Uy v Dhillon, 2020 BCSC 1302
The BC Supreme Court recently awarded to date the highest damages in a personal injury claim, with an award totaling $9.2 million. The claim involved a highway rear-ender that occurred on January 31, 2014 on the Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia. The plaintiff Johnberlyn Uy was driving in the fast lane of a 3-lane section of the highway. A tractor-trailer combination driven by the defendant Daljit Singh Dhillon changed lanes into Mr. Uy’s pathway while passing a slower moving tractor-trailer. Mr. Uy unsuccessfully attempted to avoid the collision and struck the rear of Mr. Dhillion’s tractor trailer.
Mr. Uy brought an action against Mr. Dhillon as well as against the provincial road maintenance contractor, VSA Highway Maintenance Ltd. Before trial, VSA was released as the evidence confirmed that at the time of the accident the highway had been properly maintained. At trial, the Court found Mr. Dhillon 100% liable on the basis that Mr. Dhillon had failed to check for approaching vehicles before making a lane change. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling.
On damages, the Court found the accident had rendered the 39-year old Plaintiff catastrophically injured. He suffered a left frontal skull fracture and a severe brain injury causing serious cognitive impairment that included memory loss, significant disorientation and severe mood changes. He was unable to live independently, could not hold a job as a construction laborer and required assistance and supervision while doing most daily tasks.
The Court awarded upper non-pecuniary damage limits in the amount of $388,177 to reflect the profoundness and permanency of Mr. Uy’s brain injury. Future care costs were assessed at over $7.2 million to provide for daily professional nurse aid while Mr. Uy stayed in his family’s care for 15 years, and thereafter to pay for a private care home for the remainder of Mr. Uy’s life. He was also awarded damages for home safety accessories, rehabilitation and occupational therapy services. Past income loss was assessed at $172,000, with future income loss assessed at $600,000. An In Trust claim of $700,000 was also awarded to Mr. Uy’s family as well as $150,000 in special damages and $245,000 for the Ministry’s Health Care Cost Claim. Further awards for tax gross up and management fees were left to be assessed at a later date.
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