This personal injury lawsuit arose from a motor vehicle accident which occurred when a trailer swayed in the wind and broke off injuring the claimant. This was a successful application by the claimant pursuant to Rule 9 – 7 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules for judgment against the defendant on the issue of liability.
The court concluded that the presence of a cargo box at the rear of the trailer was probably a contributing cause of the trailer sway that led to the accident. The defendant said he was not negligent and there was no evidence that the hitch and braking systems for the trailer and towing vehicle were in any way inadequate. It was the defendant’s submission that it is equally reasonable to infer negligence or no negligence and the claimant loses since it is he who bears the legal burden on the issue:Michelle v. Doe, 2009 BCCA 225.
The judge did not agree finding that the defendant ought to have known that altering the trailer in the way he did would compromise the way in which the trailer operated and in particular, could cause trailer sway. The owner manual made express reference to this.
In finding the defendant completely at fault the judge found that the evidence established the defendant’s decision to affix a large box to the rear of the trailer and to load it with equipment made the trailer unsafe and the defendant ought reasonably to have known that.