Shuswap dirt biker hit chain across road at neck height; awarded $1.3M for injuries | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Shuswap dirt biker hit chain across road at neck height; awarded $1.3M for injuries

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A Shuswap dirt biker who was almost killed when he drove into a metal chain that had been strung across the road on his neighbour's large rural property has been awarded $1.3 million in damages.

According to a May 13 B.C. Supreme Court decision, Cody Jackson was riding his dirt bike near his parents’ rural property in Mara when he hit the chain.

The chain had been strung across the road between a telephone pole and a large tree.

Justice Frits Verhoeven said it was lucky Jackson was standing up on his bike at the time otherwise the accident could have been fatal.

Jackson broke both his arms, shattered his pelvis, cracked an eye socket, and received nerve damage to his right leg, as well as a concussion. He spent two months in hospital followed by a long period of rehabilitation.

Justice Verhoeven said the chain was "all but invisible" to Jackson. 

Jackson took legal action against the property owner, Adam Lindsay.

However, Lindsay refused to participate in the trial so the justice ruled against him making him liable for the incident. There was no explanation why the chain might have been placed there.

"Physically, (Jackson) will never be the same. Before the accident, he was energetic and healthy. He was athletic and had a great deal of physical stamina. He had no physical limitations of any kind. He was strong, muscular, and was proud of his physique," Justice Verhoeven said. "He now walks with a limp. He is weak and has limited stamina. He is no longer athletic. He lacks confidence in physical activities such as snowmobiling and hunting. He tried ice-skating once but could not do it as a result of his right ankle injury. He tried dirt biking, a former passion of his, but his understandable fear and anxiety now prevents him from riding his dirt bike. He has limited stamina for walking and hiking."

The decision says Jackson has been left with chronic pain for which he relies on painkillers.

"His injuries to his hips, arms, right leg, ankle, and wrists are permanent. He faces a potential for progression of the post-traumatic osteoarthritic changes in both of his hips, and it is likely that he will require future treatment, which could be injections or hip replacement surgeries," the decision says.

Jackson was only 26 years old at the time of the crash, which has changed him both physically and mentally.

The decision says he broke up with his long-term girlfriend following the crash and his parents say he has changed.

"Prior to the accident, his lifestyle centred on his work, his family relationships, his domestic partnership... and his numerous outdoor leisure activities," the decision reads.  "All of these spheres of his life have been profoundly negatively affected."

His family says he has become withdrawn and less communicative than he once was.

The activities he loved to do prior to the crash, dirt biking, hunting, and snowmobiling, are now largely off-limits to him.

"His personality has changed. He was formerly happy and optimistic, and sociable, although somewhat shy," the Justice said. "He is now unhappy, withdrawn, and unable or unwilling to engage in social activities to anything like the former extent."

The decision says Jackson was working as a journeyman crane operator and making roughly $150,000 a year working around the province.

Throughout the three-day trial, various experts testified about Jackson's ability to continue working.

Although Jackson is currently working as a crane operator foreman he is unable to do aspects of his job.

"He has carried on with his life and his responsibilities through sheer grit, perseverance, stubbornness, and necessity," the Justice said. "He faces a lifetime of chronic pain and physical limitations that will likely increase over time."

Ultimately, the Justice awarded $1.35 million in compensation.

Lindsay will also have to pay $170,783 to the Minister of Health to cover Jackson's medical bills.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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