Danicek v. AHBL: Looking Beyond the Headlines
Last year reasons for judgement were released by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for personal injuries at over $5.9 million dollars.
The case received a lot of publicity. The size of the assessment and the facts underlying the case (one lawyer fell on another lawyer while dancing at a nightclub) were some of the reasons why this case received so much press.
However, looking behind the headlines gives a better (and less sensational) account of a story of compensation for longstanding and debilitating injury.
The Plaintiff’s damage assessment at a quick glance appears high, however, she suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the incident. The Court found that she would never work competitively as a lawyer again. The lion’s share of the damage assessment was intended to compensate the young lawyer for a lifetime of lost earnings.
Of greater significance was the fact that the Plaintiff never received anywhere near the assessed $5.9 million in damages from the personal Defendant. Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, (Danicek v. Alexander Holburn Beaduin & Lang) revealing the rest of the story.
As the high profile case was being tried an underlying battle was being fought between the Plaintiff, Defendant and various insurance companies about coverage.
The Defendant, Jeremy Martin Poole, agreed to pay the Plaintiff just over $1,000,000 of the damages. This money was obtained from an insurance company that agreed that coverage was in place based on the allegations. A seperte insurer, whose policy provided $5,000,000 in coverage, denied payment arguing that this type of lawsuit fell outside the scope of their coverage. This issue went to trial and in today’s reasons Mr. Justice Kelleher sided with Lombard Insurance finding that they did not have to pay any part of the damage assessment to the Plaintiff.
What’s left when all the dust settles is something far less sensational than what early headlines would lead people to believe. Ultimately a brain injured plaintiff has received less than complete compensation for the long-standing consequences of traumatic brain injury.