Q&A - Using Small Claims Court for Collision Damages

Q&A ImageTwo years ago an elderly woman ran into me with her personal go-cart. She hit me from behind, at full throttle as I sat on a chair in the back row of an outdoor concert. The force of the collision was enough to drive me and my chair under the chair of the man in front of me. Her intent was to stop and park, but she was white-knuckled on the throttle and her attendant daughter was not paying attention.

As a result my back is permanently injured and will affect me off-and-on for the rest of my life. I made inquiries and found out that anyone who can come up with $3500 can purchase one of those 'vehicles' and off they go. They cannot be licensed or insured; and there is no recourse for injuries sustained other than to sue the family. As I too am a senior living on a rather skimpy pension a lawsuit is out of the question.

There do not seem to be any enforceable rules for operation. When I went to talk with the woman's daughter, who runs an insurance agency, she nearly threw me out and her attitude was, 'So, too bad, you should be more mindful when out in public.' The old lady has subsequently died but I still warn people to keep their 'heads up' because they can get you from the front or back at a moment's notice and no one seems to care.

Comments

Answer

Let's set the stage a bit more clearly to start with, under BC laws the users of motorized wheelchairs are considered to be pedestrians. Nonetheless, they are responsible for their actions when operating the machines.

If they refuse to be responsible for damage or injury that they cause, they may be sued, but a lawyer is not necessary when the total damages in the suit amount to less than $25,000.00.

Small Claims Court is a "do it yourself" venue where ordinary people handle their own cases without having to hire a lawyer.

Even though the lady responsible has died, there is a possibility that you could make a successful claim against her estate.

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