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Negligence

No negligence defences in motor vehicle accident cases

It has been said that “there are situations where the facts merely whisper negligence, but there are other circumstances where they shout it aloud”[1], and certainly no type of accident shouts negligence louder than a rear end accident. However, in the recent case of Singleton v. Morris, 2010 BCCA 48 the British Columbia Court of Appeal affirmed the trial judge’s finding[2] that Ms. Morris was not negligent despite having rear ended Ms. Singleton at the bottom of a steep hill after a sudden downpour on the Sunshine Coast. Ms. Morris’s explanation was that there was oil on the road which was invisible to her as she approached it, and that but for the oil she would have been able to stop in time to avoid the accident. That explanation succeeded and the case raises again the principles to be applied when considering unusual fact patterns that allow defendants to assert the no negligence defences of “inevitable accident” and “explanation”.   
 
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The Duty to Provide for Aftercare in the Hospital Emergency Room

The Duty to Provide for Aftercare in the Hospital Emergency Room
 
The Court of Appeal has released its decision in Rollin v. Baker 2010 ONCA 569 (CanLII). The result is a reaffirmation of its decision in Tacknyk v. Lake of the Woods Clinic, [1982] O.J. No. 170 on the standard of care in after care.
 
Rollin broke her wrist in a fall suffering a classic injury known as a Colle’s fracture. She went to the hospital where her wrist was reset with closed reduction followed by the application of a cast. Unfortunately the wrist alignment did not remain in place and as various important follow up steps were not taken Rollin went on to suffer pain, disfigurement and limitations even after two corrective surgeries.  She sued the emergency room physician.
 
The trial judge found that the defendant fell below the standard of care by failing to follow proper x-ray procedures, failing to provide sufficient information about after-care, and failing to ensure either that Rollin’s family doctor was able to take responsibility for her care or that she was provided with an appropriate back-up. No appeal was taken from this first finding of negligence. The defendant appealed the other findings of negligence as well as the issue of causation.
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SCC Decision: May 22, 2008

Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Ltd., 2008 SCC 27
Click here to link to the full judgment.
(Torts / Negligence / Foreseeability)

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SCC Decision: May 8, 2008

Design Services Ltd. v. Canada, 2008 SCC 22
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(Negligence / Duty of care / Recovery for pure economic loss)

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SCC Decision: July 27, 2007

Syl Apps Secure Treatment Centre v. B.D., 2007 SCC 38
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(Torts / Negligence)
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SCC decision: February 8, 2006

Resurfice Corp. v. Hanke, 2007 SCC 7
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(Tort / foreseeability / causation / standard of review)
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