Promising athlete awarded $455K after being injured in four car crashes

Despite ICBC questioning his credibility, a once-promising soccer player who was involved in four car crashes in 14 months was awarded $455,990.70 following a recent B.C. Supreme Court decision.

After having lived in Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan, Ahmad Farid Ziauddin and his family moved to Vancouver when he was 15, according to the recently published court decision.

Promising soccer player

Ziauddin, who testified that he hoped to be a professional soccer player, coach, or to open a soccer training academy, played in soccer leagues in Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver.

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A former coach described him as one of his best players, noting that Ziauddin was chosen out of more than 40 players to captain the Afghan Select team. In addition to his considerable skills, Ziauddin had leadership qualities and excellent social skills, according to the coach.

Ziauddin was in his early 20s when his father died. As the oldest son and the only family member with a driver’s licence, Ziauddin started driving his five younger brothers to soccer, school, and various appointments.

One fellow soccer player testified that Ziauddin was still playing high-level soccer a few months before the first crash in November of 2015.

Four crashes in 14 months

He was driving on Kingsway in Burnaby when a driver in another vehicle tried to change lanes and hit Ziauddin’s car, which was owned by his mother.

The second crash occurred two months later in Coquitlam. The other driver, Bum Chul Joo , was heading west on Ridgeway Avenue when he went through a Stop sign at Blue Mountain Street and hit the car Ziauddin was driving.

Joo, who admitted liability, testified his vehicle spun 180 degrees and that his rear bumper dropped off his car following the collision

After those two crashes, Ziauddin’s mother transferred ownership of the car to her son.

Ziauddin was in another crash four months later in Burnaby.

In all three crashes, the defendants admitted liability. However, in the fourth crash, the defendants “raised questions about the reliability and credibility” of Ziauddin’s evidence, according to the written judgment of B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather MacNaughton.

Fourth crash

In the fourth crash, which took place in January, 2017, Ziauddin was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by Sayed Hussein Ahmadi, an acquaintance who lived in the same apartment complex.

In denying that Ahmadi was liable for the accident, ICBC submitted that Ziauddin was “contributorily negligent,” according to court documents.

After picking up two more passengers near a Coquitlam SkyTrain station, Ahmadi drove Ziauddin to a secluded viewpoint in a parking lot on top of Burnaby Mountain after midnight. It was snowing.

One of the passengers, Samim Salam, testified that when they got to the parking lot, Ahmadi started doing donuts. After being asked to stop, Ahmadi parked and they sat and enjoyed the view for 15 to 20 minutes until Salam asked Ahmadi to take him home.

Salam testified that Ahmadi turned “very hard.”

“[Ahmadi] rushed it to turn around to do a last donut or I don’t know what he was thinking, and I believe the front tire went on to that curb and the car started rolling from there,” Salam testified, according to court documents.

Based on damage to the roof of the Dodge Ram, the truck rolled over “at least once,” according to Justice MacNaughton.

Ziauddin testified to not remembering much about the crash. He said he remembered being parked and that he was smoking with his arm hanging out the truck.

The next thing he remembered was Ahmadi backing up. “He saw, or felt, that the car was going to land on his arm, so he pulled his hand back inside,” MacNaughton wrote.

In trying to shake Ziauddin awake, Salam testified that he had to slap him. Unable to open the doors, Salam used an axle he found in the back of the truck to break the back window and help Ziauddin and another passenger out of the truck, according to MacNaughton.

Emergency vehicles arrived later that night. Both Salam and Ziauddin were taken to Royal Columbian Hospital and discharged after three or four hours.

After leaving the hospital, Ziauddin stopped and bought new clothes.

“He explained that he did so because he did not want to upset his mother and family by showing up covered in blood,” MacNaughton wrote.

ICBC makes submission

ICBC submitted that Ziauddin, “should not be considered reliable because he tried to hide the fact that he was in an accident from his mother.” His behaviour was “consistent with an acknowledgement of guilt,” according to ICBC.

However, MacNaughton found it was probable Ziauddin: “did not want to upset his mother and family who were dependent on him and looked to him as a role model.”

In addition to observing Ziauddin trying to “honestly and sincerely” answer the questions he was asked in court, MacNaughton also found there was “nothing inherently risky” in Ziauddin accepting a ride from Ahmadi.

He had seen Ahmadi drive the truck before “without incident,” the justice wrote.

Nothing ‘inherently or unacceptably dangerous’

Ziauddin: “did not know that Mr. Ahmadi would do donuts or drift in the parking lot,” MacNaughton wrote, noting that when asked, Ahmadi stopped doing donuts.

There was also nothing “inherently or unacceptably dangerous,” about staying in Ahmadi’s truck in the circumstances.

“I conclude that Mr. Ziauddin was not contributorily negligent,” MacNaughton wrote.

Injuries

Ziauddin suffered soft tissue injuries to his left knee and lower back in the first three car crashes.

Following the fourth crash, Ziauddin testified that his neck pain worsened, he suffered headaches and woke up often during the night, according to MacNaughton. He also described memory problems.

A former soccer coach described Ziauddin as a different person after the crash, “not as aggressive or passionate, and way less sociable,” MacNaughton wrote.

A work colleague testified Ziauddin could not keep up with a previously agreed pace on a siding installation job.

Judgment

MacNaughton awarded Ziauddin $455,990.70, including $240,000 for future loss of income earning capacity.

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