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Executive awarded $3.7M after Richmond taxi accident

The B.C. Supreme Court award includes $2.9 million for loss of earning capacity.
Vancouver International Airport
A Canadian executive was cabbing to Vancouver International Airport when another vehicle struck the taxi.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded $3.74 million in damages to a Canadian medical executive whose airport-bound cab was struck from behind.

Justice Anita Chan said in a Nov. 9 ruling that Chantal Courchesne, then chief executive officer of the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA), was en route to the Vancouver airport Oct. 29, 2017 when her taxi was hit from behind.

Named as defendants in the case were Tsz Chau, 1110486 BC Ltd. and GM Financial Canada Leasing Ltd.

The defendants denied liability in the case, Chan said.

Chau was the driver of a new white Chevy Colorado that rear-ended the taxi. The Colorado was owned by Chau’s employer, 1110486 B.C. Ltd., with him listed as the principal operator.

Chau was driving to the airport to pick up an iPad that Chau had left behind.

Meanwhile, Courchesne was in Vancouver with two staff members from the CDA. They were scheduled on a flight to return home to Ottawa later that afternoon.

The collision occurred on Grant McConachie Way near the intersection with Templeton Street with both vehicles travelling westbound towards the airport.

Courchesne testified her body went forward at the time of the collision. She believed she hit the back seat as the back of her head and neck hurt.

The rear window of the taxi shattered.

Both cars pulled over.

“The plaintiff testified she was not able to turn her head,” Chan said.

Chau testified the taxi came from his right and changed into his lane in front of him.

He said he heard a siren from an ambulance that was in the left lane to which he briefly turned his attention without turning his head. He said the taxi suddenly stopped, he was not able to stop in time and slid into the back of the cab.

He testified the light was green for him.

Witness Leon Berdej said he believed the Colorado rear-ended the taxi while it waited at a red light.

Taxi driver Paramjit Dhatt testified he had a yellow light after the ambulance passed and stopped for the light. He said the Colorado pushed the cab four to five feet into the intersection.

“Mr. Dhatt testified he thought his brakes had failed, because even with his foot on the brakes the taxi was being pushed,” Chan said. “He testified the traffic light was red for him when he was hit from behind.”

Chan said only Chau testified the light was green and ruled it was red at the time of events.


Courchesne testified she attempted to continue with her work but found herself impeded by headaches and inability to think and make decisions. She was also dealing with neck and shoulder pain, dizziness, nausea and eye pain.

She went on medical leave and has not worked since.

Courchesne testified current symptoms are pain in her eyes, headaches, nausea, dizziness, burping, light and sound sensitivity, limited peripheral vision, limited range of motion in shoulder when swimming freestyle, cognitive issues with poor memory, inability to focus, difficulty finding words when speaking, low mood and fatigue.

“In my view, the plaintiff’s physical, cognitive and psychological injuries are caused in whole or in part by the collision,” Chan said. “There is no evidence the plaintiff had any of these symptoms before the collision.”

Broken down, Chan awarded Courchesne:

• $2.9 million loss of earning capacity;

• $520,000 loss of future income;

• $200,000 non-pecuniary damages;

• $106,410 cost of future care; and,

• $19,987 special damages.