As Vancouver upgrades its mass transit and increased traffic makes personal vehicles less desirable, we are likely to see more people riding mass transit and shared transportation, which is likely to increase the total amount of personal injuries arising from these modes of transportation. In a recent Supreme Court of British Columbia, a man was awarded approximately $1,000,000 after sustaining an injury on a Greyhound Bus that was found to be entirely the fault of the bus driver:
The plaintiff in the above case was awarded a settlement just shy of $1,000,000. The majority of his claim arose from his inability to return to work and Past Wage Losses. Much of the evidence in this case relied on the Plaintiff’s own “self-reporting” to doctors, as there was little objective evidence of injury. However, the judge accepted the majority of the Plaintiff’s evidence.
There a few issues specific to injuries involving mass transit and shared modes of transportation. A major one is insurance coverage. In situations where you have many people injured in one incident, issues with insurance coverage can arise. When an insurance policy does cover the total amounts of the claims against it not all parties may be able to actually receive the funds they are awarded. For example if an insurance policy limit is $2,000,000 but 4 plaintiffs are awarded $1,000,000 each, it’s not possible to pay out all the plaintiffs in full from that policy.
When, as in the above case, a Greyhound bus driver is at fault for the accident, insurance policies become less of an issue. Large bus and transit companies like Greyhound and Translink have large insurance policies and lots of assets. However, this might not be the case with small bus services providing shuttle buses or “party buses”. Often these services are run by smaller companies with small insurance policies and few assets. While a large settlement is great, actually collecting that settlement may be another issue entirely.