It has taken a year and a request from Mayor Jim Watson for City Solictor, David White, to address the questions of claims that arose from the tragic January 11, 2019 OC Transpo Westboro bus crash.
In a memo released this date, White cites, “This memo is to confirm that the City and its insurers accept civil responsibility arising from the bus collision and, as the various claims proceed through the court process, will in due course formally admit that they accept the responsibility to compensate the victims of the Westboro Station bus collision and their families.”
“While the City has held this position since the incident and has communicated this to the victims and their families, as well as having made several advance payments, making the formal admission will officially set aside any deliberation regarding the legal responsibility for compensation”, the memo goes on to say.
The total of approximately $3.5 million has been directed to the families involved within weeks of the accident to assist with their financial obligations.
A class action claims case in a quest to act for all those involved in the crash – on behalf of people on the bus and on the platform – alongside twelve individual lawsuits already initiated, and notice being given to the City that an additional 18 claims are forthcoming, which White says, “significantly streamlines the process by focusing on proper compensation, rather than on legal responsibility”, albeit the legal process is not over with. The amount of each claim still needs to be verified and quantified as part of the litigation process.
The trial for the driver of the double-decker bus will proceed in March 2021. The city Solicitor wrote, “…the criminal proceeding and its outcome will not have any bearing on the compensation process between the City and the victims and their families.”
It has taken a year for the admittance of civil responsibility at the Mayor’s prodding and a year to finally scrutinize safety issues at transit stations.