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

Young Chilliwack girl raises more than $1,000 for family devastated by fire

Elementary school student’s $20 donation snowballs with matching funds

‘Fleet-footed’ Chilliwack Mountie catches B&E suspect in the act

Prolific thief David Stephen Wilgosh was already out on bail for a 2017 B&E

Transportation Plan for Chilliwack soon to be hot off the presses

The in-depth plan spans 17 chapters covering all the transportation-related challenges and projects

Chilliwack hockey fans, community, gather to pay tribute to Humboldt Broncos

Hundreds take part in Chilliwack Chiefs event at Prospera Centre

Crash closes Highway 1 near No. 3 Road

Both eastbound and westbound lanes affected

Unofficial “Mayor of Downtown Chilliwack” honoured by MLA in legislature

Harold Zinke has worked for 19 years to keep Chilliwack’s streets clean and events running smoothly

B.C. towns rank in top honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon, Kaslo, Sunshine Coast and the Island hit Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becomign viral video

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

VIDEO: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer

B.C. liquor server wage to be phased out by 2021

Piece work pay for farm workers rises, but stays in place for now

Vancouver Whitecaps sign 16-year-old B.C. player

Grade 10 student from Langley joins MLS club

VIDEO: Family asks for help finding remains of Surrey man missing for 10 years

Police suspect foul play in Kellen McElwee’s disappearance a decade ago

Most Read