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Victim and family sue just ahead of two-year deadline

A new lawsuit has been filed after the 2013 crash involving an OC Transpo bus and a Via train. Photo courtesy of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

A new $900,000 lawsuit has been filed after the 2013 crash involving an OC Transpo bus and a Via Rail train, to add to more than a dozen cases already being dealt with in Ottawa courts.

The crash, which killed six people and injured over 30 more, took place on Sept. 18, 2013 near Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road.

Priscillia Victor, an OC Transpo passenger in the crash, and her husband and two children are suing the estate of David Woodard, the OC Transpo driver who was killed in the crash, as well as the City of Ottawa, and OC Transpo.

Victor is suing for damages over severe injuries caused by the crash. Victor says in her statement of claim that she was “thrown forward and down to the ground.”

According to her statement, she has suffered “permanent and ongoing pain”, significant headaches, and impairment of “important physical, mental, and psychological functions”.

The injuries included muscle sprains to her hip, pelvis and groin, torn ligaments in her right groin and hip, according to the Citizen, and strains to her neck and spine, as well as “injuries to her left wrist, hand, arm and shoulder.”

Victor, an accountant at Sustainable Development Technology Canada, also claims in her lawsuit that as a result of the crash her ability to work has been hindered, and thus her advancement in her job has been slowed. The suit also alleges that Victor’s children have suffered a “loss of companionship” due to her injuries.

The suit alleges that Woodard was negligent for failing to stop for the oncoming train and for not warning passengers of the oncoming collision. It also alleges that OC Transpo is responsible for not training Woodard properly.

The City has also been named, and has alleged, in response to previous lawsuits, that it did not act improperly. The City says it was Via Rail, which is an independent crown corporation funded by the Minister of Transport, that was negligent for not having significant warning systems near level crossings, according to the Ottawa Sun.

Via’s spokeswoman Maxime Dupont-Demers told the Sun that the “Transport Safety Board of Canada did not identify issues related to the train operation, the crossing signals or the tracks.”

The Transportation Safety Board has been working on a report on the incident, which has yet to be released. According to the Citizen, the board has determined that Woodard was momentarily distracted before the crash, and that the bus was going seven kilometers over the posted speed limit.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

Victor’s lawsuit is one of many filed by passengers and their families after the crash. The suit comes near the deadline of two years after the accident, after which no more claims can be filed.