Digest: Beahm v Smith, 2018 SKQB 340

Date:December 05, 2018

Reported as: 2018 SKQB 340

Docket Number: QBG 1261/18 JCR , QB18324

Court: Court of Queen's Bench

Date: 2018-12-05

Judges:

  • Kalmakoff

Subjects:

  • Civil Procedure � Appeal � Standard of Review
  • Small Claims � Appeal � Liability in Automobile Accident � Liability for Deductible
  • Small Claims � Torts � Negligence

Digest: The appellant backed out of his driveway and when he got into the street his vehicle collided with a vehicle being driven by the respondent. The respondent had just backed out of the driveway of a house on the opposite side of the street. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) initially determined that the appellant and defendant were each 50 percent at fault for the collision and each had to pay half of their deductible. At a trial commenced by the respondent, the trial judge found the appellant 100 percent at fault for the collision. The appellant appealed that decision. The respondent testified that she had backed out of a parking pad and was just going to drive forward when the appellant backed into her vehicle. A witness also testified to seeing the accident on behalf of the respondent. The appellant testified that both parties backed out at the same time and hit one another in the middle of the street. The trial judge first considered whether the appellant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. He said that the plaintiff and defendant both had a duty to keep a proper lookout and to move their vehicles backward only when it was safe to do so. He found that the respondent�s vehicle was on the move first, so the appellant fell below the required standard of care. He fell below the standard of a reasonably careful and prudent driver when backing out onto a busy street. The appellant�s issues on appeal related to: 1) trial fairness concerns, because he was not represented by counsel; and 2) the trial judge�s findings of fact regarding contradictions in the evidence.
HELD: The standard of review on questions of law is correctness, while the standard is a �palpable and overriding error� with respect to findings of fact. The issues were dealt with as follows: 1) questions relating to trial fairness are questions of law. At the outset of the trial, the judge explained the process to the appellant and asked him if he had any questions. The appellant did not ask any questions. The trial judge also assisted the appellant during the trial. Before the appellant cross-examined the respondent, the
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