28 Nov Road Rage Incident Costs Defendant

In Henderson v. McGregor, 2019 BCSC 1964, the Plaintiff sought damages for injuries he sustained as a result of a road rage incident. He claimed that the Defendant hit him in the face suddenly, without warning and without provocation.  The Defendant claimed she acted in self-defence.

The incident occurred while the parties were driving in congested traffic.  The Plaintiff tried to merge into a lane and the Defendant’s vehicle was travelling immediately behind his, in very close proximity. The Plaintiff was concerned that the Defendant’s vehicle had made contact with the rear of his vehicle so he put his vehicle in park and checked for damage. He then walked over to the Defendant’s vehicle and she rolled down her window. Suddenly, without warning, the Defendant threw what felt like a punch to the Plaintiff’s face. His prescription glasses flew off. The Defendant rolled up her window and drove off.

The Plaintiff’s face was scratched, bleeding and bruised.  He attended at a hospital where it was determined that his cornea was also scratched.

The judge found the Defendant’s evidence was inconsistent and her testimony was not credible. The judge accepted the Plaintiff’s evidence and found him to be an entirely forthright witness. The judge concluded that the Defendant committed an unprovoked assault and battery on the Plaintiff, and she was liable for the injuries she inflicted on him.

The Plaintiff’s facial injuries healed in approximately one month, but he continued to suffer eye irritation and anxiety. The judge held that an appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages in this case was $20,000.

The Plaintiff was a business consultant. His income depended on his ability to broker transactions for clients, which involved face-to-face meetings. While his facial injuries were healing, the Plaintiff minimized contact with people because of his physical appearance. He cancelled a business trip and did not meet with clients for two weeks following the assault. The judge agreed that the Plaintiff suffered wage loss for that two-week period and awarded him $12,000.

The Plaintiff also sought an award for aggravated damages, for the distress and humiliation from the facial injuries he sustained. The judge agreed that $2,000 was an appropriate award in this case.

Finally, the Plaintiff was awarded $980 to replace his designer prescription glasses.