B.C. Supreme Court Justice Neena Sharma granted a woman a comprehensive settlement from severe injuries sustained in a 2011 head-on collision caused by an intoxicated motorist traveling against traffic at excessive speeds. Mikaela Wilhelmson, 27, is the only survivor of a fatal accident which left three dead, including her fiancé.
The personal injury settlement for this Surrey, B.C. resident is considered unprecedented, addressing the need for future surrogacy.
In addition to a $4-million settlement, $100,000 was awarded for future surrogacy costs.
“That [surrogacy] had never been done before in Canada,” Conrad Margolis, Wilhelmson’s attorney, told the media.
Other attorneys specializing in personal injury echoed that they believe it was a “first of its kind” in Canadian legal history.
“After five years of grueling rehabilitation, Wilhelmson was able to walk, and became pregnant, but was unable to carry to term because of the damage to her spine and internal organs, when she was crushed in the crash,” CBC News reported. “She still yearns to be a mother one day and hopes her case will help others who have been denied parenthood by catastrophe.”
The heartache from the loss of a child is compounded by also having endured 20 surgical procedures relating to her extensive, permanent injuries.
Sharma awarded Wilhelmson Canada’s cap on pain and suffering damages, considering Wilhelmson’s high degree of emotional and functional impairment.
“The judge here said that the impact on this poor woman’s life has been so total that there is no principle that prevents her from awarding the cap here,” Kevin Gourlay, a personal injury expert, told CBC News. He added, “I think that’s significant.”
For having endured so much, Wilhelmson’s attorney calls her his miracle client.
“I don’t know how I stay strong. It’s just who I am,” Wilhelmson said.
Many thank Wilhelmson for her courage in seeing this case to the end in hopes that this judgment may help others left unable to have children after suffering such tragedy.