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Langford woman awarded $1.05M after being struck by a roller-hockey puck

The woman was sitting in bleachers at Eagle Ridge arena on May 3, 2014, when she was struck in her right eye with a roller hockey puck during a game.
Eagle Ridge Community Centre in Langford. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A Langford woman hit by a roller hockey puck at Eagle Ridge Arena nine years ago has been awarded $1.05 million for pain and suffering, wage loss and future care.

Sherry Lynn Matthew was sitting in the bleachers on May 3, 2014, when she was struck in her right eye by a roller-hockey puck during a game. The puck entered the seating area through a hole in protective netting. In March 2016, Matthews launched a lawsuit against the arena operators, Performance Plus Hockey Inc.

“This is a case where a jury, made up of the plaintiff’s peers in her community, reached a reasonable decision to compensate her for her concussion-related harms and losses,” said Matthew’s lawyer Sonny Sidhu. “The verdict demonstrates that yet again, when asked, our community will reach a fair and reasonable verdict based on the evidence.”

The civil trial was held over 10 days in B.C. Supreme Court from April 3 to April 19. Medical experts, economists, Matthew’s family members, friends and supervisors were called to give evidence. The jury deliberated for two days.

“The award will go someway to recover all the losses she suffered, but she suffered so much for nine years,” said Sidhu. “Her life is completely changed since the puck incident. It’s in no way a victory or a windfall. It’s a small amount of compensation to help her with the losses she and her family members suffered.”

In her civil claim, Matthews said the arena operator owed a duty of care to ensure she would be safe and would not be exposed to a risk of damage or injury. Performance Plus Hockey should have inspected the protective netting to make sure she could not get injured.

Matthews sustained a concussion, an eye injury and a nasal fracture. She had nausea, impaired vision, difficulty focusing, headaches, depression and anxiety, her claim said.

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