Motorcyclist awarded $115,000 in non-pecuniary damages for fractured ankle

In reasons for judgment released on Monday, the court in Ward v. Walker, 2017 BCSC 484, awarded a 52-year-old motorcyclist $115,000 in damages after he suffered a fractured ankle in a motorcycle accident .  Madam Justice Beames wrote as follows:

[1]             THE COURT:  On August 3, 2013, the plaintiff was injured when the motorcycle he was riding was struck violently from behind by a motorcycle that was owned and had been being ridden by the defendant. At the commencement of the trial, the defendant admitted liability for the accident.

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[6]             Ambulances and other emergency vehicles attended the scene. The plaintiff was transported to the Arrow Lakes Hospital in Nakusp and then later that day to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. On August 4, 2013, he had surgery, specifically an open reduction and internal fixation of his fractured ankle. He had both medial malleolar and posterior malleolar fractures. The rupture at the front of his ankle caused by the broken bone was sutured.

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[17]         At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was 49. He is now 52. He has worked in the glazing industry since he graduated from BCIT in 1985, except for short stints working for Corrections B.C. immediately after his graduation, and for his brother‑in‑law in a steel fabrication business. He has two adult children from his first marriage and two adult stepchildren with his current wife who is an elementary school teacher. He has one grandchild and another on the way.

[18]         He had and continues to have a close relationship with his children, stepchildren, and siblings, and he provides care and companionship for his elderly mother who has Alzheimer's and is a resident in a care facility.

[19]         Prior to the accident, the plaintiff was very active, energetic, optimistic, and happy. He shared inside and outside domestic duties with his wife and two stepchildren. He performed home maintenance and repairs, including reroofing his home with cedar shingles. He camped, cycled, motorcycled, ran, hiked, snowboarded, dog‑walked, and played ball with his friends and family. He also worked out at the gym.

[20]         Since the accident, I accept that all of the plaintiff's recreational pursuits have been curtailed. He has been able to resume some of his activities on a very reduced or modified basis, while other activities are no longer possible, even with modification. I find the same applies to the plaintiff's domestic activities. He has returned to some, such as cooking, without modification, and others, such as laundry, on a modified basis. Some other duties such as lawn mowing are painful and difficult for him and he does them only occasionally. Some of his previous activities around the home, such as any activity requiring the use of a ladder, are no longer possible or safe for him.

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[28]         I have read all of the cases provided to me by counsel. Each is, of course, distinguishable on its facts from the case before me. I find that Rizzolo v. Brett, 2010 BCCA 398 (CA) aff’g 2009 BCSC 732, is most factually similar, although that plaintiff was somewhat younger than the plaintiff in this case.

[29]         I award the plaintiff $115,000 in non‑pecuniary damages.

The full decision can be found here:  http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/04/2017BCSC0484.htm