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HandyDART driver awarded $713K for Metro Vancouver accident

A Honda struck a HandyDART bus on Crescent Road near the 144th Street intersection in Surrey in March 2016.
A HandyDART driver has been awarded $713,000 after a Surrey collision.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded a HandyDART driver involved in a Surrey car accident $713,099 in costs and damages.

In her Aug. 25 decision, Justice Jan Brongers said Praveen Chand was working a shift as a HandyDART bus driver March 9, 2016.

He was driving three passengers along Crescent Road near the 144th Street intersection when he was struck by a Honda driven by defendant Sital Aujla and owned by defendant Sukhdeep Aujla.

“I find that Mr. Chand’s soft tissue and psychological injuries were caused by the accident and that they have significantly affected his enjoyment of life,” Brongers said.

Brongers said Chand, now 60, was momentarily stunned by the force of the collision.

Once he regained his senses, he noticed the bus was starting to roll backwards. He applied the emergency brake and put the transmission in park, but these actions did not immobilize the bus.

Chand therefore had to keep his foot on the brake pedal until first responders arrived and secured the bus with chock blocks.

Brongers said both vehicles suffered considerable damage.

“Mr. Chand initially understood that the accident had killed the other driver. To his relief, he later learned that this was not the case,” Brongers said.

While Chand noticed some pain in his neck and head, he did not go to hospital or seek any immediate medical attention.

The day after, Chand began experiencing problems and began seeking medical assistance due to pain in his neck, shoulder, back, hip, knees, ankles and toes. His left arm had become particularly weak. He also suffered from headaches, dizziness and insomnia.

By early 2017, much of the pain Chand was experiencing on the right side of his body was gone. On the left side, however, he had problems with his head, neck, shoulder, back, arm, hip and leg. Dizziness, headaches and insomnia also persisted.

Further, Chand experienced mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. He received help from a psychiatrist and a psychologist, according to court documents.

In August 2019, Chand underwent two surgical procedures performed by a neurosurgeon at a private clinic that dealt with issues in his back and leg.

He began working at HandyDART again in January 2018 but by that June could no longer do it and stopped for two years.

He returned in 2020. But, Brongers said, he still finds the work physically difficult, especially when he goes up and down stairs, loads wheelchairs and assists heavy passengers.

The judge said the accident has also impacted Chand’s family relationships and ability to handle household chores.

Dr. Christopher Watt testified the accident directly caused Chand’s neck, low back and left shoulder impairments, a major depressive episode and anxiety disorder, and probably exacerbated his pre-existing left knee pain.

Family physician Dr. Mandeep Gill testified Chand’s issues would continue to affect his life for the foreseeable future, and that he would likely remain limited in his work, non-work, household, and recreational activities.  

Brongers awarded Chand:

  • $170,000 in non-pecuniary damages;
  • $167,171 for past loss of income;
  • $60,000 for future loss of earning capacity;
  • $99,093 for cost of future care;
  • $66,835 in special damages; and,
  • $150,000 for loss of housekeeping capacity.