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Cash award for officer injured in crash
An RCMP officer who was injured in the line of duty when his motorcycle was struck by a truck during a call in Coquitlam has been awarded close to half a million dollars in damages.
The plaintiff, who is referred to as Mr. X in court documents because of his role in gang investigations, was hurt while attending a call on the Lougheed Highway in 2005. The pedestrian overpass had collapsed around Chilko Drive and the officer was travelling with sirens and lights flashing when a pickup truck pulled out in front of him.
Realizing the collision was imminent, Mr. X laid down his bike and tucked himself into a ball in order to avoid serious impact with the truck.
According to court documents, the defendant pled guilty to driving with undue care and attention, however he said he could not afford to fight the charges. The company the defendant was driving for when the accident occurred was included in the law suit.
“The defendant has admitted liability but submits that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to the accident,” Justice Jane Dardi wrote in her reasons for judgement. “The defendants also contend that the plaintiff’s claims for compensation for his injuries are excessive.”
The judge awarded Mr. X $140,000 in non-pecuniary damages, $180,000 in loss of future earning capacity and $79,855 in gross past wage loss. With the loss of housekeeping capacity, future care costs and special damages, the total came to $479,546.
“The plaintiff has proven that the injuries he sustained in the accident have impaired his future earning capacity and that this impairment will harm his earning ability into the future,” the judge said. “There is a real and substantial likelihood that the plaintiff will suffer pecuniary loss because of his reduced prospects for advancement within the RCMP.”
The plaintiff, who is a gang investigator with the RCMP, had his name protected in court documents due to the sensitive nature of his work.
In court papers he said that many of the criminals he deals with do not respect the privacy of police officers and gang members routinely conduct counter-surveillance on RCMP members.
“I investigate cases involving gang violence and dangerous firearms, “ he said in court papers. “It is common practice for these [criminals] to verbally state their intentions of causing harm to members and family.”
He told the judge about an incident where a gang associate approached him in public and tried to intimidate him by taking photo.
By identifying his name in court papers, Mr. X said people he investigates would be able to link him to an address and members of his family. They would also have knowledge of some of the medical conditions he has suffered from since the accident, he added.
Despite objections from the defendant, the judge chose to keep the plaintiff’s name out of court papers.