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$9,076,854 Judgement For Plaintiff With Catastrophic Brain Injury Following Tractor Trailer Collision

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages at over $9 million for a Plaintiff who sustained life altering injuries following a tractor trailer collision.

In today’s case (Uy v. Dhillon) the Plaintiff’s vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer while driving on the Coquihalla highway in British Columbia’ interior.  The Defendant denied fault but was found liable at trial with that finding being confirmed by the BC Court of Appeal.

This resulted in “a serious brain injury in the Accident that has resulted in a significant degree of cognitive impairment” for the Plaintiff.   The brain injury rendered him totally unemployable with deficits so profound that he required “24-hour care and supervision for the rest of his life. “.

Upper limit non-pecuniary damages of $388,177 were awarded.  The bulk of the judgement centered around the cost of 24 hour lifetime care which the Court assessed at over $7 million.  In finding the injuries warranted non pecuniary damages at the rough upper limit Mr. Justice Skolrood provided the following reasons:

[97]         It is never an easy task to compare injuries and their impacts between plaintiffs in different cases and each case must be decided on its own facts. That said, I find the facts in the case cited by Mr. Uy to be more analogous than those relied on by the defendants. For example, in Paur, Madam Justice Griffin described the plaintiff there as being limited in his ability to direct and control his daily living activities (at para. 722) and as requiring close supervision and control (at para. 726). In MacEachern, Mr. Justice Ehrcke found that the plaintiff had little short-term memory, her behavior was disinhibited and she presented much like a young child (at para. 678). Much the same can be said of Mr. Uy.

[98]         In contrast, the plaintiffs in Robinson and Mackey were able to achieve a much higher degree of independence. For example, Mr. Robinson attended college after the accident and maintained employment. Mr. Mackey also continued his education, got married and had children. These options are not available to Mr. Uy.

[99]         The defendants highlight certain elements of the evidence to suggest that Mr. Uy continues to enjoy some quality of life and a reasonable measure of functional capacity. They submit, for example, that he continues to enjoy singing and dancing, he travels with Mr. Amurao’s family and is able to carry out many daily living activities on his own.

[100]     The defendants in Paur advanced a similar position, which was rejected by Justice Griffin. Her observations about the plaintiff in that case (at para. 720) apply with equal force to Mr. Uy:

The Hospital Defendants have pointed to small pieces of evidence to suggest that Mr. Paur is not so badly off: that he considers himself lucky that he did not die; that he has no lasting physical injuries; and they point to one test in which his scores for functioning were not at the very bottom of the non-brain-injured population. These pieces of evidence, in my view, do not detract from the severity of Mr. Paur’s injury in terms of its impact on his future life, as indicated by the totality of the evidence. Mr. Paur will never be able to function as an independent adult again.

[101]     Mr. Uy’s life has been profoundly and permanently impacted as a result of the brain injury sustained in the Accident. Taking account of the evidence as a whole, the authorities cited by the parties and the principles set out in cases like Andrews and Stapley, I find that Mr. Uy is entitled to damages in the amount of the rough upper limit, or $388,177.

bc injury law, Cost of Future Care, Mr. Justice Skolrood, Uy v. Dhillon