Court dismisses plaintiff's claim finding accident "never happened"

In reasons for judgment released today, the court in Chaube v. Neja, 2017 BCSC 1415, dismissed the plaintiff's claim finding the alleged car accident "never happened".  In Chaube, the plaintiff alleged she had been injured when the taxi she was in collided with an unknown car while backing out of a parking stall.  The defence argued that no collision occurred, but that the taxi driver simply applied his brakes and stopped.  In agreeing with the defence and dismissing the claim, Mr. Justice N. Smith said as follows:

[1]             The plaintiff, Rekha Chaube, seeks damages for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle collision that the defendants say never happened.

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[3]             The plaintiff said that as the taxi was backing out of its parking space, it collided with another vehicle that had apparently just entered the parking lot. However, the defendant driver testified that he saw the other vehicle and stopped in time to avoid a collision. The other vehicle and its driver remain unidentified.

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[24]         In a case where the conflicting testimony of the parties cannot be weighed against any other testimony, there is simply no basis on which I could find the plaintiff’s evidence to be more reliable than the defendant driver’s. That means that, on the critical question of whether a collision occurred, the plaintiff has failed to meet the burden of proof.

[25]         Counsel for the plaintiff argued that, even if there was no collision, the defendant driver’s own evidence shows that he was negligent and that a sudden stop was capable of causing the plaintiff’s soft tissue injuries.

[26]         The theory of a sudden, hard stop without a collision does not accord with anyone’s evidence. The plaintiff was adamant that there was a collision that she both felt and heard. The defendant driver agreed that his stop was “quick” and was necessary to avoid a collision, but did not agree that he had to “slam on the brakes”. He said he had travelled only a very short distance at a very slow speed.

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[32]         I repeat that the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant driver did not meet the applicable standard of care. I find that she has failed to satisfy that burden of proof and her action must be dismissed with costs.

The text of the full decision can be found here:  http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/14/2017BCSC1415.htm