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Failure to Wear a Seatbelt Results in 25% Reduction

This personal injury taxi passenger was accused of failing to wear a seatbelt, resulting in his own injury. The collision occurred while the claimant was a passenger in a taxi at 12th Avenue near Larch Street in Vancouver.

Taxi Seatbelts

The claimant admitted he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the car accident, even though a seatbelt was available to him. Many people believe it is not necessary to wear a seatbelt in a taxi. However, without a seat belt he hit the seat in front of him with his shoulders and then hit the seat behind him, striking his right lower back on a hard object, which they suggest was likely the seatbelt buckle. 

The judge was satisfied that the seatbelt was operating properly at the time. The court was also satisfied the injuries injuries would have been reduced or prevented had he been wearing a seatbelt.

In finding the taxi passenger 25% at fault for failure to wear a seatbelt the Supreme Court had this to say:

[117]  In light of Mr. S’s own evidence, it is clear that if he had been wearing a seatbelt it would have prevented him from launching forward, striking the back of the seat in front of him and then lurching backwards with as much momentum.  A reasonable common-sense inference can be drawn that this would have prevented or minimized his injuries.  Therefore, I am of the view that Mr. was 25% contributorily negligent and that his damages should be reduced accordingly. (Spence v. Yellow Cab Company Ltd.,2019 BCSC 1540)

Taxi driver’s may be permitted to drive between local sites without wearing a seatbelt. In fact, taxi drivers are exempt from wearing seatbelts at speeds less than 70 Kmh. However this does not apply to passengers in a taxi.

Furthermore, without a seatbelt the court is open to blame the claimant, as in this case, for contributing to their own injury.

ICBC Minor Damage Defence Fails

Tags: contributory negligence, Failure to wear seat belt, Use of Seatbelt

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