Canadians, compared to people of other countries, are not as likely to sue over things like hot coffee spills or fender benders. That’s not to say that Canadians don’t sue at all, but they tend to wait for the insurance companies to take care of cases instead of suing an individual over something like an impaired driving crash.
But the tide seems to be turning with respect to drunk driving, and for the second time in one year there’s been a lawsuit filed over an impaired driving crash involving death. The most recent case is notable because it involves the family of Cst. Sarah Beckett, a West Shore Vancouver police officer who was on duty and driving near Langford, B.C. in May of 2016.
She was struck by a truck near an intersection and she died at the scene. The man who hit her received multiple charges including impaired driving causing death. He was also charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm and flight causing bodily harm for another crash that happened after he killed Cst. Beckett.
The offender is currently in jail serving a four-year sentence, with the possibility of qualifying for full parole in November of 2018. The family has now filed a claim in BC Supreme Court to seek unspecified damages for loss of the guidance and companionship of their wife and mother, loss of household income, and loss of support.
Another high profile impaired driving crash has resulted in a law suit in Ontario on behalf of the Neville-Lake family. They’ve sued Marco Muzzo and his family’s construction company for more than $25 million dollars after he caused an impaired driving crash that killed three young children and their grandfather.
No outcome has been reported in either case, but if successful this could be the first of a wave of litigation from impaired driving crashes. Maybe this is exactly what Canadian drunk drivers need as a wake up call: if you drink and drive, you could get sued too.