News Update – April 29, 2021

Court Intercedes and Flips “Lyft Accident” – Not a Direct Cause

Earlier we reported on K.P. v Aviva (19-004361) whereby the Vice-Chair found that the Applicant falling while walking towards a waiting Lyft vehicle was involved in an “accident” as defined in the Schedule. It was found that the “trip” began when the Lyft driver accepted the ride request and the fall occurred while the Lyft car was waiting to continue the trip. We further reported the Vice-Chair doubling down on her decision, hearing her own Reconsideration. There were found to be two direct causes, being the weather and the distance needed to travel to access the vehicle.

We also recently reported Edmonds v Coseco (20-006226), wherein K.P. v Aviva was cited in support of an “accident”, with the Tribunal however finding that the Vice-Chair’s conclusion “conflates the determinations underlying the ‘but for’ and ‘dominant feature’ considerations.” In fact, it was found that the icy conditions were the most direct cause of Edmonds’ injuries.

As it happens, the Court in Porter v Aviva has just weighed in and agrees with this latter decision, finding as well that the “Vice Chair conflated the ‘but for’ test with the direct causation test. This is an error in law.” It was confirmed that “Legal entitlement to accident benefits requires not just that the use or operation of a car be a cause of the injuries, but that it be a direct cause.” Finding the use or operation of the Lyft vehicle was not a direct cause, the Court noted, “More is required than establishing that the car brought the applicant to the location of the incident…and more is required than the car being the reason why Ms. Porter was at the location where the incident occurred.” Concluding, “the dominant factor that physically caused Ms. Porter’s injuries was the icy, snow-covered driveway. The use or operation of the Lyft car was ‘at best ancillary’.”

Therefore, the appeal was allowed. The reconsideration decision was set aside and an order was made that “Ms. Porter was not involved in an accident on January 25, 2019”. Aviva was awarded costs in the amount of $10,000 inclusive.

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