In the recently published case of Rintoul v. Gabriele, 2011 BCSC 858, Mr. Justice Saunders awarded close to a million dollars in combined damages to a 27 year old woman who was knocked to the ground by a motor vehicle as she was walking across the intersection of Richards St. and Dunsmuir St. in downtown Vancouver. Among other things, the Plaintiff suffered a significant head injury.
Duty of Pedestrians in Traffic
With respect to the issue of liability, the Court found that Ms. Rintoul had the right of way when she stepped off the curb at the intersection. The Court further found that the Defendant did not indicate an intention to turn prior to accelerating into the crosswalk and was not a known danger. As to Ms. Rintoul’s duties as a pedestrian, the Court noted as follows:
 It is common ground that even if a pedestrian has the right of way, the common-law duty to use care for one’s own safety remains active. A pedestrian who steps into the path of a known danger will generally be held contributorily negligent: British Columbia Electric Railway. Co. v. Farrer,  S.C.R. 757
 Where a pedestrian has the right of way, the burden is on the defendant driver to show that the pedestrian ought to have known that the driver was not going to yield the right of way, and to show that at the point when the pedestrian ought to have had that knowledge, the pedestrian could reasonably have acted to avoid injury: Feng v. Graham (1988), 25 B.C.L.R. (2d) 116 (C.A.); Dionne v. Romanick, 2007 BCSC 436.
 I do not find that the defendant has discharged that onus.
 Ms. Rintoul’s congenital phocomelia decreased her ability to recover balance, and in addition, as she cannot break a fall, left her more vulnerable to injury in a fall. To that extent, the risk to her of injury as a pedestrian, if involved in an accident, was greater than that of the general population, and her duty to care for her own safety accordingly was higher. But as a pedestrian, Ms. Rintoul was not under an obligation to make eye contact with the drivers of stopped vehicles to ensure she had been seen. She was not obliged to keep a constant eye on stopped vehicles in anticipation that they might suddenly accelerate towards her. Nor was she obliged to keep a distance from every vehicle in her immediate vicinity sufficient to allow her react if a vehicle suddenly became a danger.
Damages in ICBC Injury Case
The Court awarded Ms. Rintoul $175,000 in non-pecuniary damages (approximately half of the upper limit allowed by the courts for this type of award).