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Lawyer for trucker who caused fatal Broncos crash says families have no right to sue

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REGINA – A lawyer for the truck driver who caused the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash says the victims' families are not entitled to compensation in an ongoing court case.

REGINA – A lawyer for the truck driver who caused the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash says the victims' families are not entitled to compensation in an ongoing court case.

This week, a court in Regina will hear whether the truck driver and the Saskatchewan government can be excluded as defendants from the lawsuit. The bus and trucking companies are also named in the lawsuit.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 injured when the inexperienced truck driver ran a stop sign at a rural intersection near Tisdale, Sask., in 2018 and drove into the path of the junior hockey team's bus.

Truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years in prison for dangerous driving. Last week, Sidhu, who had permanent residency, was ordered to be deported to India.

The families of four killed players and an assistant coach are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Lawyer Sheila Caston, who represents Sidhu and Calgary-based Adesh Deol Trucking, told court Wednesday that no-fault insurance exists in Saskatchewan under the province's Automobile Accident Insurance Act.

Caston said the legislation covers all claims for damages for injuries caused by an accident unless they are permitted by law.

“The plaintiffs' entire claim is based on the accident itself and the physical injuries that resulted in the deaths of their sons,” she said.

Caston said negligence prior to the accident was not covered by the law.

The lawsuit alleges that the Saskatchewan government knew that visibility was poor at the rural intersection where the accident occurred, but did nothing to remedy the situation.

A government lawyer has not yet commented at the hearing, which is scheduled to last until Friday.

Attorneys Kevin Mellor and Sharon Fox represent the hockey families.

Fox argued Tuesday that the government must continue to serve as a defendant in the lawsuit.

“The core of our complaint is personal injury. Not a property interest, not an economic right. We cannot punish our government. We cannot put our government in jail. So what else do we have left?” she said.

“If this strike motion is allowed to completely undermine the ability of citizens to hold their government accountable, the government will have carte blanche to act with impunity.”

Mellor said it was unconstitutional for the province to prohibit the families from pursuing their lawsuit against all named defendants.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2024.

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

The Canadian Press