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Burnaby driver awarded $290K after Canada Way rear-ender

Ariel Alagar, 50, changed lanes on Canada Way to get around traffic bunched up behind a left-turning vehicle, but another car swerved in front of him. He stopped in time but was then rear-ended.
A red dot marks the approximate location of a 2017 rear-end collision that became the subject of a lawsuit.

A man who was rear-ended after trying to get around a left-turning vehicle on Canada Way in Burnaby has been awarded more than $290,000 in damages.

Ariel Alagar, 55, was driving northbound in the left lane of Canada way on Dec. 13, 2017 when he saw traffic in front of him start to bunch up behind a left-turning vehicle near Rosewood Street, according to a B.C. Supreme Court ruling Monday.

Alagar told the court he let several cars pass in the right lane before deciding it was safe to change lanes to get around the traffic.

Just as he was changing lanes, however, the driver in front of him also moved into the right lane “suddenly and without notice,” and Alagar had to come to a complete stop to avoid hitting her.

He said he was stopped for up to five seconds in the right lane, honking loudly at the other driver, when he was rear-ended by another vehicle.

In court, the driver of that vehicle, Fraser Mackay, said Alagar was at least partly responsible for the crash.

Mackay said the incident happened in “microseconds” and he was unable to stop, but B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather MacNaughton was not convinced.

She said the evidence showed Alagar had “fully established his vehicle in the right lane” before Mackay rear-ended him.

“He was established in the lane in front of Mr. Mackay who was then the rear-following vehicle,” MacNaughton wrote in her Feb. 13 decision. “If Mr. Alagar was able to stop to avoid colliding with (the car in front of him), Mr. Mackay should have been able to do so to avoid colliding with Mr. Alagar.”

Driving with due care and attention includes being on the lookout for “unexpected manoeuvres by other drivers,” MacNaughton said, and, because Mackay knew traffic had stopped in the left lane, he should have been “immediately aware of the need for caution.”

“It was not unexpected that one or more of the drivers in the left lane would move in front of him,” MacNaughton said. “In fact, a driver doing so was a significant possibility.”

She ruled Alagar was not at fault in the crash and awarded him a total of $290,371.59 in damages for pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, cost of future care and “special damages” as well as court costs.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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