Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a severe ankle injury.
In today’s case (Chau v. Pereira) the Plaintiff was struck by a vehicle while walking in a marked crosswalk. The Defendant denied liability but was found fully responsible at trial. The crash resulted in a severe ankle injury with post traumatic arthritis that was expected to deteriorate to the likely stage of needing fusion or joint replacement. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $140,000 Mr. Justice Baird provided the following reasons:
OK, I’m back in Kelowna, but this time more for pleasure than business, so this case summary will be a little light on the usual details.
Reasons for judgement were relesed today finding a motorist at fault for a 2003 impact with a cyclist. The Plaintiff suffered serious injuries and was awarded close to $500,000 in compensation for his losses and injuries.
In this case the cyclist was travelling on the side-walk. This is prohibited in law but simply violating the motor vehicle act does not automatically make one negligent for an accident. In this case the court found that while the cyclist was unlawfully riding on the sidewalk, he was not responsible for the accident because this did not cause the accident, rather
“the accident was caused by (the Defendant) either failing to stop his vehicle before driving across the sidewalk in accordance with s. 176(1) of the Act, or by failing to look to his right before starting motion after looking away for a period of time during which a person could have appeared to the right of his vehicle.”
Here the court found that the Plaintiff was a credible witness that did not exaggerate his symptoms. The injuries were summarized by the Plaintiff’s treating family physician as follows:
fracture of the distal tibia, laceration of his scalp, laceration of his left shin, post-traumatic periostitis of the left shin, a partial tear of his anterior tibiofubular ligament (an ankle ligament) and retrocalcaneal bursitis (a bursa in the ankle/heel area).
In other words, a very serious ankle injury. Evidence was also led that the Plaintiff suffered from a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) and that this resulted in some on-going cognitive problems.
The Plaintiff was a young man who suffered from a significant period of disability and there was evidence of some permanent partial disability.
Damages were assessed as follows:
a. Cost of future care: $73,078.00
b. Lost wages: $185,684.40 less the amount actually earned by the Plaintiff from December 3, 2003 to the date of trial;
c. Loss of future wages: $72,526.40.
d. Loss of earning capacity: $80,000.00
e. Non-pecuniary damages: $75,000.00
f. Special damages: $2,811.45.
g. In-trust claim: $14,040.00