15 Oct Have You Been In More Than One Accident?

Nowadays it’s not unusual for people to be in more than one motor vehicle accident in their lifetime. Some people are unfortunate enough to be involved in three or four accidents, or more.  Being in multiple accidents is difficult because the person may still be recovering from injuries from the first accident when the second accident occurs, and so on.  You may wonder how the courts deal with these kinds of cases.

The issue is whether or not the injuries from one accident should be considered separately from or together with the injuries from subsequent accidents.   In legal terms, the court has to determine whether the person’s injuries are “divisible” from each other or “indivisible”.

In Schnurr v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2015 BCSC 1630, the Plaintiff was injured in six separate collisions that occurred over an 11-year time span.  The Court discussed whether her injuries were divisible or indivisible.  The first three collisions happened prior to 2007 and were settled in 2007.  After that settlement, the Plaintiff was involved in three subsequent collisions (2007, 2010 and 2012) which were the subject of this lawsuit.

The Plaintiff argued that the injuries from all six collisions were indivisible and that the Court ought to award damages for all the collisions.  Using this approach, the amount of the previous settlements would be deducted from the ultimate award.

The Defendant argued that the injuries from the previously settled collisions were divisible from the injuries alleged in the present litigation.  Using this approach, the Plaintiff’s 2007 baseline would be determined and she would be awarded damages for injuries relating to the last three collisions only.

The Court rejected the Plaintiff’s argument for two main reasons.  Firstly, the Plaintiff provided minimal evidence regarding the first three collisions.  Secondly, the Plaintiff did not provide enough information regarding her condition prior to the initial collision, so the Court could not determine her baseline at that point in time.  The Plaintiff also had other medical conditions prior to the initial collision that complicated the assessment.

In contrast, the Court found that after the 2007 settlement, the Plaintiff’s condition stabilized and there was sufficient information to accurately determine her condition immediately prior to the 2007 collision.  As a result, the Court used the divisible injuries approach.

Using this approach, the Court awarded the Plaintiff $98,250 in damages.

These cases can be complex.  Whether the court determines your injuries are divisible or indivisible can be an important distinction and impact your damages assessment.  Our firm is experienced in these kinds of cases and can help you get the best results for your specific case.