A court has awarded a car accident victim $1.5 million in damages from the estate of the driver who was killed in the collision.
Cayman Turtle Farm employee Charles Yates, 47, was injured in May 2007 when Ysatis Nathine Chin’s Honda Accord smashed into his Porsche Boxster.
The court accepted that Ms. Chin, a 20-year-old West Bay woman who died in the collision, was responsible for the accident.
It is understood that the payout, which covers Mr. Yates’s medical bills as well as loss of earnings associated with his injuries, will be covered by an insurance policy.
Unable to keep job
The court heard that Mr. Yates was unable to hold on to his $90,000-a-year job at the turtle farm as a result of his injuries.
Evidence from medical and vocational experts, accepted by the judge, suggested he could now only complete “sedentary work” and could therefore be expected to command an income of only $35,000 a year.
The total payout of $1.5 million included just over $850,000 to cover the future shortfall in income.
Since the accident, Mr. Yates has worked as an Freedom of Information manager and set up an ice-cream business, the court was told, but he was unable to make anywhere near the same amount of money as he had been earning in his former job. The judge awarded him an additional $350,000 for loss of earnings since the accident.
He was also awarded nearly $90,000 in lost pension benefits, $50,000 for medical expenses, and nearly $60,000 for “household and gardening assistance” after the judge ruled that he could no longer be expected to do yard work.
In a 56-page judgment published last week, Grand Court acting judge Nova Hall summarized evidence about the nature of Mr. Yates’s injuries and its effect on his employment.
She said he was working as buildings and grounds manager at the Cayman Turtle Farm at the time of the accident – a position that earned him a $90,000 annual salary, $450-a-month pension, company car and cellphone.
The accident left him unable to walk properly without the assistance of a cane or leg brace, and he subsequently accepted a lesser paid desk job as the farm’s FOI manager. That position was made redundant two-and-a-half years later, and Mr. Yates took work on a commission basis appraising buildings for Charterland.
Ms. Hall wrote in her judgment, “I find as a fact that had the accident not occurred, the Plaintiff would have continued to be employed at the Turtle Farm in his original role.”
She added, “The evidence has established that the Plaintiff has always showed a determination to find employment and he has always worked to the maximum extent of his physical capabilities.”
Mr. Yates spent 15 days in hospital following the accident on North West Point Road on May 4, 2007.
Ms. Chin was killed in the collision. Her mother Brenda Chin was named in the suit as the personal representative of her daughter’s estate, though the payout is expected to come from an insurance policy.