A Coquitlam woman was awarded $787,500 by a B.C. Supreme Court jury for injuries she sustained in three separate motor vehicle accidents.
The amount was awarded to Katerina Kalvinou and is the largest ever for an injury known as visual vestibular mismatch, a condition that results in dizziness and can affect a person's motion.
"This has taken a lot of weight off of my shoulders," Kalvinou said of last week's judgement. "This will help me to try to get my life back without having to be a burden to anyone."
The first accident occurred on Sept. 20, 2008, when Kalvinou was stopped at a red light on Barnet Highway at Lansdowne Drive and was hit from behind by a car traveling at 50 km/h.
She took six weeks off from work at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, a research laboratory affiliated with the University of British Columbia.
While recovering, she was struck again in another rear-end collision that occurred in Vancouver on March 9, 2009; the third accident happened in Burnaby on Jan. 5, 2010.
In each of the accidents, the other drivers admitted they were at fault.
The additional collisions re-aggravated her injuries and the 60-year-old Kalvinou was eventually forced to stop working in early 2012.
She was awarded $325,000 in non-pecuniary damages - $25,000 less than the maximum allowed under Canadian law - $135,000 for future care and medical costs, and $52,000 for loss of employment income up to the date of the trial.
Another $273,000 was awarded for loss of future earning capacity, an amount her lawyer, Todd Brown of the Port Moody firm Maryn and Associations, said is significant considering Kalvinou's age. The judgment recognizes that people people are not necessarily retiring at age 65 anymore, he said.
"Five years ago, 65 was probably the generally accepted age of retirement," Brown said. "I don't think that is the case anymore."
Brown represented Kalvinou along with lead counsel Michael Holroyd.