Crash victim sues driver – his wife

VANCOUVER – A man suffering chronic pain from an automobile crash has been awarded $176,876 in damages.The driver and defendant in the case was his wife.Justice Christopher Grauer heard the case – Espinoza v. Espinoza – in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.Roberto Espinoza was riding in the front passenger seat of a sport utility vehicle driven by his wife Martha Espinoza on Dec. 31, 2011 when she lost control of the SUV.It mounted a curb, went up on a sidewalk, hit a fence, glanced off a tree and crashed into a lamppost.The defendant admitted liability for the crash and conceded her husband was injured, but the extent of his injuries was "hotly contested," Grauer noted.The court heard the Espinozas have three adult children and live under one roof despite now being separated. At the time of the trial, she was living upstairs with their daughters while he lived in the basement with their son.The court also heard the plaintiff had been laid off from his job 12 days before the crash. He testified he was in shock after the crash.The court heard he got out of the SUV and saw it "sparking."His wife was leaning against the steering wheel and he tried to get her out of the vehicle as police and an ambulance arrived.The ambulance took his wife to Surrey Memorial Hospital, with him riding alongside her. She was treated, he was not, and their son brought them home."He gave evidence that he was stiff and sore all over the next day, particularly in his neck and lower back," Grauer noted in his reasons.This got worse with time. The trial was heard in late February and early March. The judge rendered his decision on May 8.