In British Columbia, the rules of the road are laid out by the Motor Vehicle Act, many sections of which have direct impact on any personal injury claim you may make following a car accident. Following the rules of the MVA means that if you are involved in an accident and suffer an injury due to someone else’s actions, you reduce the likelihood that you will be held responsible for any of the fault.
In other words, doing your due diligence at all times, as laid out by the MVA, means you will be on the most solid legal ground possible, should you ever need to launch a personal injury claim following a motor vehicle accident.
To discuss your specific injury and motor vehicle accident with one of DBM’s personal injury lawyers, you can contact our Langley, Vancouver, or Coquitlam law offices here.
1. Holding the proper licence
It may seem an obvious one, but ensuring you have the correct licence for the vehicle you are operating is highly important. For example, although it’s a recreational vehicle, you still must hold a class 5, 6, 7, or 8 licence to drive an ATV or trike. A class 5 or 6 additionally allows you drive a car, van, truck, motorhome, and utility vehicle, whereas a class 7 or 8 will only additionally allows operation of a motorcycle.
Commercial vehicles have their own set of licence classes, which is important for all car owners to keep in mind as Uber and other “open source” driving services attempt to make in-roads into Vancouver and the Tri-Cities. This will constitute new legal ground, especially in regards to personal injury law, if and when these car services arrive in British Columbia.
Under the MVA, failing to hold the correct class of licence for the vehicle your operating is an offence on its own, and further greatly affects your ability to successfully win a personal injury claim should you have an accident while violating this law.
2. Duty of driver at accident
There are two different procedures that you as driver must follow in an accident, depending on where the accident occurs.
If the accident occurs while on the road with another vehicle in motion, you are required under the MVA to: 1) remain or return immediately to the scene; 2) give all reasonable assistance; and 3) provide contact information to the other driver, anyone suffering an injury, and any witnesses. If you’re involved in an accident with a parked vehicle or property, you must stop and leave a note, in an obvious place, that includes your your name, address, and licence number.
Failure to adhere to the duty of driver can affect the outcome of your personal injury claim, even if you were not at fault in the accident. DBM’s personal injury lawyers have decades of experience in this area of law; to speak with our Langley, Sechelt, or Coquitlam lawyers, you can call 604.939.8321.
3. Using electronic devices while driving
As our technological world advances, all of our laws keep closely behind. This is certainly true of the Motor Vehicle Act, which has prohibited the use of electronic devices by anyone operating a vehicle since 2010. And in June 2016, the fine for distracted driving doubled and the number of penalty points increased from 3 to 4.
Even if you are diligent and do not use your phone, either talking or texting, while you are driving, it is important to know the finer points of this section of the MVA. According to the law, “using” an electronic device not only includes actively speaking or texting on it, but merely having it in a position in which it may be used, or operating any of the device’s other functions, including switching between songs or checking your GPS settings.
Using the phone’s different functions carry a different weight than using it for communicating; however, it is important to realize that any level of distraction can affect the percentage of fault that may be attributed to you in your personal injury suit.
For more information on personal injury law, contact us here.
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