West Vancouver to pay $93,000 to elderly woman who fell into meter box

The 74-year-old suffered cuts, bruises and scrapes as she was walking to Shoppers Drug Mart

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered the District of West Vancouver to pay a 74-year-old woman $93,000 after she fell into an open meter box.

According to court documents released Tuesday, Patricia Curtiss crossed the street in front of her office at lunch time, going to a Shoppers Drug Mart, on July 13, 2015.

As she stepped onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street, she tripped on the lid of an open meter box and fell in. The concrete chamber houses the district’s water connection service to the drugstore and measures just over two feet wide and three feet deep.

The woman suffered cuts, scrapes and bruises to various parts of her body, including her forehead, nose, upper lip, hands, lower legs and left inner thigh.

The “happy, active and productive” woman also had “throbbing” headaches that lasted for the better part of a year, and she still has occasional balance problems.

It wasn’t clear how the lid to the meter box got dislodged, but Curtiss told the court vehicles had been driving over the lid. The sidewalk was flush with the roadway, allowing cars to drive onto it without hitting a curb.

But she said the lid was rated only for pedestrian use, not vehicle use.

Curtiss alleged that had the district installed a proper lid, it wouldn’t have become dislodged and she wouldn’t have been hurt.

The district denied it was liable for Curtiss’ injuries because it did own the meter or the sidewalk.

Officials said district staff should not have had to foresee that vehicles may drive over the meter lid when it was choosing which one to install, and said that any vehicle that drove over it would have to be “driving in an unreasonable and dangerous manner.”

However, Marchand said it was “reasonably foreseeable” that cars driving over the box could damage the lid or cause it to fail.

He said the meter could have been installed further back from the sidewalk or that more could have been done to shield it from traffic.

Marchand concluded that the lid did not meet the standard required and that “an ordinary, reasonable and prudent designer” would have installed a lid capable of withstanding vehicle traffic.

Curtiss was awarded non-pecuniary damages of $85,000, special damages of $4,274, and damages for cost of future care of $3,800.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fraser Health patients to see 23% more knee, hip replacement surgeries

First-available surgeon approach will reduce waitlists, B.C. health minister says

Proper engagement needed for quarry development: expert

Impact on residents, species should be communicated, evaluated

Wildlife centre operator concerned about leg-hold traps

Elizabeth Melnick of Abbotsford says contraptions are injuring innocent animals

Upper Fraser Valley RCMP members named to Alexa’s Team

Team honours officers working to keep drunk drivers off the roads, in honour of girl killed in 2008

Festival society releases full lineup for 40th Harrison Festival of the Arts

Legendary singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and rock band Chilliwack among performers at 2018 festival

VIDEO: Harrison gets uncorked at wine festival

Locally prepared food was paired with a wide variety of wines at the Saturday fundraiser

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Protesters argue both sides of B.C.’s SOGI curriculum at teachers’ union office

The sexual orientation and gender identity program was launched as a pilot project last year

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Saskatchewan introduces law to allow control of oil, gas exports

The Prairie province has already said it is supporting Alberta in a dispute with B.C. over the Trans Mountain pipeline

Most Read