What is the test for determining liability in a motor vehicle collision?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Vezmarovic v. Kamal, 1998 CanLII 3835 (BC SC):

The test for assessing liability is set out in the reasons of Cartwright J. (as he then was) in Walker v. Brownlee and Harmon 1952 CanLII 328 (SCC), [1952] 2 D.L.R. 450 (S.C.C.) at 461: While the decision of every motor vehicle collision case must depend on its particular facts, I am of the opinion that when A, the driver in the servient position, proceeds through an intersection in complete disregard of his statutory duty to yield the right-of-way and a collision results, if he seeks to cast any portion of the blame upon B, the driver having the right-of-way, A must establish that after B became aware, or the exercise of reasonable care should have become aware, of A's disregard of the law B had in fact a sufficient opportunity to avoid the accident of which a reasonable careful and skilful driver would have availed himself; and I do not think that in such circumstances any doubts should be resolved in favour of A, whose unlawful conduct was fons et origo mali.

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