The Jack v Tekavec court decision was released by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Campbell River on December 10, 2011.
On June 2, 2007 Edward Jack was visiting his cousin at the Goldcrest Apartments in Gold River, B.C. The apartments were owned and managed by Peter Tekavec. Mr. Jack was leaning against the balcony when suddenly the balcony railing gave way and caused him to fall three stories to the ground.
Mr. Jack was taken by ambulance to the Campbell River Hospital and then transported by air from Campbell River to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) where he was admitted on June 3, 2007. Mr. Jack spent three weeks at VGH before being re-admitted to the Campbell River Hospital. After two weeks he was released to his parents’ home. He spent one month in a wheelchair and a further month on crutches.
Mr. Jack’s injuries included a broken pelvis, fractured ribs, fractured vertebrae, and internal injuries resulting in hernias. While in hospital, he developed pneumonia requiring a tracheotomy. His pelvis fracture required a metal plate and screws. His pelvis fracture healed but he lost 2 inches in height. At the time of trial (three years later) Mr. Jack weighed less than 200 lbs and walked with a slight limp. Six months after the accident he returned to work but was unable to do heavy lifting.
Mr. Jack hired BC personal injury lawyers and sued Mr. Takavec for negligence in maintaining the premises resulting in fall and injuries.
At trial, the court found that Mr. Tekavec, a former carpenter, was aware that the railing had gone rotten in places and that someone had performed a very poor repair job in an attempt to fix it. A year prior to Mr. Jack’s accident, a tenant in the apartment building had fallen from the balcony. As Mr. Tekavec was the landlord, he had the opportunity to correct the work but had not chosen to do so. Thus, the court found him to be 100% liable for the Mr. Jack’s injuries.
In assessing damages, the court noted that it was unlikely that Mr. Jack would require further surgery. He was found to have a 60% chance of suffering from ongoing discomfort in the regions of the sacrum and around the pubis. He would also have permanent numbness on the outer side of his left thigh, and would likely continue to have intermittent numbness on the inner part of his knee. He would also have permanent intermittent low back pain with evidence of degenerative changes. The court commented that Mr. Jack continued to work as an excavator operator as well as engage in his recreational activities of hunting and fishing, but with a degree of discomfort. Further, the judge found that he was unable to hunt in the same manner as he did previously.
The court awarded the following damages:
$100, 000 General Damages for pain and suffering
$78, 000 Loss of Income
$125, 000 Loss of Capital Asset (his physical ability)
$5, 000 Loss of Housekeeping/Maintenance
$5, 000 Future Care (the cost of orthodics and non-prescription pain medication)
$1, 963.76 Special Damages
$2, 500 “In Trust” Claim (Mr. Jack’s parents took him into their home during his recovery)
$5, 000 Management Fee (financial advice to assist with the management of the award)