TransLink ordered to pay nearly $44,000 to passenger who tripped at Port Coquitlam Station

Port Coquitlam Station. Google Maps image

A B.C. Supreme Court ruling has ordered TransLink pay nearly $44,000 to a passenger who tripped and injured themselves at Port Coquitlam Station.

The plaintiff, Joseph Ramos, argued negligence, and sought damages for medical expenses and pain and suffering resulting from the incident on April 24, 2018.

Justice Bruce Elwood ruled that TransLink was 100 percent responsible for the tripping hazard which led to Ramos’ injuries. 


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“If he kept his eyes glued to the ground, he may have seen the edge of the ramp, but he also may have run into another passenger,” Elwood stated in the ruling. “One could not reasonably expect Mr. Ramos to be looking at his feet as he walked through a busy transit station.”

The incident occurred when Ramos was commuting home from work and tripped on what he described as a “hidden hazard.” 

Ramos had exited the West Coast Express and was walking towards his bus stop when he left the brick pathway to cut across a grassy area.

He tripped over a concrete ramp concealed in the grass, which led to an electrical shed.

His affidavit stated he was walking at a normal pace, and not rushing to catch the bus when he tripped over the middle of the ramp, elevated approximately 10 centimetres off the ground.

Photographs taken after the incident show the height of the grass was uneven along the edge of the ramp, partially obscuring its height.

Photographs taken at a later date show that TransLink had cut the grass to a uniform length, making the ramp much more visible.

Ramos said his eyes were not solely focused on the ground, but on the pedestrian and bus traffic.

He added that he was aware of some transition between the grass and pathway, but not a “significant cement lip.”

TransLink argued Ramos was fully or partially at fault because he left the passenger pathway,  and was careless when taking the shortcut.

The judge ruled TransLink should have expected passengers to leave the pathway and take a more direct path due to the volume of pedestrian traffic, and the design of the platform.

He disagreed that Ramos was assuming risk by walking across a small grassy area. 

“The relatively narrow opening in the fence along the train platform and the layout of the bus loop all made it foreseeable that people would fan out,” Elwood said. “(It) was not a sports field or an unmaintained alternate route to his destination.”

Elwood also based his ruling on security camera video footage, photographs of the scene, and a report by a professional engineer specializing in accident reconstruction.

He said the grass created a false impression, and TransLink should have known it would obscure the raised edge of the ramp.

Elwood noted TransLink has now cut the grass, and the difference is visibly noticeable.

TransLink also argued there is no evidence of any prior incidents, and Ramos himself had used the station for two years without injuring himself.

The judge said it does not mean a hazard was not present on the day of the incident.

Ramos was seeking $75,000 for pain and suffering, but TransLink said his injuries were relatively minor and the figure was excessive.

The fall resulted in injuries to Ramos’ right hand, shoulder, leg and knee. His pants ripped, and he suffered finger lacerations, leaving “blood splattered on the ramp surface,” according to court documents.

Ramos suffered a dislocated shoulder, and was in immediate pain. He had to be taken to Eagle Ridge Hospital to have his shoulder reset and his arm immobilized in a sling.

Attached to the suit were two reports from his doctor confirming the injury along with a small fracture.

He attended physiotherapy, but was still reporting pain, discomfort, and numbness in his hand two years after the injury.

An MRI of Ramos’ shoulder taken in 2020 revealed two soft tissue injuries in his biceps and shoulder, which are common following anterior shoulder dislocations, according to his physician.

His affidavit asserts persistent discomfort and physical limitation continue to exist to his shoulder, right leg and knee.

The judge found no reason to doubt Ramos’ claims, but said there was no causal connection to injuries apart from the documented soft tissue injuries.

TransLink proposed an award of between $25,000 and $45,000, and Elwood agreed with their assessment.

Ramos was awarded $38,000 for pain and suffering, and an additional $5,822 for physiotherapy, imaging, therapeutic injections, acupuncture and massage therapy expenses.

Image showing the layout of where Ramos tripped and injured himself. image supplied

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