Surrey man rammed by impaired driver awarded $290,000 in damages

A man who was attempting to remove his granddaughter from a parked vehicle when it was rammed by an impaired driver has won damages.

  • Aug. 23, 2016 2:00 p.m.

B.C. Supreme Court.

Keith Fraser, Vancouver Sun

A Surrey man who was attempting to remove his granddaughter from a parked vehicle when it was rammed by an impaired driver has been awarded $290,000 in damages for injuries he suffered during the incident.

Court heard that Jose Granja was trying to get the little girl out of her car seat when Csaba Jozsef deliberately rammed his car into the passenger side door of the parked vehicle and twice rammed the rear bumper.

Jozsef, who has pleaded guilty to several criminal charges in connection with the June 2010 incident, got out of his vehicle and approached Patrycia Arana, the driver of the parked vehicle and the mother of the girl, while screaming obscenities and punched her in the face.

He tried to punch Granja but due to his highly intoxicated state could only hit Granja’s open hands and kick him in the legs. The incident happened in the parking lot of Granja’s Surrey condo.

At trial, Jozsef and ICBC, a third party to the lawsuit, admitted the collision was caused by his negligence but Jozsef insisted that because of his intoxication he wasn’t capable of injuring Granja, a refugee from Colombia.

The defendant, who testified that due to his intoxication he had no recollection of the events and could not explain his actions, argued that the cause of Granja’s physical and psychological injuries were as a result of pre-existing factors and not related to the accident.

ICBC argued that any injuries suffered by Granja were because of the assault and not as a result of the collision.

Granja, a government employee who witnessed the assassinations of two colleagues before he came to Canada in 2003 as a refugee with his family, filed suit over the injuries from the collision but did not seek damages for the “slight injury” he suffered when Jozsef assaulted him.

After the collision, Granja experienced some slight pain in his hands and right knee, the pain in his right hand more pronounced because he had a pre-existing workplace injury.

“Emotionally, he was very distraught and confused as he could not comprehend why someone would act in such a way towards him in Canada,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin said in a ruling released Monday.

“Overall, the encounter was devastating for him as he considered Canada a safe haven from the violent activity he experienced in Colombia. Mr. Granja was, and continues to be, very angry about the assault and the injuries.”

Granja also suffered from persistent neck pain, a painful lump or bulge of his left shoulder, pain in the hip and leg and difficulty sleeping.

In her ruling, Devlin concluded that Granja’s physical injuries were caused by the motor vehicle collision and dismissed ICBC’s claim that the assault was to blame.

Regarding Granja’s ongoing depression and anxiety, the judge said they were caused by the collision and the assault coupled with the verbal abuse by Jozsef.

She awarded Granja $125,000 for pain and suffering, $85,000 for loss of future earning capacity, $70,450 for past income loss, $5,100 for cost of future care, and $4,800 for special damages.

kfraser@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser

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