$866K in crash damages

A 52-year-old Kelowna woman was awarded more than $850,000 in damages stemming from two car crashes that have left her with significant lasting injuries and unable to work.

Prior to moving to Kelowna in 2015, Melinda Lakatos, her husband Gregory and her brother-in-law were returning home after a trip to Kelowna on Feb. 27, 2011.

The highway near Hope was covered in snow, and Gregory lost control of their vehicle on the slippery road, causing the car to roll.

Melinda, who already suffered from blood clots in her legs, had taken off her seatbelt in the back seat to stretch her legs. She was seriously injured in the crash, and couldn't work for the following nine months.

Three-and-a-half years later, on Sept. 23, 2014, Melinda's husband was driving her home from visiting their daughter in Mission when an oncoming car crossed the centre line and hit the Lakatos' vehicle.

She spent four days in hospital before being discharged in a wheelchair.

Her doctor said Melinda was suffering physically and mentally months after the second crash, and has yet to go back to work. 

Both Melinda's husband, the driver in the first crash, and Shane Holloway, the driver of the car that crossed the centre line in the second incident, admitted liability in the crashes.

Because her injuries from the second crash were “essentially an aggravation of the injuries from the first accident,” the damages were assessed together.

Justice John Steeves determined Melinda is owed $866,912 in damages from the two crashes, despite her being held 20 per cent responsible for her injuries in the first crash due to not wearing her seatbelt.

The majority of these damages stem from factoring in her future loss of income, as she hasn't been able to work since the second crash. Holloway, who was at fault in the second crash, is solely liable for the $421,982 in loss of income damages.  

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