to hold on.”

Li also argued the injured passenger should have had her fare ready when boarding the bus.

But Orr countered there is no requirement for a bus passenger to have their fare ready before entering a bus, and Pook had no control over when the bus started moving.

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