Our lawyers deal with these general negligence questions every day. At the same time, we stay sharply focused on the facts of a given case.

We Have Extensive Experience Proving Negligence and Recovering Damages From Negligent Parties in BC

In common use, the term “negligence” is easy enough to understand — it means carelessness, thoughtlessness or the failure to anticipate the consequences of hasty action or poor planning. In the legal sense, negligence can be complex. Winding back the facts of an accident, the resulting damages and the relationships between the parties involved can be extremely complicated. Errors or oversights along the way can mean the difference between success and failure in negligence litigation.

If you or someone in your family was injured through the carelessness of someone else, contact Murphy Battista LLP for a free consultation about the facts of your case and your legal options. You’ll see how a team of experienced professionals analyzes and confronts the legal and evidentiary problems that can lie hidden beneath the surface of your negligence claim.

Direct and Indirect Negligence in Car Accident Cases

Motor vehicle accident cases can involve both direct and indirect negligence. For example, serious injuries caused by a drunk driver might exceed the available ICBC coverage. Our lawyers will investigate and determine whether additional negligent acts or omissions by others also played a role in the accident, aggravated the injuries or otherwise made your losses worse. While these acts or omissions may not have been a direct cause of your injuries if they contributed to your situation that indirect link may mean you are entitled to compensation from these parties. For example, in drunk driving cases, we will investigate whether the intoxicated driver was over-served at a bar or restaurant, immediately prior to the accident which could lead to a negligence action against the establishment.

Similarly, our lawyers may look into the design and maintenance of the highway, intersection or crossing where the accident occurred. Defective road design or negligent repair might have played as great a role in causing the crash as the other driver’s carelessness, and we know how to pursue claims against local or provincial government agencies for negligence.

Whether your accident was caused or aggravated by bad judgment in beverage service or a poor decision made by a pursuing officer following a third party in a high-speed chase, our lawyers take a comprehensive view of the cumulative effects of negligent actions and omissions by anyone directly or indirectly involved in causing your injuries.

The key element in legal analysis is the ability to show that a reasonable person under the circumstances would have acted differently from the defendant whose actions or omissions are under review. It is also essential to show a causal link between the negligent acts or omissions and the injuries or losses actually suffered.

Note: If you have been injured in a car accident in BC, even if you are at fault or partly at fault for the accident, you are entitled to ICBC Accident Benefits (sometimes called no-fault accident benefits). There have been changes to BC legislation that came into effect April 1, 2019 that impact these benefits.

The duty of care owed by one person to another in modern society also varies with particular situations. A reasonable level of care for someone walking down the street might well be different from the duty of care that a surgeon must fulfill in the operating theatre.

To learn more about the ways you can benefit from our understanding of BC negligence law, contact us for a free consultation.


Disclaimer: The outcome of every legal proceeding will vary according to the facts and unique circumstances in each individual case. References to successful case results where the lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP have acted for clients are not necessarily a guarantee or indicative of future results.

Kevin Gourlay represented a client who was one of four people injured by a driver who lost consciousness and pressed the accelerator. The trial judge dismissed the case on the basis that the driver had an unexpected coughing episode. Kevin worked with appeal counsel who successfully overturned the lower court decision and awarded a new trial. The Court of Appeal found that the trial judge made a palpable (obvious) and overriding (significant) error in assessing the evidence of another passenger.  This case illustrates the lengths that Murphy Battista LLP will go on behalf of their clients.

Jeff Nieuwenburg acted for the plaintiff on an appeal regarding a finding of contributory negligence on her part and failure to mitigate her damages. The appeal was successful in part with the court finding there was no evidence that the plaintiff failed to follow a treatment, that would have decreased her damages and the failure to mitigate finding was set aside. In the result, this meant that the plaintiff was entitled to recoup the 75% reduction that had been applied to her damages award for failure to mitigate.

Scott Stanley and Paul Bosco represented a young woman who was the victim of horrible burns following an explosion at a backyard fire pit. The tenant poured a bucket of used motor oil on the fire, causing it to explode. The landlord, who happened to be the City of Burnaby, had been warned the tenant had fires in the past, which was contrary to their own bylaw prohibiting open fires, but did nothing about this. In the course of a month-long jury trial, the court accepted the arguments of Mr. Stanley and Mr. Bosco that (1) a duty of care was owed by the landlord to the victim, a visitor to the premises, (2) it was impossible for the victim to be found at all at fault for the incident and her injuries, and (3) only basic factual questions should be put to the jury for consideration. The jury ultimately awarded the victim a total of $4.56 million.

Jeffrey Nieuwenburg acted for the plaintiff on an application by the plaintiff for production of documents from the defendant which include liability documents, privileged documents from its list of documents, and an affidavit of documents. The plaintiff also sought costs. There was a 15-day jury trial in this matter scheduled for February 2018.

Scott Stanley, Brian Brooke and Jeff Nieuwenberg acted for the plaintiff who alleged that the defendant municipality was negligent in its winter maintenance of the road where the accident that injured the plaintiff had occurred. The plaintiff claimed her injuries disabled her from working and most activities of daily living. While the Jury found the parties shared liability it awarded the plaintiff damages of $3,576,600. The Jury also found the plaintiff had failed to mitigate her damages. The plaintiff later appealed and was partly successful in that the BC Court of Appeal set aside the Jury finding that she had failed to mitigate her damages (see: Rhodes v. Surrey (City), 2016 BCSC 1880).

Brian Brooke, J. Scott Stanley, and Jeffrey Nieuwenburg were co-counsel for the plaintiff who was awarded $790,000 in damages as compensation for suffering a significant brain injury . The injury was the result of a shove in retaliation for the Plaintiff teasing the Defendant in the aftermath of a bachelor party. The BC court reviewed the law regarding liability in connection with stag parties and in the result awarded the firm’s client $790,000 in damages.


Stephen Gibson represented the Plaintiff who was injured by a slide tackle during a recreational soccer game, by an unregistered, unidentified player from the opposing team. The rules of the game were stipulated in the registration documentation, which provided for a non-contact and no-slide tackling rule, which was unlike normal FIFA rules. The primary issue during the summary trial was whether the Defendants owed a duty of care to the Plaintiff, whether the Defendants fell below the standard of care, and whether the Plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the Defendants’ acts. The court ruled that the Plaintiff was sufficiently proximate to the Defendants to be owed a duty of care, that the Defendants fell below the standard of care by not ensuring all players were familiar with the modified rules of the game, and that the failure to inform all players of the modified rules, caused the unidentified player to slide tackle the Plaintiff. The Defendants were found to be 100% liable for the Plaintiff’s damages.

Scott Stanley and Irina Kordic acted for the Plaintiff in this proceeding involving an eye injury that occurred on September 12, 2007. The Plaintiff was helping the Defendant, Destiny Elizabeth Smith, with some renovations on her home and was being assisted by her adult autistic son, Kyle Alexander Keyes. The Plaintiff was not wearing safety glasses; knew the son was autistic; and asked the son to assist him.

The son was holding a board for the Plaintiff and moved unexpectedly while the Plaintiff was about to strike the board with a hammer. This caused the Plaintiff’s hammer to strike another piece of metal which resulted in a metal splinter entering the Plaintiff’s eye and the eventual loss of this eye.

The Plaintiff claimed that the Defendant, Destiny Elizabeth Smith, was liable for permitting her autistic son to work with the Plaintiff and for failing to warn him about the dangers of working with her autistic son.

The case went to trial on May 30, 2011 and was heard by a Judge and Jury. The jury found that the Defendant, Destiny Elizabeth Smith, was 20% liable for the injuries to Mr. Laurie.

Joe Murphy, K.C. represented the plaintiff who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury at a night club. The plaintiff had been about to start a legal career at the time of the accident. The court awarded $5,934,712 for the loss of a career that ended before it began.

Stephen Gibson and Irina Kordic represented the Plaintiff who was 6 years old when he was struck by a motor vehicle and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Eight years after the accident, the Plaintiff’s mother sought assistance from the Defendant for medical benefits. The benefits were denied on the basis that the limitation period expired 2 years after the last payment made by I.C.B.C., despite the Plaintiff being a minor when the limitation expired. The Plaintiff alleged negligence against the adjuster, and bad faith against I.C.B.C. The Plaintiff was successful on a summary trial application by the Defendant to strike the Plaintiff’s claim, and the Defendant appealed. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Plaintiff’s claims would not be struck, and that they were permitted to proceed to trial on the basis that it was not plain and obvious that the Plaintiff was owed a duty of care to be informed of a lapsing limitation, or that the limitation date had expired. This was a novel finding of law in the area of potential negligence by an insurance adjuster in administering first party claims.

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