A retired teacher from Red Deer, Alberta was vacationing on Vancouver Island and was rear ended by a vehicle whose driver claimed had lost it’s brakes. The brakes malfunctioned because the owner/driver of the vehicle had failed to maintain them properly. The client suffered neck and low back injuries that affected her retirement travel plans. Michael Yawney QC and partner Allyson Edwards, were able to resolve the claim for over $100,000.00.
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Sommerville v. Munro
Mr. Sommerville was involved in a significant head-on collision on November 23, 2015. At that time he was retired from his work as an RCMP officer after more than 35 years of active duty. The accident caused fractures in his spine, which went on to heal however continued to cause him significant limitations and pain and suffering. While ICBC did not dispute the fault for the accident was with the other driver, it did take a position that a lot of the issues which Mr. Sommerville suffered were not related to the accident but to pre-existing complaints. Mr. Sommerville had a previous back complaint while working as an RCMP officer, which by all accounts resolved after retirement. It was our position, on behalf of Mr. Sommerville, that the accident was the major cause of his continuing back complaints, and that those complaints have significantly interfered with his retirement. There was also significant care costs relating to those injuries for which Mr. Sommerville should be compensated for into the future.
The trial took place just over 2 years after the accident date. The experts we retained included a physiatrist who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation and an occupational therapist. We also retained an economist to cost out the future care needs that Mr. Sommerville would require due to the accident, as recommended by the occupational therapist. As witnesses we called Mr. Sommerville, his spouse, and several of his friends. ICBC retained 2 experts including a psychiatrist and a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon provided an opinion that in essence stated that the fractures in the spine had healed and that any continuing complaints related primarily to Mr. Sommerville’s pre-existing arthritic spine. We cross examined that expert and in the course of doing so, that expert admitted that trauma to someone’s spine can cause ongoing pain and discomfort in the spine, even after the fractures had healed.
Judge Smith presided over the trial. In his reasons, he agreed that the accident was the major cause of Mr. Sommerville’s ongoing limitations and pain in his back. He awarded Mr. Sommerville $150,000.00 for pain and suffering, reduced by 10% on his finding that Mr. Sommerville would have experienced pain and suffering due to unrelated conditions in his spine regardless of the accident. Judge Smith also awarded cost of future care in the amount of $64,584.00; $10,000.00 for Mr. Somemrville’s loss of ability to do homemaking and yardwork; $10,000.00 towards the care that Mr. Sommerville’s spouse helped him with in the first few months after the accident; and reimbursement of $16,709.19 worth of out of pocket expenses. This total award was far in excess of ICBC’s valuation. Mr. Sommerville will also receive payment of his allowable legal costs and payment of the disbursements that were necessary to bring this matter to trial. This was a case where it was very much worth the effort and risk to go to trial in order to obtain fair compensation from ICBC.
Click here to read the full court decision.
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Michael Yawney QC was retained by a Lumby, BC resident in her late 50’s to help her with her claim for injuries from a rear end accident on a highway. The defendant driver was not paying attention and struck the client’s vehicle hard from behind. The woman suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and back that required extensive rehab and treatment. After several stints of rehab, she improved enough that her claim was resolved for $180,000.00 including costs.
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A Vernon woman in her thirties was referred to Mr. Yawney by her father after she was involved in a rear end accident. Her vehicle was written off and she was plagued by neck, back and hip injuries that limited her ability to work, ride horses and enjoy her usual hobbies. Her ability to work was the most affected and she had to make multiple attempts before she could successfully return to work. After obtaining assessment of her functional abilities, her future care needs and the assistance required to keep her working at her job, her claim was resolved months before trial for the sum of $590,000.00 including costs.
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A 62 year old man was referred to Michael Yawney QC by a friend for assistance with an injury claim arising from an accident where a vehicle hit him while he was riding his motorcycle. The defendant vehicle did not see him. He suffered orthopedic injuries that limited his ability to work and enjoy his hobbies, like mechanics and fixing up older vehicles. While he did recover a portion of his functioning, he was left with residual limitations due to his injuries and their combined affect with prior health issues he had had. His claim was resolved shortly before trial for $275,000.00 plus costs.
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Pictured above: Linda Heng of the Beauty Bar and Chris Alveberg, Partner at Nixon Wenger LLP.
Congratulations to this years’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Linda Heng of the Beauty Bar!
The Business Excellence Awards presented by the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, were held at the Vernon Lodge this past weekend and we were so proud to be a part of the Kentucky Derby fun!
Over 300 nominations came in for 14 awards and we were also pleased to be a top 3 finalist in the Employer of the Year category.
Congratulations to all 2018 Winners and Nominees!
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR NOMINEES Sponsored by Nixon Wenger LLP
• David Scarlatescu – The Sprouted Fig
• Linda Heng – The Beauty Bar (Winner)
• Katie Matheson – Spruce Salon
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Pictured above left to right: Kylie Walman (Lawyer), Allyson Edwards (Partner), Tracy Knight (Lawyer), Leah Volkers (Lawyer), Elise Allan (Partner) and Krystin Kempton (Lawyer). Missing:Leanne Rutley (Lawyer), Allison Jaquish (Lawyer).
Happy International Women’s Day from some of the female lawyers and partners at Nixon Wenger LLP! We are proud to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all around the world today, but we hold a special place for those right here.
To all the women in our office, you are amazing!
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Michael Yawney QC was retained by a health care admin assistant from Armstrong BC to help her with a claim for injuries in an accident where a vehicle pulled out in front of her and caused an accident. She suffered a shoulder injury as well as an injury to her back, both of which affected her work, recreation and ability to maintain her home. After a few years of various therapies, surgery helped to fix her shoulder and her back injury had significantly resolved. This client’s claim was settled prior to trial for the sum of $150,000.00 plus costs.
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