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Chris Bacon represents victim of police chase collision in Burnaby

DBM Law Blog

In Radke v. M.S. et al, 2005 BCSC 1355, our client, Mr. Radke, sustained a permanent partial disability after being t-boned in an intersection by a young offender driving a stolen Honda who blew a stop sign while trying to evade the RCMP. This was definitely a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police pursuit lasted all of a minute but unfortunately during that time our client was seriously injured. With the car being stolen and the blameworthy thief uninsured our client had little choice but to sue the RCMP when his Uninsured Motorist Policy would not cover his substantial injuries.
The RCMP claimed the chase had not been at high speeds but this was contradicted by witnesses in the car driven by the young offender. Also, given the extent of our client’s injuries we had questions about this supposed “slow speed chase” and proceeded to investigate. As it turned out, the constable had come across the stolen car while investigating an unrelated B&E in the same neighbourhood. Instead of disabling the car or taking precautions to insure he had sufficient back up to block the stolen car from escaping the constable focused on trying to apprehend the thief when he returned. The result was a police pursuit in a residential neighbourhood.
On behalf of our client we raised the issue of whether the constable had properly followed police pursuit procedure given that the primary principle of that procedure is public safety. In the end, the court found that the collision injuring our client was a consequence of the police pursuit and because the constable had the opportunity and means to disable the vehicle and should have done so and further could have avoided the chase by making sure other police vehicles were available to cut off the thief’s escape, he was negligent and partially responsible for our client’s injuries. Since the Province is liable for the conduct of its police officers it too was liable to our client under the legal principle of joint and several liability. While the judge found that the young offender was 85% responsible for the collision she also found the RCMP constable (and through him the Province) 15% liable for Mr. Radke’s injuries.
The Attorney General appealed the ruling on behalf of the Province but lost and the matter was settled out of court. You can read the appeal court’s decision in Radke v. M.S. (Litigation guardian of) 2007 BCCA 216.


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