Liability needs to be reviewed in multi-car accident

December 07, 2014, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

A man from Wellesley was killed in a multi vehicle accident on December 5.  The three vehicle accident occurred on Highway 59 between Maplewood Sideroad and Oxford Road 34, just south of Tavistock.  At approximately 6:00pm the deceased was driving his car and struck the back of a grain bin that was being towed by a farm tractor.  The car then spun into the path of a pickup truck coming in the opposite direction.  The driver was 40 years old and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.  There was a 5 year old boy in the car who was taken to hospital with what were reported as non-life threatening injuries.  The driver of the pickup truck was also taken to hospital.  The driver of the tractor was not hurt in the accident.

In the late fall there are many more farm tractors on the road as farmers are harvesting their crops and delivering the crops to the local feed mill.  This requires the tractors to pull one or two grain bins that are fully loaded with the crops from the harvest.  Given the weight of these bins, the build of the tractors and farm equipment, they are not designed or capable of driving at the posted speed along the rural roads.  It is important that all drivers are aware of the traffic on the rural roads.  It is also very important that all vehicles that are moving at less than the posted speed limit take all precautions to ensure that they are visible to vehicles coming up behind them.  This includes reflective markings and lighted signals so as to alert upcoming vehicles about a slow moving farm tractor on the road in front of them.  When an accident occurs, it is important to do a thorough investigation to try and determine what happened in the accident.  Did all vehicles take all reasonable and necessary precautions in the circumstances?  There are provincial guidelines that outline the markings that are required.  In addition to the appropriate markings, it is also necessary to determine whether all parties drove properly.  In assessing liability, there can be a sharing of liability, which is referred to as contributory negligence.  Simply put, the question is whose actions contributed to the accident occurring and what percentage of liability do they share in the circumstances. This is referred to as contributory negligence.  For example, if a person crosses a road mid block and is struck by a car, then they will likely be found to be at fault for the accident as well as the driver.  The degree of fault will depend on a wide range of circumstances that are relevant to the specific fact situation.  It is not an all or nothing assessment.  If there is some fault with both parties then the courts will assess the degree of fault to the parties involved.  The total will equal 100%.  If a party is clearly at fault than they will be found to be 100% at fault, like in a rear end car accident.  If two or more parties are involved, then the courts will review and assess liability among the parties at fault, so that the combined total is 100%.  Private investigators or accident reconstruction experts, like an engineer, can be of great assistance in sorting out liability amongst the parties involved. 

Posted under Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Fractures, Slip and Fall Injury, Truck Accidents

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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