Crash victim awarded $260,000

A program manager at Semiahmoo House Society has been awarded more than $260,000 in damages for injuries suffered in a 2009 crash.

A program manager at Semiahmoo House Society who was injured in a crash more than four years ago has been awarded more than $260,000 in damages.

The funds to Jo-Ann Ahonen include $120,000 for loss of future earnings, $100,000 in non-pecuniary damages and $30,000 for future care costs.

According to a B.C. Supreme Court judgment released Sept. 4, Ahonen, a 45-year-old mother of three, was injured when her Chevrolet Uplander was struck on King George Boulevard by a Dodge Ram 1500 around 6 a.m. April 17, 2009. The Dodge driver – identified in court documents as Michael Thauli – turned left into Ahonen’s vehicle “without warning.”

“There was no intersection and the plaintiff could not have anticipated the defendant would turn as he did into her direction of travel,” Justice William Smart writes.

Both vehicles suffered significant front-end damage and were written off by ICBC. The jaws of life were used to remove Ahonen from her vehicle. Taken to hospital, she was X-rayed and released.

Four days later, her doctor noted severe bruising over Ahonen’s chest, lap, knees, shin and ankle, as well as reduced range of motion in her neck.

She didn’t return to work until June 1, 2009.

Ahonen’s husband, sister, friend, co-workers and various medical professionals gave evidence, including that Ahonen was physically active prior to the crash and employed full-time as a program manager at SHS.

Since the crash, she experiences daily neck pain, regular headaches and anxiety, the judgment states. In addition, she has had to modify her housework and limit her exercise/recreational activities, and the “prognosis for further recovery of the injuries suffered… is poor,” stated a physiatrist who examined Ahonen.

“Ms. Ahonen is probably permanently partially disabled as a result of the injuries.”

Smart found Ahonen’s life was “profoundly affected” by the crash, both personally and professionally.

Liability in the crash was not disputed, however the award sought was. Chrysler Financial Services Canada Inc. was also named as a defendant.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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