While it may be true that people “should know the risks of walking the breakwater,” that doesn’t absolve the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority from being held liable in court — to injured people, or to the families of those who may not survive a fall.
In British Columbia, a company, group of strata property owners, person or other “legal entity” can be held liable for damages occurring on their property — whether that entity is considered negligent or not. This “duty of care” form of liability only came into effect about 15 years ago.
So today, imagine the result of a highly paid 30-year-old professional falling off the un-railed breakwater, suffering a head injury and not being able to work again. The judge decides they would have averaged $300,000 a year in income for the next 35 years, and decrees a loss-of-income claim for over $10 million. Who pays that? The harbour authority’s insurance company. Who ends up paying for the insurance company increasing their rates after claims take place? The taxpayers.
As a former underwriter and insurance broker who walks the breakwater often and views it as a place where an accident is waiting to happen, I applaud the decision to install railings.
As an empathetic person who promotes accessibility for all to every possible venue, I applaud the decision that will allow persons with disabilities to enjoy the use of the breakwater.
© Copyright 2013