More than four years after a rear-ender that left him with ailments ranging from neck pain to tinnitus, a Coquitlam mechanical engineer was recently awarded $435,670 in B.C. Supreme Court.
In December, 2018, Min Dai was on his way to work in a 2017 BMW when he was rear-ended by a Toyota Corolla driven by Jenna Marie Grose.
At the time of the crash, Dai was stopped at around 104th Avenue and 173rd Street in Surrey when the Corolla slipped on ice and crashed into his car, sending the BMW about five metres forward, according to the judgment. The crash also resulted in about $17,600 in damages to Dai’s car.
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After waiting by the side of the road, Dai eventually got back in the car and drove about 100 metres to work.
He left work early that day. While he didn’t miss any work after the crash, Dai testified that his: “efficiency and physical wellbeing” were compromised both at work and at home.
Along with his wife, Dai owns and operates Digitech Enterprises Inc. The electronic circuit board assembly company is now located in Coquitlam.
While Grose admitted liability for the crash, Dai claimed damages for pain and suffering, loss of income, and cost of future care.
Dai testified that his injuries included neck, back, shoulder, arm and leg pain, as well as headaches, memory loss, lack of focus and difficulty concentrating, dizziness, a floater in his right eye, blurry vision, tinnitus, sleep disturbance and fatigue. Some of those injuries were disputed by the defence.
Noting there was no loss of consciousness or loss of memory around the time of the accident, neuro-ophthalmologist Dr. Briar Sexton gave an opinion that Dai did not sustain a mild traumatic brain injury.
Dai’s vision problem was also disputed.
Beginning the day of the crash, Dai started seeing a floater in his right eye, an ailment that sometimes affected his detailed work on circuit boards. Dai said he’s often forced to take breaks, ultimately making him less productive.
Sexton suggested Dai’s vision problems could be attributed to either dry eye or refractive error.
That opinion contradicted with Dr. Selena Teja, a neuro-ophthalmologist who said Dai experienced: ”a post-concussive syndrome consistent with a mild traumatic brain injury.”
Justice Matthew Taylor ultimately inclined to Teja’s opinion, writing: “Sexton’s conclusion was based upon the narrow assumption that a mild traumatic brain injury could not be diagnosed without evidence of unconsciousness or memory loss.”
Ultimately, Justice Taylor found Dai: “a credible and forthright witness.”
In his summation, Taylor noted that Dai no longer skis or hikes, and that his tinnitus has made it harder to get to sleep and to enjoy a social life.
Dai, 58, originally planned to retire in 2026, “but that he has had to postpone his expected retirement due to the reduction of his work efficiency after the accident,” Taylor concluded.
Taylor also referred to Teja’s testimony that Dai’s prospects for recovery are “simply unknown.”