A Montrealer who suffered serious injuries five years ago after a fall on her bicycle on Rachel Street, which was then under construction, will obtain a total of $ 2 million in damages from the City of Montreal and the company CRH Canada Group.
The cyclist blamed the City for its poor lighting of the area and CRH Canada Group for not having secured the site.
An out-of-court settlement was authorized by the executive committee on Wednesday. The City will contribute $ 500,000 of the total amount. CRH Canada Group, responsible for the work on Rachel Street on behalf of the City at the time of the accident, will take care of the rest.
While taking the bike path in September 2015 that crosses Jeanne-Mance Park in Montreal and continues on Rachel Street, the young woman fell. A drop of about four inches between street level and bike path level is believed to be the cause of her accident, she argued in her initial lawsuit.
By this time, CRH Canada Group had started work and a layer of asphalt had been removed from Rachel Street, lowering the street level to that of the bike path. However, “no signal, cone or other device warned cyclists of the presence of this drop,” is it specified in the documents provided to elected officials Wednesday and made public Friday.
“By falling [la demanderesse] suffered a head trauma. She still presents today significant difficulty concentrating, various neck and back pains as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression which, despite follow-up in psychology, psychiatry and medication, do not disappear. », We can also read.
The young woman was studying in her first year of a doctorate at McGill University in biogenetics at the time of the events and aspired to become a consultant. She had to give up her doctorate due to the after-effects of her accident and plans to move on to teaching.
The lawsuit filed on January 22, 2018 initially claimed $ 1,160,000, an amount modified to 3,787,466 on January 25, 2019, for non-pecuniary damages, disbursements, legal costs, lost wages and future earning capacity as well. as interest and additional indemnity. An amount she agreed to reduce after negotiations to $ 2,000,000.
“Considering the high risks of monetary condemnation and the vagaries of a lawsuit, it is in the interest of the City to settle this claim and to pay $ 500,000 in capital, interest and costs in final settlement of the dispute”, states in the decision-making summary the City’s litigation department. If the latter considers that the bulk of the risk of conviction rests with CRH Canada Group, it is also possible, in the event of a lawsuit, that a court may place a greater part of the responsibility on the City since “the marking on the ground of the cycle path going to Rachel Street being partially erased and contributing, possibly, to direct [la demanderesse] in the construction site. “
The City will also have to pay $ 423.44 to the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, which for its part claimed $ 3,207.86, ie the amounts incurred for the care administered to the cyclist after her accident.