A Surrey Costco worker who was hit by a car while collecting shopping carts in the parking lot has been awarded $583,345 by a B.C. Supreme Court judge for physical and psychological injuries he suffered as a result of the accident.
Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk was 22 at the time it happened, on Feb. 29, 2016. The court heard that after he had graduated from high school, and attempted to get credits at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, he began working part-time at Costco. This became a full-time job, in which his primary duty was to retrieve and organize shopping carts in the Surrey Costco parking lot.
Sydney Christie, the defendant in this case, admitted liability for the crash. Justice John Harvey presided over the case, in New Westminster.
The court heard this wasn’t the first time Burdeniuk was hit by a car in the Costco parking lot. In 2015, he was standing near a machine that pushes carts when a driver hit him while backing out. “He tried to engage the driver in conversation without success,” Harvey noted in his Feb. 19 reasons for judgment. “The driver drove off. The plaintiff attended first aid and eventually began to experience pain in his low back. He took approximately a week off work, then returned to full-time duties without experiencing ongoing symptoms.”
Prior to this latest crash, the court heard, Burdeniuk enjoyed snowboarding, hiking, and camping among other outdoor activities, and was “keen on keeping physically fit,” but all that changed.
In the 2016 accident, which happened in the early evening, Burdeniuk had been using a buggy machine to move carts that were “spilling into the lot” back into storage when he was hit from behind by Christie’s car. He was pinned against some carts, or the cart machine, and her trunk.
“He hit the vehicle’s trunk once, or more, and the driver then moved forward,” the judge noted in his reasons. “He stated he was able to exchange information with her and then went to the store to make a report to first aid.”
Christie testified her car had been parked in a stall with cars on either side. She said she did a shoulder check, saw nothing and began to reverse while looking forward to make sure she didn’t hit the cars on either side. She said she felt a “thump,” and said it felt like somebody was hitting the trunk of her car. Christie told the court she immediately braked then moved forward.
She asked Burdeniuk if he was okay, to which he replied “No, not really,” or something like that.
Burdeniuk told the court he felt squashed and trapped, with the trunk against his lower rib cage and a buggy handle pressing into his rib cage on the other side. He experienced a “burning sensation” in his lower back and hip, went to hospital, and the next day a doctor at the Cedar Hills Clinic prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine, told him to take two weeks off work and recommended physio and massage therapy.
The court heard he ended up seeing a psychiatrist and Harvey found that his “physical injury, while not severe, has resulted in a constellation of psychological symptoms which have caused him a significant degree of social isolation.”
Harvey awarded Burdeniuk $140,000 in non-pecuniary damages, $46,500 in past wage loss, $26,413 in special damages, $300,000 in future loss of earning capacity, $10,000 in loss of housekeeping capacity and $60,432 in cost of future care, making for a total of $583,345 in compensation.