Claim For Relationship Breakdown As A Result Of Accident Deemed Too Remote

 

In Shinkaruk v. Crouch, the Plaintiff recovered damages at trial for aggravation of a pre-existing back injury. The effects of his injuries eventually caused the break-up of his relationship as well, however the Court held that such a claim would be too remote.

 

 

 

[58]        As I noted above, Ms. Wahlwroth also testified as to the circumstances of their breakup in December 2006. That was not their first breakup; they had separated in the summer of 2005 for a month or two. After that, the relationship had its ups and downs.

 

 

 

[59]        It was apparent from Ms. Wahlwroth’s description of their interaction with each other, during the period in which Mr. Shinkaruk was convalescing from the accident, that their disagreements were largely a function of the two of them having very different visions of their roles and responsibilities within their relationship. It may be that these differences did not become manifest when the two of them had different working schedules. But with Mr. Shinkaruk at home in the evenings, she testified that she found it difficult to have him there without him making any contributions to the housework, making meals, cleaning up dishes, and doing other tasks which she felt he was physically capable of. She contrasted his lack of contribution with efforts made by husbands of friends of hers, when the couples had dinner together. Their differences were compounded by their poor communication skills, and they became trapped in a cycle of angry arguments, sniping and a lack of mutual respect. This climaxed during the December 2006 family vacation, when they spent little time in each other’s company, and had heated arguments when they did. She did not want her 13 year-old son exposed to that kind of behaviour, and that was a key consideration in her asking Mr. Shinkaruk to leave. These communication problems are issues which, she testified, they have both done a lot of work on recently and now that they are seeing each other again, there is a greater deal of emotional maturity being exhibited by both of them.

 

 

 

[60]        It appears from the evidence that the most that could be said is that the motor vehicle accident contributed to the breakup in that it created a living situation, with Mr. Shinkaruk at home convalescing, in which fundamental and deep-seated issues between this couple became manifest. To the extent that Mr. Shinkaruk may have suffered emotionally or psychologically due to their breakup in December 2006, the defendant’s negligence is too remote to create liability.

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