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Injury constitutes an accident, Office of the Director of Arbitrations rules


May 9, 2008   by Canadian Underwriter


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Ontario’s Office of the Director of Arbitrations has dismissed an appeal of an arbitrator’s decision that an injury incurred when stepping off of a public transit bus did constitute an “accident” as defined in s. 2(1) of the SABS-1996.
In TTC Insurance Company Limited and Victor Mariano, Mariano had been riding a northbound bus in Toronto at 5:20 a.m. in May 2005. Due to an illegally parked truck, the bus could not pull into the bus bay and the passengers instead were discharged onto the street and had to walk to the curb. After taking two steps, Mariano tripped over a raised hump of asphalt and struck his head on the curb.
The arbitrator found that when the bus stopped on the roadway, “the bust set in motion an unbroken chain of events which resulted in Mr. Mariano tripping on the asphalt.”
While Mariano tripped on the asphalt, which caused the injuries, “this was ‘ancillary’ to Mr. Mariano being compelled to disembark from the bus onto the dark roadway,” the arbitrator noted.
It was found that Mariano was engaged in normal activity required by the use of the bus disembarking and on his way to catch another bus. “I find that Mr. Marian’s fall and injuries resulting from his attempt to leave the bus ‘were within the realm of risks associated with motoring and, in particular with the use of a public transit vehicle,” the arbitrator wrote. “Accordingly, I find that the use of a motor vehicle, the TTC bus, caused an uninterrupted chain of events ending in Mr. Mariano’s injuries.”
The Office of the Director of Arbitration was satisfied that the arbitrator had considered relevant law and applied it and thereby dismissed the appeal.