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Thumb injury gets $136,542

A man whose thumb was broken three years ago when his bicycle was struck by a car in South Surrey has been awarded $136,542.25 in damages.

The judgment in favour of 20-year-old Teodor Dobre was made Oct. 4 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, following a three-day trial in August.

According to court documents, Dobre suffered a fracture at the base of his right thumb, where it joins the wrist, in the July 14, 2008 incident. He was riding across Martin Drive in the crosswalk at Southmere Crescent when a westbound Toyota Matrix hit the rear wheel of his bike, court documents state. The impact sent Dobre "flying high into the air." Putting his hands out to cushion his landing, Dobre came to rest face down on the pavement.

In his reasons for judgment, Justice N. Brown notes Dobre testified he looked both ways and pushed the button to activate the flashing pedestrian-crossing lights before venturing off the curb. The defendant – identified as Leanne Langley – testified she never saw any warning lights, and didn't see Dobre until after the impact, something Dobre argued shows she was not paying attention, the Brown notes.

A witness testified that he saw no evidence of evasive action on Langley's part, the judgment notes.

While Brown found both Dobre and Langley credible, he notes Langley's assertion that she didn't see any warning lights wasn't enough to convince the court that Dobre didn't activate them.

"Her evidence on this point deserves considerable weight, but her failure to see Mr. Dobre before impact substantially weakens it," Brown writes. "As she was completely oblivious to his presence until after impact, she was just as likely to miss seeing the lights."

Brown found Dobre partially liable for the incident, which left him with a permanent disability that has reduced his career options and will translate into arthritis as he ages. Brown reduced the award by 15 per cent – to $116,060.91 – to reflect that responsibility.

 

 

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