Carr v. Anderson, [2000] O.J. No. 2515 (Sup. Ct. of J.)

Carr is an example of a pedestrian-motor vehicle collision where the defendant driver hit the plaintiff pedestrian in attempting to escape from a dangerous situation created by the pedestrian.  Carr stands for the proposition that even in extreme circumstances the defendant driver owes the plaintiff pedestrian a duty to avoid a collision.

In Carr, the plaintiff was operating his vehicle directly in front of the defendant’s vehicle.  Suddenly, the plaintiff stopped his vehicle and got out.[1]  The plaintiff approached the defendant’s vehicle with a six-inch combat knife.  The plaintiff punctured the front left wheel of the defendant’s vehicle and proceeded (knife-in-hand) towards the defendant’s driver door. The defendant escaped the situation by sharply accelerating around the plaintiff’s parked vehicle and away from the plaintiff.   In the process of driving around the plaintiff’s vehicle, the defendant’s vehicle made contact with the plaintiff, causing a severe tibia-fibula fracture.

At paragraph 22, the court found that the defendant had not discharged the onus to prove that the plaintiff’s damages were sustained without any negligence on the defendant’s part.

The court accepted that the plaintiff’s conduct put the defendant in a justifiably perceived situation of emergency.   However, the court concluded that the defendant did not need to accelerate sharply from a stopped position and a lower rate of speed would have permitted the plaintiff to avoid contact.

The court found the defendant negligent and the plaintiff contributory negligent.   In accordance with Section 4 of the Negligence Act the court apportioned the liability 50/50.

[1] In court, the plaintiff claimed that he had been rear-ended by the defendant.  However, the judge did not accept this evidence.

Alexander Rozine is an Associate at D’Angela Fox Vanounou LLP, a plaintiff-side personal injury firm in Toronto.