Mother of snow removal accident victim wins in court
Published Friday, October 15, 2010 8:14PM EDT
The provincial auto insurance board has lost another legal fight that might cost it a lot of money in the future.
In a potentially precedent-setting decision, the mother of a girl who was run over and killed by a snow removal truck five years ago has been determined by the courts to be a victim of the accident herself and therefore eligible for compensation from the Societe de l'assurance automobile du Quebec.
The SAAQ had made a lump-sum payment to Jeannette Holman Price to compensate her for the death of her daughter Jessica, who was hit by a snow removal truck on Sherbrooke St. in Westmount in 2005.
The driver of the truck received compensation from the SAAQ for lost wages and therapy to get over the emotional trauma of the incident, but Jeannette Holman Price – whose son was also severely injured in the accident – received no such payment.
Holman Price says she suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the accident, and took the SAAQ to court to be recognized as a victim of the accident herself.
She won the first court decision that stated since she was paid for the death of her daughter, she is also a victim of the accident according to the SAAQ's own definition of the term.
The SAAQ appealed that decision and lost, and now has 30 days to decide if it wants to file another appeal.
"I continue to experience the effect today."
Holman Price was reached at her Newfoundland home by CTV Montreal's Caroline Van Vlaardingen, and she says the memory of what she saw that day remains vivid in her mind.
"I arrived at the scene, and the police were setting up their lines, with my daughter's body on the road in front of me and my son getting in the back of an ambulance," Holman Price said. "How is that for witnessing? How is that for experiencing? And I continue to experience the effect today."
Holman Price says the money she is seeking is a drop in the bucket when compared to the money the accident has cost her on top of the loss of her daughter.
"This isn't, you know, one of those U.S. ambulance-chaser winnings," she said. "I'm not going to get millions for the pain and suffering that we've gone through. It will literally be compensation for salary loss and a partial payment of the treatment that I've been receiving for the last four and a half years."
Should the SAAQ decide not to challenge the decision and pay Holman Price compensation as a victim of the accident, it could mean that other family members of accident victims who have received death-benefit payments could also try to receive additional money as victims themselves.