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B.C. man awarded nearly $500,000 for 2018 car accident

Defendant Freeman Brown forced to pay damages to plaintiff David Reeve in Vancouver court.
David Reeve in front of one of his work trucks for his company Sunshine Bins Co. Reeve was awarded nearly $500,000 for damages from a 2018 accident in Prince Rupert.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded David Reeve almost $500,000 in damages after being rear-ended in 2018 by Prince Rupert resident Freeman Brown on April 11. 

Justice Heather MacNaughton awarded Reeve the substantial sum after Reeve, a carpenter now based on the Sunshine Coast, laid out past and future damages caused by injuries sustained in the accident. 

According to MacNaughton’s reasons for judgment, Brown did admit liability after the crash, which did not result in significant damage to either vehicle. 

Robert Brown was also a defendant, as it was his 2006 Chevrolet Silverado that Freeman Brown was driving when the accident occurred. 

Reeve operated construction business Laxmoon Builders Inc. in Prince Rupert from 2015 until 2020, when he and his family moved to the Sunshine Coast., apparently to take advantage of a more lucrative market than Prince Rupert and a better area to raise he and his wife’s children. 

The carpenter claimed he had to hire more labourers to complete physical tasks, which he said he was unable to do after chronic pain from the 2018 accident. 

“He hired others to do the work that his pain prevented him from doing,” read MacNaughton’s reasons for judgment. She drew from testimony from physicians on both side of the court, who all agreed Reeve’s pain was chronic. 

“He was unable to work over his head for much longer than a minute. He avoided work from shoulder level and above.” 

In 2022, Reeve started Sunshine Bins Co., which provides residential and commercial waste and recycling bins as well as estate cleaning in the town of Half Moon Bay, where he and his family now live. 

Reeve testified that part of the decision to start the company was to avoid some of the physical labour his previous employment required. 

Reeve was diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder, a jaw injury that made it challenging for him to chew and caused headaches. 

MacNaughton found Reeve also suffered from “ongoing pain in the muscles of his left neck and upper back…Post-traumatic headaches secondary to neck pain; and frustration and irritability.” 

MacNaughton found Reeve’s testimony credible after the defendants argued he and his witnesses were not entirely consistent. 

She decided that previous injuries suffered by Reeve — which included a back injury around three years before the accident — were minor and did not affect his ability to work after the accident. 

“I find that Mr. Reeve’s accident injuries are the primary cause of his current physical limitations. The defence has not established that he would be unable to perform as a journeyman carpenter or contractor despite the accident,” MacNaughton said. 

MacNaughton determined $211,500 would be awarded to Reeve for his future lost wages, calculated by Reeve’s past earnings as a carpenter, which MacNaughton found difficult to determine through his tax filings due to year-to-year fluctuation. She also found $28,000 was an accurate reflection of past wage loss. 

Reeve was also awarded $135,000 for non-pecuniary damages — non-financial damages — with MacNaughton saying the sum was reasonable because of “Mr. Reeve’s age, stage of life, established chosen career, and the fact that five years post-accident, Mr. Reeve is still experiencing pain that is chronic.” 

Costs for future care — which included items like exercise bikes, CBD oil and chiropractic treatment — amounted to just over $56,000, while “loss of housekeeping” costs were $45,000 and “special damages” amounted to just over $19,000. 

MacNaughton did shave 10 per cent of the original damages from the non-pecuniary, housekeeping and future loss of earning capacity damages because of the defendants’ argument that Reeve failed to mitigate injuries by not completing exercises recommended by his physiotherapist. 

In total, Reeve was awarded $495,569 in damages.