$332,000 for 2009 crash caused by Coq. Mountie
A Port Moody man has been awarded almost $332,000 for injuries he sustained in a car accident with a Coquitlam RCMP officer.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2009, Antonio Del Giglio, now 57, was heading home from work at about 1:30 a.m. He was driving north on Clarke Road in Coquitlam toward the intersection at Smith Street on a green light when Const. Melissa Becker, who was driving west on Smith, went through the red light and hit Del Giglio’s vehicle on the passenger side.
Del Giglio, who was working as a local truck driver and a part-time guitarist in a band, said he suffered back and neck injuries, headaches, dizziness and depression because he was unable to return to work. At a week-long trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, Del Giglio claimed Becker’s negligence caused the crash, saying she did nothing to avoid the collision.
Becker argued that the braking system on her police cruiser failed, making her not liable for the accident. She also asserted that Del Giglio’s injuries were largely due to a 2008 accident for which she should not be found liable, and that Del Giglio had not taken adequate rehabilitative measures.
In her reasons for judgement issued Monday, Madam Justice J. Miriam Gropper noted that when Becker realized her brakes were not working, she radioed her partner, who was in a vehicle behind her, put on her seatbelt and activated her emergency lights but did not make any effort to swerve out of Del Giglio’s path, put on her siren or honk the horn.
In addition, evidence from a mechanical inspection following the accident showed there was no defect or malfunction of the brakes.
“I have no hesitation in determining that Const. Becker was negligent and the defendants are, therefore, liable for the motor vehicle accident,” Gropper wrote.
A lengthy discussion of Del Giglio’s prior medical history noted several prior accidents were minor, save for a rear-end collision in 1988 for which Del Giglio was awarded $70,000.
A collision in May 2008 injured Del Giglio’s neck and back; he reported to his doctor that at the time of the 2009 crash, he mostly recovered and was back to work as a truck driver.
Medical experts concluded injuries from the 2009 collision would make Del Giglio unable to return to his former job, giving him a “guarded at best” prognosis for long-term recovery.
Justice Gropper concluded the evidence showed that the January 2009 accident “caused the abrupt physical and mental decline,” Del Giglio experienced and that his injuries have had a severe impact on his life.
She awarded Del Giglio $80,000 for non-pecuniary damages, $74,291 for past wage loss, $150,000 for loss of future earning capacity, $25,000 for cost of future care and $2,577 for special damages.