A 52-year-old foster parent has been awarded $1.6 million in damages following a May 2016 accident in Vancouver.
Stephen Harder was struck in the collision on West 73rd Street when his motorcycle was allegedly cut off by Nicholas Austin Handaja's Honda HRV pulling out from the curb.
In his Sept. 7 decision, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Michael Brundrett said that Harder stopped parallel to Handaja's vehicle, struck the defendant’s vehicle with his hand, and made an unpleasant remark before proceeding on.
The judge said Harder had done that after he had to swerve to avoid the Honda pulling out into his path of travel. Brundrett said Handaja's vehicle finished pulling out and struck the motorcycle from behind, causing it to fall to the ground and injure Harder.
The parties had already agreed upon non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $225,000, past loss of earnings of $15,548, and various amounts for special damages.
The judge said the remaining issues were liability for the collision and the nature, extent and severity of Harder’s injuries.
Hospital examinations revealed multiple fractures to Harder’s right shoulder, right wrist, left elbow and left knee. He had four operations, court documents show.
“The plaintiff began experiencing night terrors, where he would wake up screaming, not knowing what happened, and have difficulty breathing,” Brundrett said. “The plaintiff was given Ativan to help him sleep at the hospital.”
Harder attended counselling and has dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and anger issues. He also thought he was going to lose his job.
Brundrett found Handaja's “negligent driving” was the cause of the collision and Harder’s injuries.
As such, the judge awarded Harder non-pecuniary damages ($225,000), past loss of income ($15,548), future loss of earnings ($946,000), special damages ($46,612) and costs of future care ($380,000).
Harder sought damages totalling approximately $2 million while Handaja agreed to various awards totalling $640,000 to $814,000 before a 25 percent deduction for contributory negligence on Harder’s part.