The Baxter v. Morrison court decision was released by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Kamloops on June 29, 2012.
On August 31, 2007 truck driver David Morrison delivered a load of load of logs to a lumber mill and headed towards Merritt, BC. Suddenly, the stake on his piggybacked trailer struck overhead power wires and pulled down the power pole. The pole fell down on a vehicle being driven by David Baxter, smashing onto his right-front fender and hood.
Mr. Baxter did not immediately experience pain after the accident, but later felt pain in his neck, arm pain, and shoulder. He experienced numbness in his right arm, thumb, and first finger. His symptoms started getting worse after a few months and he underwent anterior cervical spine fusion two years later.
Mr. Baxter retained Kamloops car accident lawyers and sued the truck driver as well as his employer for negligence causing his injuries.
At trial, the court found that the truck driver was negligent for failing to ensure that the stakes on his piggybacked trailer were in the down position. According to the trial judge, “Any reasonable professional truck driver would have realized that those wires crossing the highway posed a potential hazard of serious harm unless the stakes on the trailers were in a position that would allow proper clearance.” The truck driver argued that he could not see whether the stakes were increased by looking at the mirrors but the court found that he should have stopped his rig and performed a visual walk-around inspection of his truck.
When assessing damages, the court noted that Mr. Baxter (who was 47 at the time of the accident) was not able to pursue his leisure activities as vigorously as prior to the accident. The court also noted the opinion of Mr. Baxter’s physicians was he had a mild degree of permanent disability as a resulting of his ongoing neck pain.
The court awarded Mr. Baxter the following damages:
- $100,000 – damages for pain and suffering
- $30,000 – loss of future earning capacity
- $41,000 – cost of future health care