A woman has been awarded $167,000 in damages five years after a collision with a White Rock taxi.
According to BC Supreme Court reasons for judgment, published March 2, Tammy Yeomans was riding in a vehicle driven by her friend, Patricia Chapple, in the Mount Lehman roundabout in Abbotsford on Jan. 22, 2016.
Their SUV was struck by a taxicab owned by White Rock South Surrey Taxi Ltd. and driven by Satnam Buttar. The defendant admitted sole liability for the accident.
“The vehicle was stopped at the inside lane of the roundabout when the front right passenger side was struck. Mr. Buttar did not stop at the scene of the accident although his licence plate number was captured by a witness following Ms. Chapple’s car,” the reasons for judgment state.
Supreme Court Justice Nigel Kent heard testimony from Chapple, which he accepted “without reservation,” that the impact was “really significant” and her vehicle “got hit very hard.” The impact forced the SUV to swing to the left, hit the curb and bounce off.
While Chapple’s injuries included whiplash, subsequent arthritis in the neck, torn ligaments in both arms and shoulders, and hip pain, she testified that Yeomans sustained bruising and swelling to her knees.
“(Chapple’s) impression is that the swelling in Ms Yeomans’ knees ‘never went down’, that she ‘struggled and got worse’, and that she saw a ‘steady deterioration in her ability to move’ in the months and years that followed,” Justice Kent wrote in his reasoning.
Medical witnesses who testified included Yeoman’s family doctor, Dr. Sandeep Lochub, and neurologist, Dr. Gordon Mackie.
“It is Dr. Lochub’s opinion that Ms. Yeomans’ level of discomfort, pain and limited range of motion, particularly in her knees and lower extremities, is affecting all aspects of her activities of daily living and renders her ‘essentially home-bound,’” the judgment reads.
The defence argued that there were many inconsistencies in Yeomans’ evidence and her story “just does not fit together.”
Issues raised were that Yeomans did not seek out any medical treatment from her doctor for almost a year during the period of March 3, 2016 to Feb. 3, 2017 and her progression into complete disability only occurred after the onset of seizures in 2017.
Dr. Mackie testified that the seizures were not a result of the collision.
Justice Kent wrote that he is “completely satisfied, and find as a fact” that the contusions to Yeomans’ knees sustained in the accident triggered constant pain, swelling, and progressive mobility limitations for that first year and conditions have continued to deteriorate to such an extent that she is completely disabled at the present time.
“To be clear, I find as a fact that the plaintiff’s knee injuries and resulting chronic pain disability are not feigned but are genuine, and that they were and continue to be caused by the motor vehicle accident that occurred on January 22, 2016,” he wrote.
Justice Kent said he also accepts Lochub’s diagnosis of anxiety, depression and insomnia.
In conclusion, Justice Kent awarded Yeomans $167,000 for damages that include non-pecuniary, past loss of earning capacity, future loss of earning capacity, past and future loss of domestic capacity, cost of future care, special damages, and mitigation failure discount.