Coun. Bryan Raiser won’t have to go to court to make his case in a personal-injury lawsuit filed against those responsible for upgrades to Highway 99 after all.
Raiser on Monday (Dec. 17) said he had reached an out-of-court settlement of his lawsuit claiming that negligence on the part of the highway construction contractor and others was at least partly to blame for the injuries he suffered when he crashed his bicycle down an embankment near the Mamquam Blind Channel Bridge on Jan. 20, 2009.
The case was settled out of court on Dec. 10. Terms of the settlement in the case, which had been set for a 10-day trial beginning Feb. 18, 2013, in B.C. Supreme Court, were not disclosed.
In the suit, Raiser claimed that the defendants — including the District of Squamish, the Province of British Columbia, highway contractor Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and others — had failed to adequately maintain the road or place signage, lighting or barriers to warn those travelling on the barricaded pathway of the drop-off.
Raiser was riding his bicycle home to Valleycliffe from a council meeting when he fell down the bank in the dark, suffering a cracked kneecap and other injuries. In the suit, Raiser sought unspecified damages, both for the cost of his treatment to the health-care system, as well as his own pain and suffering.
Raiser, who is still undergoing physiotherapy treatments for his injured knee, said he’s happy to have the court case behind him.
“I just had to make the decision to go to court or not, because everyone says there’s no winners in court — just the lawyers,” the municipal councillor said. “I’m just so glad it’s behind me now.”
Raiser underwent surgery on the knee about a week after the crash and wasn’t able to walk without help for months. He has regained enough mobility in the knee to walk and ride a bike, but not as well as before.
“It was quite a while [after the incident] before I was even on crutches. I was not the most useful father of two young children at that point,” Raiser said.
“It takes a lot of work for me to continue — there’s the arthritis and all the stuff that goes along with a broken knee. Many in this town know exactly what that’s like,” he said, adding with a laugh, “I can tell people when storms are coming now.”
Raiser said he has never felt awkward about naming the District of Squamish as one of the defendants in the suit. Robyn Wishart, a lawyer who was representing Raiser in the case, last month said that even though the government entities were mentioned first on the list of defendants, Kiewit and other contractors — Miller Capilano, Miller Paving Ltd., etc. — were the primary defendants.
With these sorts of cases, “you try to name as many people as possible, but there was never any discomfort with that aspect of it, because it was never about them,” Raiser said, referring to the DOS connection.
“It’s too bad that it happened, but I’m so happy I didn’t hit my head, so it could always be worse and that’s something to be thankful for.”