Coquitlam veteran awarded $478k following two car crashes

Despite a dispute over both the severity of his injuries and the treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder, a Supreme Court justice recently awarded a Coquitlam veteran $478,681 following two car crashes.

Robert Jandric, 52, served as a soldier for the Canadian Armed Forces in the Balkan conflict from 1992 to 1993. He was honourably discharged in 1996 after being diagnosed with PTSD.

Jandric spent more than a decade working as a heavy duty mechanic for Southern Railway, where he advanced rapidly due to his strong work ethic, according to Justice Emily M. Burke.


At the time of the first car crash, he was working as a national representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

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First crash

Jandric was in the passenger seat of his 2010 Ford Escape as the family drove home from Vernon. They were heading west on Highway 1 in Abbotsford at about 6 p.m. on July 13, 2015.

Jandric was checking work emails on his phone when he heard his wife, Lesley Janzen, exclaim.

“The SUV broadsided another vehicle that was stopped on the highway and facing perpendicular,” Burke wrote in her judgment.

The airbags deployed, knocking off Jandric’s glasses.

The family SUV was then rear-ended at highway speed as the crash turned into a seven-care pileup.

Jandric’s “military training kicked in,” Burke wrote, as he moved quickly to take his family members from the totalled SUV.

Before the collision, Jandric and Janzen had a strong bond.

“The family had a warm, fulfilling relationship,” Burke wrote.

However, the couple separated after the crash and eventually divorced.

“Their separation was attributed to the cumulative effect of his accident-related injuries,” Burke wrote.

After seeing a psychiatrist, Jandric’s mental health improved throughout 2018.

Second crash

On March 7, 2019, Jandric was rear-ended while stopped at Foster Avenue and Robinson Street in Coquitlam.

The crash resulted in $3,000 damage to the 2016 Dodge Charger driven by Jandric. The other vehicle, driven by Osama Qamar, was a write-off.

Liability was admitted for both crashes.

Following the crash, Jandric suffered: “disabling lower back pain, headaches, and continued memory and cognition issues,” as well as an exacerbation of his PTSD symptoms, according to the judgment.

He couldn’t watch TV or use a computer for more than 30 minutes and woke up from nightmares in a sweat.

Coping with the pain was difficult for Jandric, according to testimony from Dr. Carolyn Van Schagen, who gave evidence that Jandric started using alcohol and smoking despite having quit 17 years earlier.

Before the first accident, Jandric had been considered the “go-to guy” at work.

Following the collisions he would forget meetings and dates. When at meetings, “[Jandric] would forget the names of people in attendance, and could not absorb information that was discussed,” according to the judgment.


After returning from the Balkan conflict, Jandric was treated for about six months by psychiatrist Dr. Donald Gregory Passey.

At the end of those sessions, Passey considered Jandric: “to be recovered to the point where he did not need any more treatment,” according to the judgment.

Following the 2015 crash, Jandric startet getting treatment from Passey again in April 2017.

The defendants, Qamar and Janzen, alleged Jandric “failure to act in accordance with the medical advice.”

However, the delay in receiving psychiatric treatment was due to Passey’s “extensive wait list and due to his moving office locations at the time,” Burke wrote.

In an effort to prove that Jandric failed to follow medical advice, the defendants argued that Jandric did not take the antidepressant Luvox, despite a recommendation from Dr. Van Schagen.

In court, Van Schagen noted the drug is not a cure-all and could cause unwanted side effects.

“Dr. Van Schagen testified that every discussion with the patient about treatment, including medication, is a partnership,” with the doctor and patient deciding on treatment after taking various pros and cons into account, Burke wrote.


In reaching her judgment, Burke noted that before the accident, Jandric regularly did heavy chores on the family’s 20-acre farm in Langley. On weekends he saw friends and family, regularly riding dirt bikes and taking his kids to hockey and soccer practice.

Jandric testified that he’s no longer able to participate in many of those activities.

“He does not socialize often with friends, and while he now attends family events, he needs to take breaks as the noise can be too much for him,” Burke noted.

Jandric is now  likely at greater risk for “a full-blown reoccurrence of his PTSD symptoms,” according to Dr. Van Schagen.

Burke awarded Jandric $478,681.95, including $210,000 in loss of future earnings and $200,000 for emotional distress and physical pain and suffering.

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