Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.,  
2016 BCSC 1155  
Date: 20160623  
Docket: S099074  
Registry: Vancouver  
Amandeep Hans and Pavandeep Hans  
Volvo Trucks North America Inc.,  
National Truck Centre Inc. dba Pacific Coast Heavy Truck Group,  
VFS Canada Inc. dba Volvo Financial Services  
and N. Yanke Transfer Ltd.  
- and-  
Docket: S151942  
Registry: Vancouver  
Her Majesty The Queen In Right Of The Province Of British Columbia  
Volvo Trucks North America Inc.,  
National Truck Centre Inc. dba Pacific Coast Heavy Truck Group,  
VFS Canada Inc. dba Volvo Financial Services  
and N. Yanke Transfer Ltd.  
Corrected Judgment: The text of the judgment was corrected at paragraph 547 on  
July 20, 2016  
Before: The Honourable Mr. Justice Davies  
Reasons for Judgment  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 2  
Counsel for the Plaintiffs:  
L.J. Mackoff  
I. Teicher  
A. Bell  
Counsel for the Defendants Volvo Trucks  
North America Inc. and National Truck  
Centre Inc. dba Pacific Coast Heavy Truck  
M.P. Katzalay  
G. Fraser  
Place and Date of Trial:  
Vancouver, B.C.  
January 11-15, 18-22, 25-29 and  
February 1-5, 9, 11-12, 15-19, 2016  
Place and Date of Judgment:  
Vancouver, B.C.  
June 23, 2016  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 3  
Table of Contents  
I. INTRODUCTION................................................................................................. 6  
II. THE PARTICULARS OF THE COLLISION........................................................ 6  
III. ISSUES............................................................................................................... 8  
IV. BACKGROUND................................................................................................ 10  
A. Personal Circumstances before Marriage ..................................................... 10  
B. Lives and Work between April 2000 and July 2007....................................... 11  
C. Incorporation of Sai Transport Inc. and Acquisition of the Volvo 780............ 15  
D. Electrical Problems before the Collison......................................................... 16  
E. The Investigation of the Collison ................................................................... 17  
F. Termination of Employment (February 2009)................................................ 19  
G. Early Medical Assessments Post Collison..................................................... 20  
H. Failure to Provide Report of Investigation; Repair of the Truck; Demand for  
Payments Under Lease; and, Sale of the Truck after Seizure (February 2009  
to November 2009) ....................................................................................... 22  
I. Attempts to Drive Commercially (Fall of 2009 to September 2011)............... 26  
J. Cessation of Driving and Suicide Attempts (September of 2011 to September  
2012)............................................................................................................. 28  
K. Life since Last Suicide Attempt ..................................................................... 33  
V. CREDIBILITY.................................................................................................... 38  
A. Mr. Hans’ Condition at the Time of the Meetings with Yanke in Saskatoon .. 39  
B. The Plaintiffs’ Sale of their Home after the Collision ..................................... 43  
C. The Sincerity of Mr. Hans’ Suicide Attempts ................................................. 49  
D. The Extent to which Mr. Hans has been Supervised..................................... 52  
1) Supervision of Mr. Hans in Canada........................................................... 52  
2) Mr. Hans’ trips to India in 2013 and 2014 .................................................. 55  
E. Video Surveillance of Mr. Hans’ Activities in May and June of 2015............. 57  
VI. LIABILITY......................................................................................................... 64  
A. Shutdown Caused by a Loose Nut on the Cab Positive Terminal................. 64  
B. Proof of the Duty of Care............................................................................... 68  
C. Proof of the Standard of Care ....................................................................... 69  
D. Principles to be Applied in Determining Liability for Alleged Negligent  
Manufacture or Design.................................................................................. 74  
E. Evidence Concerning the Design and Installation of the Hardware on the Cab  
Positive Terminal of the Truck....................................................................... 77  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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F. Errors made by Mr. Hewitt concerning the Configuration of the Hardware on  
the Cab Positive Terminal ............................................................................. 86  
G. Conclusions on Liability................................................................................. 91  
1) Negligent Manufacture............................................................................... 91  
2) Negligent Design ....................................................................................... 95  
3) Breach of Duty to Warn ............................................................................. 96  
VII. CAUSATION..................................................................................................... 97  
A. Causation and the ‘But for Test.................................................................... 98  
B. Impact of Yanke’s Actions on Volvo’s Liability............................................... 99  
VIII.REMOTENESS............................................................................................... 102  
IX. DAMAGES...................................................................................................... 108  
A. Non-Pecuniary Damages for Pain and Suffering and Loss of Enjoyment of  
Life .............................................................................................................. 112  
1) Mrs. Hans ................................................................................................ 113  
2) Mr. Hans.................................................................................................. 114  
B. The “In-Trust” Claim.................................................................................... 122  
C. Cost of Care (Past) ..................................................................................... 127  
D. Cost of Care (Future) .................................................................................. 128  
1) Medications ............................................................................................. 130  
2) Rehabilitation Therapies.......................................................................... 130  
3) Constant (24 hour) Supervision............................................................... 133  
4) Home Care Costs.................................................................................... 139  
E. Loss of Income Earning Capacity................................................................ 140  
1) Principles Applicable to Assessment of Damages for Loss of Earnings .. 142  
2) Application of the “Team” Approach to Assessment of Damages............ 148  
3) Yearly Income Earned by the Plaintiffs before the Collision .................... 152  
4) The Sai Trucking Venture........................................................................ 155  
a) Is there a real and substantial possibility that the Sai Trucking Venture  
would have been implemented but for the collision?................................... 157  
b) The likelihood of success of the Sai Trucking Venture............................ 161  
F. Past Loss of Earning Capacity .................................................................... 166  
1) Assessment of Loss of Past Income Earning Capacity related to the  
“Trucking Division” of the Sai Trucking Venture.............................................. 167  
2) Assessment of Loss of Past Income Earning Capacity related to the  
“Dispatch Division” of the Sai Trucking Venture.............................................. 168  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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3) Assessment of Total Past Earning Capacity Loss from January 31, 2009 to  
Date of Trial .................................................................................................... 170  
4) Deductions from Assessment of Total Past Earning Capacity Loss because  
of Income Earned ........................................................................................... 171  
5) Summary of Deductions .......................................................................... 174  
6) Did the Plaintiffs Fail to Mitigate their Past Earning Capacity Losses?.... 175  
a) “Abandonment” of the Truck or failure to trade it in................................. 176  
b) Failure to hire a driver to replace Mr. Hans’ income................................ 178  
c) Failure of Mrs. Hans to work as a dispatcher from her home.................. 178  
G. Future Loss of Earning Capacity................................................................. 180  
1) Loss of Future Income Earning Capacity from the “Trucking Division” of the  
Sai Trucking Venture ...................................................................................... 182  
2) Loss of Future Income Earning Capacity from the “Dispatch Division” of the  
Sai Trucking Venture ...................................................................................... 183  
3) Total Loss of Future Income Earning Capacity........................................ 184  
4) Allocation of Loss of Future Income Earning Capacity ............................ 184  
X. SUMMARY OF DAMAGES AWARDS ........................................................... 187  
XI. ISSUES REMAINING TO BE DETERMINED................................................. 188  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 6  
On a dark, cold, snowy winter night a long haul trucker was driving his fully  
loaded tractor-trailer on the Trans-Canada Highway in Manitoba. Without warning all  
electrical power was lost. All lights were extinguished. Darkness enveloped the  
truck. The driver lost all control of the steering and the trailer. Sparks began to fly  
amid the sound of screaming tires as the landing gear of the trailer scraped along  
the highway. The trailer jack-knifed and came towards the driver’s side of the truck’s  
cab. The driver and his wife, who had been resting in a bunk to the rear of the cab,  
both feared they would die.  
On January 31, 2009 the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, long haul driving  
team, Amandeep and Pavandeep Hans, then working for N. Yanke Transfer Ltd.  
(Yanke), were returning to their home in Surrey, British Columbia after a long trip  
that had taken them into the United States and Eastern Canada.  
They were driving a tractor trailer truck (the “Truck”) manufactured by the  
defendant Volvo Trucks North America Inc. acquired by them from the defendant  
National Truck Centre Inc. dba Pacific Coast Heavy Truck Group (NTC). I will refer  
to those two defendants collectively as “Volvo”.  
The return route was by way of the Trans-Canada Highway.  
Shortly after leaving Ontario, Amandeep Hans was driving while his wife,  
Pavandeep Hans, was resting in the sleeper berth.  
[6] It was a dark, cloudy night with light snow. The road conditions on the two  
lane highway were somewhat icy and slippery but not unusually or dangerously so  
for a driver of Mr. Hans’ experience and capabilities. He was proceeding at about 65  
to 70 km/h with a fully loaded trailer being towed by the Truck and traffic was light.  
Without any warning, at about 10:00 p.m. near Falcon Lake, Manitoba about  
100 km east of Winnipeg, all electrical power in the Truck was lost.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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[8] There were no headlights or fog lights to illuminate the road in front of the  
Truck. The interior lights were also out. Power steering was lost as was the ability to  
control the sway of the loaded trailer behind the Truck.  
Mr. Hans screamed “what happened… what happened?” and then “we are  
going to die… we are going to die”.  
[10] He saw the trailer beginning to jack-knife toward the driver’s side of the Truck.  
He heard the sound of tires squealing but could not control the sway. In the side  
mirror he saw sparks flying from the landing gear of the trailer hitting the pavement.  
[11] The cab of the Truck sits above the fuel tanks on the driver’s side.  
[12] In total darkness the trailer came fully around to strike the cab of the Truck  
just behind the driver’s door.  
[13] The impact forced the Truck off the road and into the ditch on the passenger  
side. When it came to rest the driver’s side of the cab was elevated above the  
roadway. Mr. Hans remained motionless, as if paralyzed, and did not try to extricate  
himself from the cab.  
[14] Mr. Hans did nothing until Mrs. Hans, who had hit her head on the buckle of a  
seat belt when the Truck was swaying from loss of control, reached him and  
released his seatbelt. She then compelled Mr. Hans by words and action to get out  
of the cab of the Truck because of her own fear that fire would engulf the Truck.  
[15] Eventually, due largely to Mrs. Hans’ efforts, both were able to remove  
themselves from the cab and onto the roadway into the freezing night. Mrs. Hans  
was shaking with fear. She had believed she was going to die.  
[16] Although Mr. Hans had stopped screaming to Mrs. Hans he still seemed “out  
of it”.  
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[17] Fortunately, a Manitoba Hydro vehicle came by very shortly after the collision  
and afforded the plaintiffs a warm place to sit out of the elements. Mrs. Hans called  
[18] She also called Yanke’s dispatch office seeking assistance on a 24 hour line.  
She eventually connected with Ms. Shelly Grigorovich, Yanke’s Director of Human  
Resources and Risk Management.  
[19] Mrs. Hans testified that Mr. Hans was unresponsive to questioning by the  
Manitoba Hydro personnel who were assisting them.  
Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Hans suffered serious physical injuries but their lives  
have changed dramatically in the almost 7 years since the collision.  
[21] The totality of the evidence establishes that Mr. Hans is now a shadow of his  
former self physically, emotionally and socially who is now incapable of enjoying life  
as he formerly did. He is also now incapable of maintaining gainful employment  
either as a long haul truck driver or by alternative means.  
[22] The plaintiffsmedical experts attribute Mr. Hans’ ongoing debilitating  
symptomology to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by the collision  
and his reaction to it.  
[23] The plaintiffs allege that Volvo was negligent in designing, manufacturing and  
installing a critical cab positive terminal electrical connection in the Truck the failure  
of which caused the shutdown of the electrical system and caused the collision.  
[24] The plaintiffs seek substantial damages for the losses they claim they have  
suffered as a consequence of that negligence.  
[25] In response Volvo admits that the collision was caused by a loose nut on the  
cab positive terminal but denies that the plaintiffs have established that Volvo was  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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negligent in the design, manufacture or installation of the cab positive connection, or  
is in any other way liable to the plaintiffs for their alleged losses.  
[26] Volvo further alleges that Mr. and Mrs. Hans have greatly exaggerated their  
claimed losses, including the extent of the psychological injuries suffered by  
Mr. Hans.  
[27] Specifically, concerning Mr. Hans’ psychological injuries, Volvo also submits  
those injuries are too remote to entitle him to any compensation from Volvo. Volvo  
also pleads that the plaintiffs have failed to mitigate or have inadequately mitigated  
any losses they may have suffered as a consequence of the collision.  
[28] Shortly before this trial commenced the plaintiffs discontinued claims they had  
formerly advanced against Yanke. That discontinuance is subject to a “B.C. Ferries”  
settlement agreement, the effect of which on the attribution of the respective  
responsibility, if any, as between Yanke and Volvo, for damages allegedly suffered  
by the plaintiffs must be considered and determined.  
[29] In addition, shortly before the trial of this action commenced, the Province of  
British Columbia commenced a separate action against Volvo pursuant to the  
provisions of the Health Care Costs Recovery Act, S.B.C. 2008, c. 27 (the “HCCRA”)  
seeking compensation for medical services and prescription medicines provided by  
the Province to Mr. Hans since the collision and in respect of his claimed future  
medical expenses. The two actions were tried together.  
[30] During this trial the quantum of past medical claims made by the Province  
under the HCCRA was resolved by agreement between the Province and Volvo in  
the amount of $198,868.75 with the attribution of any responsibility of Volvo for  
payment of that amount being left to the determination of the other liability issues in  
this action.  
[31] The following issues require determination:  
1) Is Volvo liable for any damages suffered by the plaintiffs?  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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2) If so, in what amount must Volvo compensate the plaintiffs for:  
a) Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ respective non-pecuniary losses;  
b) an “in-trust” claim to compensate Mrs. Hans for her care and  
supervision of Mr. Hans between January 31, 2009 and this trial;  
c) the cost of Mr. Hans’ future care; and  
d) Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ past and future losses of earning capacity?  
3) Has Volvo established that the plaintiffs failed to mitigate their damages?  
4) To what extent, if at all, is Volvo liable to compensate the Province of British  
Columbia with respect to the agreed amount of $198,868.75 pursuant to the  
5) If Volvo is liable for some or all of the damages claimed by the plaintiffs, what  
is the impact, if any, of the plaintiffs’ B.C. Ferries settlement with Yanke?  
Personal Circumstances before Marriage  
[32] Mr. and Mrs. Hans were born in India in 1975 and 1976 respectively.  
[33] Mrs. Hans suffered from polio at 6 months of age and had four surgeries on  
her right leg and foot before she was four. She still walks with a slight limp but has  
otherwise fully recovered.  
[34] When Mrs. Hans was eleven years old she moved to Canada to live with an  
aunt. She learned to speak English quickly and is now fluent in both Punjabi and  
English. She graduated from high school in North Delta.  
[35] Members of Mrs. Hans’ immediate family also eventually immigrated to  
Canada and established themselves both in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia  
and in Oliver in the Okanagan Valley where her parents became farmers.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 11  
[36] After finishing high school Mrs. Hans moved to Surrey to live with her brother.  
She took courses in accounting at Kwantlen College for two years. She did not,  
however, complete all of the courses necessary to become an accountant because  
after two years she moved with her brother to Oliver where he became a fruit farmer.  
[37] Mrs. Hans lived in the Okanagan and worked there from 1996 to 1999 for  
Sage Greenhouses as a bookkeeper with quality control responsibilities.  
[38] On December 26, 1999, Mrs. Hans left Oliver to go back to Surrey in  
preparation for her arranged marriage to Mr. Hans in India.  
[39] Mr. Hans was an exceptional athlete in India before marrying Mrs. Hans in  
late 1999. His athletic endeavours included award winning performances in track  
and field as well as in field hockey at high levels of competition in college where he  
excelled. He eventually became a professional cyclist with the Punjabi Police Team.  
Lives and Work between April 2000 and July 2007  
[40] After the marriage Mrs. Hans returned to Canada in April of 2000 while  
Mr. Hans remained in India awaiting completion of the necessary processes to allow  
his immigration to Canada.  
[41] In early November of 2000 Mr. Hans joined Mrs. Hans in Canada and within 2  
weeks their daughter, Ashleen was born.  
[42] The new family settled into married life in Surrey. Mr. Hans’ mother also  
eventually moved to Canada and resided with them.  
[43] In February of 2002, the plaintiffs’ son, Deepkaran was born.  
[44] In the early years of their life together in Canada Mr. Hans began almost  
immediately working for A1 Building Supplies in its warehouse. He also made  
deliveries to construction sites. It was hard, physical labour which paid well and he  
enjoyed it immensely. He made good friends and enjoyed life and work in his new  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 12  
[45] After the birth of their second child Mr. Hans’ mother was able to provide child  
care assistance. Mrs. Hans was then able to return to the workforce as a  
bookkeeper for a trucking company.  
[46] In November of 2002 Mr. and Mrs. Hans and their two children took an  
extended seven month vacation to India where they visited religious and cultural  
sites and spent time with family and friends in Hans Village in the Punjab where  
Mr. Hans had been born and raised.  
[47] Mrs. Hans returned to Canada a few weeks earlier than did Mr. Hans so that  
he could continue playing in field hockey tournaments in India.  
[48] After Mr. Hans returned to Canada he went to work for Coast Building  
Supplies doing the same work as he had done at A1 with many of the same friends  
who had also by then left A1 to work for Coast.  
[49] In addition to his manual and forklift work in the Coast warehouse and in  
delivering supplies Mr. Hans undertook the training necessary to obtain a Class 1  
Drivers’ License with air brake certification. He began driving local delivery trucks for  
Coast but still enjoyed the hard physical labour associated with the warehouse and  
delivery work and continued to lead his delivery crews not only by driving but also by  
fully participating in the loading and unloading of heavy building supplies.  
[50] Although Mr. Hans’ income had increased with his qualifications, Mrs. Hans  
also re-entered the workforce after returning from India. Initially she went to work at  
McDonald’s for minimum wage in the evening for 25 to 30 hours per week but  
eventually decided to obtain a driving instructor’s license, to earn more.  
[51] She did so and then opened Hans’ Driving school in 2004. She taught mostly  
in the evenings so that she could care for her children during the day but also took  
her daughter with her in a car seat for one to two hours during some teaching  
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Page 13  
[52] Mrs. Hans enjoyed driving and was able to develop somewhat of a niche in  
teaching driving to learner’s with driving disabilities because of her own inability (due  
to her childhood polio) to use her right foot while driving.  
[53] After Mr. Hans obtained his Class 1 Driver’s License with air brake  
certification Mrs. Hans also began to explore the possibility of obtaining such a  
license with intent that she and Mr. Hans could begin to work as a team in the long  
haul trucking business.  
[54] Mrs. Hans saw that as a way by which they could travel and explore North  
America together while earning incomes superior to those they were then both  
[55] Although she had no difficulty with any aspect of the work leading to obtaining  
a Class 1 License, her physical disability, that prevents her from using her right foot  
while driving, was a serious impediment.  
[56] Driving a tractor truck required that she drive a specially equipped truck  
modified to allow driving with a left foot gas pedal. It also required a truck with an  
automatic transmission.  
[57] After convincing the provincial licensing authorities to allow her to be licensed  
if she could pass the required testing she sought training instruction. However, no  
driver’s school offered the vehicle that she needed.  
[58] Undeterred, she and Mr. Hans decided to purchase a tractor-truck with a fully  
automatic transmission and have it equipped with a left foot gas pedal extension to  
accommodate her disability. Through NTC they acquired a Volvo 670 tractor-truck  
with an automatic transmission for about $140,000 and had the necessary gas pedal  
extension installed.  
[59] Mrs. Hans then took lessons using that truck and passed the Class 1 driving  
test as well as air brake certification.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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[60] In June of 2005 Mr. and Mrs. Hans began driving as a long-haul team for  
Right Choice Transport Ltd. out of Surrey driving flat-bed trailers primarily into the  
lower 48 states of the United States of America. Their first major contact in the long-  
haul trucking business was Mr. Ron Collick one of the principals of Right Choice who  
became somewhat of a mentor to the team and more particularly to Mrs. Hans with  
whose drive and business acumen he was greatly impressed.  
[61] Over the next few years, until April of 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Hans worked for a  
number of small sized long haul flat-bed trucking companies, often with Mr. Collick,  
as he himself pursued various opportunities that became available to him.  
[62] As driving partners the plaintiffs shared the work with Mr. Hans doing all of  
the heavy work including pre-load inspection, cargo tie down and cargo covering  
involving the use of heavy tarps and chains to make loads safe.  
[63] Mrs. Hans did all of the necessary paperwork and licencing to allow travel and  
transport into and out of the United States and did route tracking during their delivery  
trips to maximize income by balancing payload potential against cost of  
transportation. The intent was to keep the flat-bed as loaded as possible at all times  
both to and from Surrey for the most profit possible because payment for owner-  
operators was based on a per mile/per load basis.  
[64] Mrs. Hans also undertook customer relations activities on their journeys,  
gathering information from and fostering contacts with suppliers with the intent to  
provide better service and also with the hope of obtaining repeat business directly  
with suppliers rather than brokers where possible.  
[65] Mr. and Mrs. Hans shared the driving with each being limited by regulation as  
to the number of hours they could drive. As a team they could double the potential  
income for the use of their vehicle. At the same time they were able to enjoy their  
travel to new places which they had never seen and enjoy time together pursuing  
what they loved to do.  
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[66] From time to time they were also able to take one or both of their children with  
them on their travels.  
Incorporation of Sai Transport Inc. and Acquisition of the Volvo  
[67] On July 4, 2007 Mr. and Mrs. Hans incorporated Sai Transport Inc.  
Mrs. Hans testified that the name was derived from “Sai Baba”, a Sikh divinity  
symbolizing their joint belief in hard work and the obligation to share with the less  
[68] Mrs. Hans testified that the purpose of incorporating Sai Transport Inc. was to  
eventually run a long-haul transport business using the experience she and  
Mr. Hans were gaining in the trucking business. Their goal was to centre the  
business on one truck owned and driven by Mr. Hans and adding owner-operators  
while Mrs. Hans undertook business development and operational logistics by  
acquiring work from her contacts and the use of a computerized load sharing  
program with which she was familiar as well as undertaking all other business  
aspects of the operation.  
[69] The plan was to grow the business slowly possibly by purchasing a second  
truck with a hired driver and also by adding one owner-operator truck per year to a  
total of five to assist Mr. Hans in completing long-haul trucking opportunities they  
believed would be available to them through their hard work and management.  
[70] On December 18, 2007 Mr. and Mrs. Hans traded in their 2005 Volvo 670  
with 633,000 km on it for a new 2009 Volvo 780 (the “Truck”). They acquired their  
second Volvo because of the fully automatic transmission required by Mrs. Hans and  
because the sleeping/living compartment of the Truck was larger and more  
accommodating than that of the old unit.  
[71] The cost of the Truck was $144,750 with about $97,500 remaining payable  
after application of a trade-in allowance of approximately $52,000 for their old  
vehicle. The balance of the acquisition price was financed by way of an open-end  
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lease from the former defendant Volvo Financial Services for 48 months requiring  
payments of $2,624.51 per month.  
[72] Mr. and Mrs. Hans continued to work in the flat-bed long haul business in  
early 2008 with a company called Misty Blue Transport. However, they did not  
particularly enjoy the work because of the business practises of the management of  
the operations which did not include Mr. Collick.  
[73] In April of 2008 Mr. and Mrs. Hans joined Yanke as owner-operators with the  
Truck becoming part of Yanke’s fleet.  
[74] Mrs. Hans testified that they made the move to Yanke to work with a larger  
trucking company than they had worked for previously and that had a good  
[75] Mrs. Hans also testified that it gave her and Mr. Hans an opportunity to gain  
experience in “dry-haul” container trucking as opposed to only flat-bed trucking as  
well as the chance to work more Canadian routes as opposed to American ones,  
with intent to gain more knowledge and experience for their future plans with Sai  
Transport Inc.  
[76] Dry-haul trucking for Yanke also paid well and involved less physical work  
than that engaged in the loading, securing, covering and unloading of flat-bed  
Electrical Problems before the Collison  
[77] The Truck began developing electrical problems relatively shortly after  
Mr. and Mrs. Hans acquired it in late 2007.  
[78] The documentary evidence establishes that: on March 7, 2008, circuit  
breakers were replaced during a safety recall warranty claim; on May 17, 2008,  
batteries were slightly corroded; and on June 17, 2008, electrical difficulties were  
experienced with a harness connector and with corroded batteries that required  
terminal replacement under floor mats.  
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Page 17  
[79] Also, on July 4, 2008, while Mr. and Mrs. Hans were travelling through Regina  
at a low speed in daylight hours, all electrical power in the Truck was lost so that the  
vehicle shut down.  
[80] Mr. Hans was able to re-start the engine by “wiggling” the battery cables  
located near the batteries. He then drove the Truck to Sterling Truck and Trailer  
Sales, a Volvo service centre in Regina where it was inspected and where the  
service technicians diagnosed a “blown main fuse”.  
[81] On July 5, 2008, after returning from Regina Mr. Hans took the Truck to  
NTC’s service centre in Surrey. NTC’s warranty repair invoice for its work done on  
July 8, 2008 records that:  
Customer was driving along, lost all power, truck shut down. elec all  
dead…service call from Regina and they found ECM fuse blew, they replaced  
it but did not check for possible cause of fuse blowing. Check over- customer  
concerned that it may recur if there is a wire rubbed etc  
[82] Six months later, on January 20, 2009, NTC tested the batteries in the Truck.  
One failed and it was replaced.  
The Investigation of the Collison  
[83] Concerning those electrical issues and specifically the events of July 4, 2008  
in Regina, Mr. Chris Hewitt, an Electrical Engineer who was commissioned by Yanke  
to inspect the Truck after the collision, and who testified as an expert witness, stated  
in a report of his investigation:  
The works described on the invoices listed above all relate to electrical  
issues, and seem to relate to one another. It is also interesting that on July 4,  
2008, the main fuse was reported to have blown, but the truck was not towed  
to Sterling Trucks. Without the main fuse, presumably the truck would not  
have functioned. On July 8, the owner asked Pacific Coast Heavy Truck  
Group to try and diagnose the problems reported to Sterling on July 4. Pacific  
Coast were unable to diagnose any issues. It would therefore seem that this  
vehicle has suffered from sporadic electrical issues which appear similar and  
therefore potentially related to the failure on January 31, 2009.  
[84] Not commented upon by Mr. Hewitt in that report, and likely unknown to him  
at the time of his inspection and investigations, is the fact that the day before the  
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Page 18  
collision the Truck was taken off the road for one day on the return trip from Montreal  
to Surrey because of electrical problems incurred in or near North Bay, Ontario.  
Those problems required that all three batteries be replaced before Mr. and  
Mrs. Hans were able to recommence travel.  
[85] After the total failure of the Truck’s electrical systems on January 31, 2009,  
and the collision caused by that failure the Truck was towed to Yanke’s yard in  
Winnipeg. It was inspected there between February 7 and 10, 2009 by Mr. Hewitt  
before being eventually repaired at Beaver Trucks, the Volvo repair and service  
centre in Winnipeg.  
[86] Inspection of the Truck by Mr. Hewitt was also attended by two other  
engineers, neither of whom testified at trial. Also present were Mr. Todd Davies,  
Volvo’s District Sales Manager and a Beaver Trucks’ Mechanic and Service  
Manager, none of whom testified at trial.  
[87] In the report of his investigation filed at trial but provided much earlier (on  
March 9, 2009) to Yanke, Mr. Hewitt wrote, among other things, that:  
it is my opinion that the following occurred:  
1. The cab positive terminal nut somehow became loose, resulting in  
a poor connection and subsequent resistance heating, which further  
compounded the poor connection, resulting in failure of several key  
vehicle systems. The resistance heating is confirmed by the melted  
insulation and the positive bushing. The size of cable indicates that a  
substantial current may have been flowing through these tables,  
certainly sufficient to cause the melting observed.  
2. Due to failure of cab power, the following critical safety systems  
a. Headlights (including fog lights),  
b. Engine  
c. Dash lights  
d. Anti-lock brakes  
e. Electronic stability control  
f. Windshield wipers  
g. Automatic transmission  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 19  
3. Due to the engine failure, the power steering would also have  
At issue is how the cab positive terminal nut became loose. There are a  
number of potential causes:  
1. The nut was not sufficiently tightened by Volvo during initial  
2. The nut was not sufficiently tightened during maintenance.  
3. The nut became loose during operation.  
4. Mega Truck Repair loosened the nut while trying to install the fog-  
The cab terminal nut in question is not an item routinely maintained.  
Discussions with the mechanic at Beaver Trucks concluded that if electrical  
faults had been reported to an operator, the cab terminal nut would not be the  
obvious place to trouble-shoot. It is therefore less likely that the nut was  
loosened as part of maintenance and not re-tightened.  
Of concern is the issues the operator reported in May, June and July 2008.  
The fact that the vehicle had suffered from engine failures at this time  
indicates that the nut could have been loose from assembly given that the  
truck is relatively new. It is also possible that the nut loosened due to  
vibration during use. It is noted that the nut is not a locking variety and no  
thread leaking compound was visible. It is therefore possible that the nut  
naturally loosened during use.  
Invoice 14739 proves that the after market fog lights were installed in October  
2008 (after the onset of electrical problems in May, June and July 2008). It  
can therefore be confirmed that while the wiring of the fog lights is  
questionable, it did not contribute to the accident.  
It is not possible to determine how the nut became loose. However, it is  
concerning that essential vehicle operation can be catastrophically affected  
by a simple terminal failure such as that exhibited here. As a minimum, I  
would expect that two nuts are applied to each terminal in a lock nut  
arrangement. Alternatively, a nylon lock nut should be used. Additionally, it is  
strongly recommended that the terminal nuts on all Volvo semi tractors are  
checked as part of routine maintenance by Yanke and all other operators, to  
ensure that they are adequately tight. This issue should be raised with  
Transport Canada who may elect to issue a recall or a notice bulletin.  
[88] I will discuss Mr. Hewitt’s report in more detail together with Mr. Hewitt’s viva  
voce evidence when considering the liability issues in this case.  
Termination of Employment (February 2009)  
[89] Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Hans sought medical assistance after the Truck was  
taken to Yanke’s yard in Winnipeg for investigation but did spend two days in  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 20  
Winnipeg before taking a plane to Saskatoon to meet with Yanke’s officials to  
provide a report of the collision.  
[90] The evidence as to what transpired in Saskatoon that day is in conflict, as I  
will discuss in more detail later when considering Volvo’s submissions relating to  
Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ credibility, which he failed.  
[91] For the purposes of this narrative it is, however, sufficient to record that on  
February 4, 2009, Mr. and Mrs. Hans provided a written statement concerning the  
collision. Also, Mr. Hans was required to take a Dangerous Goods Examination to  
allow his continued employment with Yanke.  
[92] Either then or within a few days of failing that test Mr. Hans was advised his  
employment would be terminated by Yanke. That termination was confirmed in  
writing on February 17, 2009.  
[93] After returning to Surrey from Saskatoon Mrs. Hans continued to suffer from  
shoulder and neck pain as well as the effects of a minor concussion for 3 or 4  
months. She testified that those problems were fully resolved within about a year.  
[94] Yanke had not also terminated Mrs. Hans’ employment and, notwithstanding  
her physical complaints arising from the collision, Mrs. Hans attempted to find work  
with Yanke in early March of 2009.  
[95] However, when Mrs. Hans advised Yanke that she could not work as a single  
long haul driver without Mr. Hans, Yanke determined to de-register the Truck from its  
fleet. Yanke also advised Mrs. Hans that it had no work for her for local pick-up and  
delivery as a single driver.  
Early Medical Assessments Post Collison  
[96] The effect of the collision upon Mr. Hans’ health and life were dramatically  
more serious than those experienced by Mrs. Hans. Although, as I have noted  
above, he did not suffer physical injuries, his treating physicians, psychologists and  
psychiatrists as well as other psychiatrists and psychologists whom he has  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 21  
consulted and whose expert evidence was adduced all agree that Mr. Hans has  
suffered highly debilitating emotional, mental and social effects of PTSD caused by  
the collision.  
[97] After the collision Mr. Hansfirst visit to his family physician, Dr. Baldev  
Dhillon, was on February 17, 2009.  
[98] Dr. Dhillon’s report and his clinical notes are consistent with Mr. and  
Mrs. Hans’ evidence concerning Mr. Hans’ medical and emotional condition from the  
time of the collision until early April of 2009.  
[99] In his expert report dated August 20, 2015, Dr. Dhillon wrote:  
Mr. Hans was seen on February 17, 2009. At which time an initial  
consultation into the motor vehicle accident was conducted. He stated that  
since the accident he felt numbness to his head with decreased memory. He  
also felt "numb". He felt scared from time to time and he felt as if he had to  
check to see if he was alive. He did not have any suicidal ideation or attempt.  
He did not have any homicidal ideation or attempt. He was given a  
preliminary diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. He was also started on  
Paxil 10 mg at bedtime and he was advised to followup [sic.] in a couple of  
weeks to see how the medication was working out for him.  
Mr. Hans was seen on March 4, 2009. He had complaints of feeling tension  
and tightness in his chest. He had felt that for few minutes the previous night  
as well. His examination was essentially normal. Paxil was increased to 20  
mg at bedtime. He was also sent for electrocardiogram.  
Mr. Hans was seen on March 6, 2009. He still has chest pain on an  
intermittent basis. He stated that he felt anxious. He was provided  
reassurance and advised to continue with Paxil 20 mg at bedtime. [H]e was  
also given a prescription for Ativan sublingual as needed for anxiety-type  
Mr. Hans was seen on April 4, 2009. He had complaints of numbness to his  
scalp and having trouble with his memory. He states that all of this had  
started after the motor vehicle accident. He states that he has recurrent  
flashbacks from the motor vehicle accident. He has a hard time falling asleep  
as well. He did not have any suicidal ideation or any attempts. He did not  
have homicidal ideation or any attempts. Paxil was increased to 30 mg at  
bedtime. Counseling was provided.  
[100] Dr. Dhillon’s reference to his “preliminary diagnosis of post-traumatic stress  
disorder” made on February 17, 2009 must be read with the understanding, arising  
from clarification of his report in his testimony at trial, that for a confirmed diagnosis  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 22  
of PTSD the symptomology associated with the disorder must have been present for  
at least 30 days following the traumatic triggering event.  
[101] Since Dr. Dhillon’s diagnosis was made less than two weeks after the  
collision that pre-condition to a confirmed diagnosis was not yet present. However,  
sufficient other symptoms to meet the criteria for a confirmed PTSD diagnosis under  
the then operative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition  
(DSM IV) were met.  
Failure to Provide Report of Investigation; Repair of the Truck;  
Demand for Payments Under Lease; and, Sale of the Truck after  
Seizure (February 2009 to November 2009)  
[102] As I have noted above, at about the same time that Mr. and Mrs. Hans  
returned to Surrey after their meetings in Saskatoon with Yanke on February 4,  
2009, Yanke engaged Mr. Hewitt to investigate the cause of the electrical failure that  
led to the collision on January 31, 2009.  
[103] Inexplicably, neither Yanke nor Volvo invited Mr. or Mrs. Hans to participate  
notwithstanding the loss suffered was to the Truck which they had acquired from  
NTC and which was financed by Volvo Financial Services.  
[104] Also inexplicably, neither Yanke nor Volvo released Mr. Hewitt’s report to the  
plaintiffs notwithstanding Mrs. Hans’ repeated requests for information about the  
cause of the collision.  
[105] Those requests were made by Mrs. Hans to Ms. Grigorovich of Yanke as well  
as to Volvo Financial Services which referred her to a 1-800 number for Volvo  
Trucks which did not return her calls.  
[106] Notwithstanding these unanswered requests for information from February to  
April 2009, Volvo Financial Services wrote to Mr. Hans on April 3, 2009, demanding  
payment of the past due lease payments for the Truck in the amount of $4,219.44.  
The demand required payment of that amount within 7 days failing which Volvo  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 23  
Financial Services demanded claim of $102,785.21 as payment in full under the  
lease purchase agreement.  
[107] Mr. and Mrs. Hans did not make the overdue payments. They were not  
working but were also not prepared to pay further any amounts under the lease until  
they were satisfied that the Truck was safe to operate.  
[108] Finally, on April 20, 2009, after many requests for information by Mrs. Hans,  
Ms. Grigorovich wrote a letter to Mrs. Hans in which she stated:  
This letter follows our previous telephone discussion of April 17, 2009.  
Following your accident of January 31, 2009, the Yanke Group of Companies  
retained the services of an engineering firm to assist us in determining the  
cause of the catastrophic electrical failure, which ultimately led to the above  
noted accident. This analysis was crucial, given the previous history of  
electrical problems with your truck, dating back to May, June and July, 2008.  
The analysis was undertaken in Winnipeg, MB in the presence of Volvo’s  
District Services Manager and our Director of Fleet Assets/Maintenance.  
Following the engineer’s undertaking and analysis, it would appear that the  
cab positive terminal nut somehow became loose, resulting in a poor  
connection and subsequent resistance heating, which, further compounded  
the poor connection. The resistance heating was confirmed by the melted,  
insulation and the positive bushing, which is believed to have ultimately led to  
the failure of several key vehicle systems, including the following:  
a) Headlights (including fog lights)  
b) Engine, with the potential for subsequent loss of power steering  
c) Dash lights  
d) Anti-lock brakes  
e) Electronic stability control  
f) Windshield wipers  
g) Automatic transmission  
The critical question is how the cab positive terminal nut became loose and  
this particular aspect can not be conclusively determined. Given that the  
essential vehicle operation can be catastrophically affected by a simple  
terminal failure, we are currently in discussions and working with Volvo  
Corporate to attempt a resolution. We will continue to keep you informed of  
developments and trust the foregoing will be found to your satisfaction.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 24  
[109] Unsatisfied with that response Mr. and Mrs. Hans retained counsel,  
Mr. Robbie Fleming, who also unsuccessfully sought delivery of Mr. Hewitt’s full  
[110] Mr. Fleming also sought information concerning Yanke’s discussion with  
Volvo concerning a possible resolution of the issues related to the collision. In doing  
so he sought information as to how any resolution could occur without Mr. and  
Mrs. Hans’ involvement.  
[111] However, as noted, and notwithstanding these many inquiries, Mr. Hewitt’s  
report was not delivered to them until Mr. and Mrs. Hans had commenced this  
[112] In addition, Yanke and Volvo continued to deal directly with one another  
without any participation by Mr. and Mrs. Hans or their lawyer.  
[113] Eventually, without any input from the plaintiffs, repairs to the Truck which  
included work done at Beaver Trucks, were undertaken and completed by May 7,  
[114] In that repair process all evidence related to the cause of the electrical failure,  
other than Mr. Hewitt’s report and photographs taken during his investigation, was  
[115] When Yanke advised Mr. and Mrs. Hans that the Truck was ready to be  
picked up at Yanke’s maintenance facility in Winnipeg on May 7, 2009, answers to  
their continuing inquiries concerning the cause of the electrical failure or the  
negotiations with Volvo had still not been provided.  
[116] Due to those unanswered questions and their ongoing concerns with the  
Truck’s roadworthiness and safety, the plaintiffs decided not to re-take possession of  
it. They believed that the information that had been provided to them, that the cause  
of the failure was a “loose nut”, was incomplete and did not inform them of the risks  
associated with re-taking possession of the Truck.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 25  
[117] Without success, Mr. Fleming continued to make inquiries on their behalf after  
May 7, 2009.  
[118] Notwithstanding Mr. Fleming’s unanswered requests for information coupled  
with his assertions that Yanke did not have authority to affect the plaintiffs’ interests  
in the Truck, Yanke wrote a letter to Volvo on July 3, 2009, stating:  
As you are already aware, we had an incident with a 2008 Volvo VNL-780  
serial # 4V4NC9EJ28N498773.  
The incident, which resulted in a single vehicle accident due to a total loss of  
electrical power caused us to make repairs to both the tractor and trailer. The  
costs associated with the repairs are on the attached form and total  
As per your commitment to cover these expenses, please accept this letter as  
our formal request for payment for the $44,054.27.  
[119] The amount claimed by Yanke included the cost of Mr. Hewitt’s investigation  
and report. Volvo eventually paid the amount claimed by Yanke in return for a  
release from Yanke.  
[120] When Mr. and Mrs. Hans continued to refuse to pick up the Truck, Volvo  
Financial Services sold it.  
[121] Mr. and Mrs. Hans were notified of that sale on November 11, 2009 by a letter  
of that date. It stated:  
You failed to cure the default. As a result, a sale of the property securing the  
debt was held. The property sold for $77,000.00, thereby leaving a deficiency  
balance of $7,443.08, as at the date of sale (being February 3, 2006 [sic]).  
The total amount owing, which is detailed in the attached schedule “A”, as of  
the date of this letter is $7,443.08 plus interest at the rate of 18% per annum  
[122] Mr. Hans’ anger at Yanke and Volvo, because of their treatment of him in  
“ruining my life” because of what he came to call the “death truck”, deepened over  
time and as his emotional and mental state continued to deteriorate, his ability to  
earn income became more and more compromised.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 26  
[123] Mr. Hans continued to be unable to put the thoughts of the collision behind  
him. Re-occurring thoughts of the collision and its negative effects upon him and his  
life and inability to provide for his family became pervasive and dominated all of his  
familial and social relationships.  
Attempts to Drive Commercially (Fall of 2009 to September 2011)  
[124] Mrs. Hans testified that during the summer of 2009 Mr. Hansemotional and  
mental state remained severely compromised by the effect of the collision. She  
testified that if he had been able to work they would have returned to work and that  
there would have been “lots of work” available to them.  
[125] Concerning his behaviour Mrs. Hans testified that Mr. Hans was totally  
different than before the collision. He was no longer an active participant in his  
children’s lives; looked lost and scared; was sad and withdrawn from her and his  
friends and was not sleeping. He was also constantly re-living the collision in his  
dreams and in his communication with her, his family and friends.  
[126] By the fall of 2009 Mrs. Hans became frustrated and began remonstrating  
with Mr. Hans to “pull out of his funk”. She said things like “I was there too and I am  
feeling better”… “We are alive”… “Shake it off” – all without success.  
[127] Mr. Hans continued to be withdrawn socially and uninvolved in family life. He  
stopped sharing child care, yard work, cleaning, cooking, shopping and driving the  
children to school. Mrs. Hans had to do it all.  
[128] Because the family had not had any income since the collision and needed  
money to “put food on the table” as well as in an attempt to get Mr. Hans back on  
track, Mrs. Hans decided they must return to driving without their own Truck. It had  
not yet been sold by Volvo Financial Services, but they still considered it unsafe.  
[129] Mrs. Hans arranged with Mr. Hans’ brother for them to do some part time  
relatively short haul driving with a truck he owned. She testified that, although in the  
beginning she was fearful of driving even with that different truck, after a few weeks  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 27  
she lost that fear. She hoped that the same would occur with Mr. Hans, but it never  
[130] Mr. and Mrs. Hans drove commercially primarily on routes to Washington and  
California for about two years between the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2011. They  
were, however, able to do so only because Mrs. Hans forced the issue in her  
attempts to have Mr. Hans “get out of his funk”, and because she took on a greater  
portion of the workload.  
[131] Mrs. Hans testified that while driving through mountains or even on flat  
stretches Mr. Hans would often brake suddenly for no reason. When she asked why  
he had done that, he said things like “I thought the engine stopped” or “What if it shut  
down?” The sudden stops, especially in the mountains, were so dangerous that  
Mrs. Hans began doing that driving. She also began to do all of the night driving  
rather than the daylight driving that she had done before the collision.  
[132] In order to continue to be able to work and keep earning money as a team,  
Mrs. Hans also began to do more than 50 percent of the driving. She did so by not  
complying with regulations concerning how many hours she could drive in any day  
and by not getting the mandatory amount of rest.  
[133] To avoid detection she altered the log books and went from driving 50 to 60  
and then to 70 percent of the time over that period of about two years with hopes  
that Mr. Hans would recover.  
[134] Instead, Mr. Hans became increasingly withdrawn, angry and obsessed with  
Volvo, Yanke and the “death truck” that had ruined his life.  
[135] In January of 2011, Mr. Hans’ father died and Mr. and Mrs. Hans returned to  
India for his funeral.  
[136] Mrs. Hans testified that even in India with his old friends and in his home  
village, when his focus ought to have been on his father’s life and death, Mr. Hans’  
constant topic of discussion was the collision and the impact of it upon their lives.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 28  
[137] Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ very good friend, Mr. Parmjit Hans (who is not a relative)  
who had once been Mr. Hans’ roommate in college, testified that during that visit to  
India in January of 2011, Mr. Hans was wholly unlike his former self. He appeared  
unkempt and lost and did not react to his father’s death in the way he would have  
expected. He said Mr. Hans talked constantly about the accident, how he had hardly  
survived it and that “something had happened to his head”.  
[138] In May of 2011, Parmjit Hans also immigrated to Canada. He testified that  
after he arrived Mr. Hans did not visit him often, and when he did, he did not talk  
Cessation of Driving and Suicide Attempts (September of 2011 to  
September 2012)  
[139] In September of 2011 Mr. Hans stopped driving.  
[140] Dr. Dhillon’s expert report of August 20, 2015 is instructive as to Mr. Hans’  
condition at that time and is consistent with Mrs. Hans’ evidence.  
[141] Concerning Mr. Hans’ attendances upon him on September 21, 2011 and  
October 4, 2011, Dr. Dhillon wrote:  
Mr. Hans was seen on September 21, 2011. He stated that he had a lot of  
anxiety type symptoms and had trouble with sleep. He was only sleeping  
about three hours, even when taking the Amitriptyline. He had no auditory or  
visual hallucinations. He had repetitive thoughts about his accident with his  
truck. He kept thinking about how it happened and that there had not been  
any closure as of yet in regards to it. He had some delusional thoughts as  
well at this time and was incoherent in his speech as per his wife. On  
examination, he had no suicidal ideation or attempt and no homicidal ideation  
or attempt. He was advised to start Seroquel, discontinue the use of  
Amitriptyline and to return to the clinic in one week. He was also advised not  
to drive until his follow up with myself.  
Mr. Hans was seen on October 4, 2011. He stated that he had been sleeping  
for about four hours per night since starting the Seroquel. He had still been  
rambling on about various different aspects of the accident. He had a lot of  
financial issues since the accident occurred. He stated that he felt like sitting  
in a quiet place all of the time. On examination, he had no suicidal ideation or  
attempt and no homicidal ideation or attempt. He was advised to start  
Cipralex and to continue the use of Seroquel.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 29  
[142] Unfortunately, Dr. Dhillon’s assessments that Mr. Hans was not suffering  
suicidal ideation on October 4, 2011 proved to be incorrect.  
[143] On October 5, 2011, Mr. Hans rose from his sleep, went to a downstairs  
bedroom, tied one end of a scarf around his neck and the other to a ceiling fan.  
Fortunately, Mrs. Hans awoke, followed him and interrupted him. He jumped off the  
bed on which he was standing but the scarf proved to be too long for a successful  
[144] Mr. Hans was then immediately admitted to Surrey Memorial Hospital where  
he remained for 6 weeks before being discharged on November 21, 2011.  
[145] During that time Mrs. Hans continued to drive commercially but to a limited  
[146] Mrs. Hans testified that when Mr. Hans was discharged from hospital he was  
very quiet and sad and stayed in bed a lot but did not appear suicidal to her.  
[147] Concerning an attendance by Mr. Hans on November 24, 2011, Dr. Dhillon  
Mr. Hans was seen on November 24, 2011. He had just been discharged  
from the Surrey Memorial Hospital Psychiatry Unit for major depression with  
suicidal ideation. He had been given Celexa, Divalproex, Seroquel, Effexor  
and Zopiclone. He had no suicidal ideation or attempts since his discharge.  
He was still thinking about the accident daily and had issues with his memory.  
On examination, he had no suicidal ideation or attempt and no homicidal  
ideation or attempt. He was advised to continue with current management,  
was provided with the number for and was referred to Surrey Mental Health.  
In December Mrs. Hans again tried to have Mr. Hans drive with her. He then  
told her he did not want to drive again.  
[148] On December 12, 2011, Mr. Hans again saw Dr. Dhillon. Of that visit  
Dr. Dhillon wrote:  
Mr. Hans was seen on December 12, 2011. His wife had taken him to a trip  
on their long haul truck. He had increased dreams about the accident and this  
would wake him from his sleep. He had increased suicidal thought and had  
even mentioned to his wife that maybe he, his wife and kids should have got  
into a car a [sic] driven themselves into the river. He had not acted on any of  
these thoughts. He felt anxious at times as well and was not sleeping well at  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 30  
all. His medication regime at that time was not working out for him. On  
examination, he had suicidal and homicidal ideation but no attempts. He was  
advised to increase the dose of Effexor, and to go to the emergency  
department if he had increased suicidal thoughts and if there were safety  
issues at home.  
[149] Dr. Dhillons notes are again consistent with Mrs. Hansevidence.  
[150] After his attendance on Dr. Dhillon on December 12, 2011, Mr. Hans was  
again admitted to Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Psychiatric Assessment Unit. His  
existing medications were stopped and a new regime was put in place.  
[151] According to the records of the Surrey Memorial Hospital of December 15,  
2011, Mr. Hans:  
snuck out of PAU and went to the open ward and tried to hang himself in  
the same fashion as his previous admission. He tried to hang himself from  
the curtain rod of the divider between patient beds. That rod and that curtain  
are absolutely unable to sustain the weight of an individual like Amandeep.  
He was seen by staff and brought back to PAU.  
[152] Mr. Hans remained in hospital on that second admission until January 9,  
[153] After being discharged on that date Mr. Hans was seen often by Dr. Dhillon  
until September of 2012, with little or no improvement in his psychological status.  
[154] Also, from March of 2012 until August of 2012, Mr. Hans was seen regularly  
by Dr. J.S. Sandhu, a psychiatrist, to whom he was referred by Dr. Dhillon. Medical  
records in evidence establish that in that six-month period Mr. Hans attended upon  
Dr. Sandhu’s office for psychiatric services on 20 occasions.  
[155] Dr. Dhillon’s report and his clinical records for the period from January 9,  
2012 to August of 2012 indicate that after being discharged from Surrey Memorial  
Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit for the second time, although suicidal ideation was at  
times present Mr. Hans had not acted upon it. They also, however, indicate that  
Mr. Hans continued to suffer from the same medical difficulties he had experienced  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 31  
since the collision notwithstanding significant psychiatric consultation and  
pharmaceutical intervention by Dr. Sandhu.  
[156] More specifically, Dr. Dhillon reported that during that period at various times  
and often frequently, Mr. Hans suffered from feelings of isolation; did not want to  
speak to anyone; felt low and had very low energy levels; was withdrawn with low  
mood; had recurrent nightmares about the collision which made him wake-up with  
difficulty in getting back to sleep; at one time in late April suffered from some  
paranoid type delusions; felt anxious and depressed throughout the day and spent  
most of his time in a dark room; and, was depressed about his inability to earn  
income for the family and the burden he had become upon his wife.  
[157] In the summer of 2012, Parmjit Hans, Mr. Hans’ friend and college roommate  
separated from his wife. After that separation, he became Mr. Hans’ almost constant  
companion when he was not himself at work as a truck driver.  
[158] For a time Parmjit Hans moved in with the Hans family and was paid $1,000  
per month by Mrs. Hans and provided with room and board to help to supervise  
Mr. Hans while she was working or otherwise unable to be at home, usually because  
of the children’s needs. She made those arrangements with Parmjit Hans because  
of her continuing fear that Mr. Hans would again try to harm himself.  
[159] After Parmjit Hans undertook those supervising tasks in the summer of 2012,  
he provided companionship and supervision of Mr. Hans for between 20 and 25  
hours a week when he had time or when he was called to do so.  
[160] Although Parmjt Hans was initially paid for that supervision assistance as  
well as for driving the children when necessary, he continued to provide similar  
dedicated assistance without any compensation after he moved out of the Hans’  
home and into his own accommodation. The new accommodation was sufficiently  
nearby that he could still assist.  
[161] Notwithstanding the intensive medical intervention by Dr. Sandhu and  
Dr. Dhillon in 2012 and the help provided by Parmjit Hans in conjunction with  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 32  
Mrs. Hansown efforts, Mr. Hans was again hospitalized in late August of 2012 after  
expressing suicidal intent and exhibiting bizarre behaviour.  
[162] On the day that resulted in that return to the hospital, Parmjit Hans was with  
Mr. Hans who seemed very uneasy. Parmjit Hans decided to take Mr. Hans to the  
Nanaksar Gurdwara Sikh Temple in Richmond hoping to provide his “mind with  
some relief.”  
[163] Parmjit Hans testified that on the way back from the Temple when driving  
over the Alex Fraser Bridge Mr. Hans asked him to stop and drop him off on the  
[164] When Parmjit Hans did not stop but asked Mr. Hans what he wanted to do he  
testified that Mr. Hans said “I consider myself a burden on my family…I am not able  
to do anything for my children and won’t be able to…I want to kill myself.”  
[165] Parmjit Hans then drove Mr. Hans home where they sat and Parmjit Hans told  
him not to worry before excusing himself to go to the washroom. When he did so,  
Mr. Hans left the home. When Parmjit Hans learned from Mrs. Hans that Mr. Hans  
had left, he quickly went out to follow him, all the while keeping in telephone contact  
with Mrs. Hans.  
[166] Mr. Hans walked away from Parmjit Hans and then abruptly turned onto some  
railway tracks walking at a pace that Parmjit Hans could not match. When he told  
Mrs. Hans what was happening he learned from her that she had called 9-1-1 and  
was herself coming by car.  
[167] Before Mrs. Hans arrived the police apprehended Mr. Hans and took him to  
the Surrey Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Hans also went to the hospital while Parmjit  
Hans returned to the Hanshome to look after the children.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 33  
[168] Mr. Hans remained in the hospital that time for three weeks. After being  
discharged he saw Dr. Dhillon on September 20, 2012. Concerning that visit  
Dr. Dhillon wrote:  
He had been admitted to the psychiatric ward for the past three weeks. This  
was for active suicidal ideation with attempt. He was very isolative and very  
quiet. He felt like his energy levels were very low. On examination, he had  
suicidal ideation with no attempt; he had no homicidal ideation or attempt. He  
had a flat affect and was very non-verbal. He was advised to follow up with  
Dr. Sandhu and to continue the use of his current medications.  
Life since Last Suicide Attempt  
[169] After that visit Dr. Dhillon together with Dr. Sandhu referred Mr. Hans to  
another psychiatrist, Dr. Jogi Harrad, who saw Mr. Hans for the first time on  
October 4, 2012. Dr. Harrad has been Mr. Hanstreating psychiatrist since that visit.  
He has seen and counselled Mr. Hans almost weekly since then and continues to do  
[170] Dr. Harrad wrote a medical legal report dated April 24, 2013. He also testified  
at trial about that report and, as his treating psychiatrist, provided updated  
information about Mr. Hans’ condition to the date of trial.  
[171] In his report Dr. Harrad wrote:  
Recently he was hospitalized in August 2012 for three to four weeks  
because of suicidal thoughts with plan of jumping from Pattullo [sic] Bridge.  
Mr. Hans was discharged on Clonazepam 2mg and 0.5mg hs [anti-anxiety  
and sedation medication], Remeron 45mg hs [anti-depression; anti-anxiety  
and sedation medication], Risperdal 1mg am and 2 mg hs [anti-psychotic  
medication for extreme anxiety and agitation, and hearing of voices], Effexor  
XR 150mg bid [for anxiety and depression], Imovane 15mg hs [for sleep].  
Mr. Hans does not have any problems with drinking or drugs. he does not  
have any symptoms of high mood symptoms or mania. Not having any  
delusional thinking but he always hear noises of tires of his truck. Almost  
every day he thinks about his accident. He spends a lot of time thinking about  
his life. Mr. Hans is socially isolated and is not going to anybody’s house. He  
is not inviting anybody to his home. He is getting angry and frustrated. He is  
very sensitive to noise. Mr. Hans categorized himself as being a religious  
person and goes to Sikh temple on a daily basis. He is also doing prayers.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 34  
[172] Dr. Harrad testified that in his opinion a gradual worsening of psychiatric  
symptoms is common with those who suffer from PTSD. He explained that he  
believes Mr. Hans was initially in some denial concerning the symptoms he suffered  
after the collision and that his limited success and capacity in trying to work, together  
with the ongoing PTSD symptoms he was experiencing, increased the level of his  
distress and led to acute relapse, suicidal ideation and eventually to his active  
attempts to commit suicide.  
[173] Dr. Harrad further testified that the prescribed combinations of medication  
was necessary for the control of Mr. Hans’ severe psychiatric symptoms and to  
attempt to prevent him from actively acting upon his pervasive suicidal thoughts.  
[174] Dr. Harrad also testified that the combination of medications has changed  
over the years before trial and that Mr. Hans now takes the following regimen of  
1) Trazadone 150 mg taken at bedtime for sleep control;  
2) Serequel 200 mg (anti-psychotic intended to address hearing noises and for  
some sleep assistance) taken at bedtime;  
3) Clonazepam .5 mg taken at bedtime for anxiety and sleep;  
4) Effexor R 75mg taken twice per day for anxiety, depression and PTSD;  
5) Epival 250 mg taken twice per day for control of anger;  
6) Ativan 1mg taken sublingually as needed for immediate control of agitation  
and panic.  
[175] Dr. Harrad testified that while some treatment success could be measured by  
the fact that Mr. Hans had not again attempted suicide since the summer of 2012,  
his underlying psychiatric symptoms continue to persist. He testified that significant  
intervention with medication must be continued because Mr. Hans still suffers from  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 35  
moderate to severe symptoms of depression and PTSD which remain very difficult to  
[176] As a Punjabi speaking psychiatrist of South Asian descent, Dr. Harrad also  
offered insight into how cultural concerns can negatively impact attitudes towards  
mental illness to the detriment of treatment.  
[177] Dr. Harrad testified that it is not uncommon in Mr. Hans’ cultural community  
for a person who is exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, such as not being able to  
converse normally, to be treated poorly by others and for that person to try to hide  
his or her symptoms and also not seek help because of the stigma attached to  
mental illness.  
[178] In that regard, Mrs. Hans also testified that she did not appreciate the depth  
of Mr. Hanssuffering when she prodded him into going back to driving in the hope  
that doing so would help him “get out of his funk”. With the experience she has  
gained, she now regrets her actions.  
[179] Under the heading “Prognosis” it was Dr. Harrad’s opinion in April of 2013  
Due to the nature and severity of Mr. Hans’ psychiatric illness, he is not  
stable to be employed at any job. He is not a suitable candidate at this time to  
be considered participating in vocational rehabilitation program. His progress  
is very, very slow. He needs 24 hour supervision by family members to  
protect him from suicide attempts. It will take a few years to stabilize and  
bring Mr. Hans' psychiatric disorder in remission. Even if Mr. Hans is  
stabilized, it will be risky and impossible for him to be employed as a truck  
driver. His prognosis is poor. Mr. Hans will remain at high risk of attempting  
suicide mainly due to his psychiatric illness and ongoing litigation against  
Volvo and Yanke Group of Companies. Mr. Hans will have to live with this  
lifelong psychiatric illness and to be maintained on medication for the rest of  
his life.  
[180] Since that opinion was given in April of 2013, Dr. Harrad has continued as  
Mr. Hanstreating psychiatrist and, except for intervals in the summer of 2013 (June  
to early September) and spring of 2014 (April to June) during which Mr. Hans  
travelled to India, he has seen Mr. Hans weekly and will continue to see him weekly  
for the foreseeable future.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 36  
[181] Dr. Harrad testified that Mr. Hans’ prognosis remains poor. He testified also  
that his hopes that remission would occur within a few years have not been realized  
and that Mr. Hans continues to need 24 hour supervision by a family member or  
others because of his past suicide attempts and continuing symptoms.  
[182] Dr. Harrad further testified that the present medication regime he has  
prescribed will continue into the future with such modification as may be necessary  
to address Mr. Hans’ psychiatric symptoms. He is also considering referring  
Mr. Hans to a pharmacology expert for assistance in his future medicinal treatment  
of Mr. Hans.  
[183] Since Mr. Hans’ last suicide attempt in August 2012 he has not only been  
under Dr. Harrad’s weekly care but has also been closely supervised, primarily by  
Mrs. Hans and Parmjit Hans.  
[184] Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ downstairs neighbour, Ms. Sarjit Kaur Bilan, also looks in  
on Mr. Hans as necessary when Mrs. Hans or Parmjit Hans are not available  
because of work or other commitments. Mrs. Hans is also in constant telephone  
communication with Mr. Hans and has tried to find work which allows her flexible  
hours so that her time away from him is as limited as possible. She continues to  
perform virtually all household and childcare responsibilities, including the driving of  
the children to school and outside activities.  
[185] Deepkaran Hans is now playing hockey at a relatively high level for his age  
with some success. Ashleen Hans is involved in competitive Bhangra team dancing.  
Those activities and especially Deepkaran’s hockey practises and games require a  
significant amount of driving. When she cannot do that driving Mrs. Hans engages  
the assistance of other parents or that of Parmjit Hans so that the children do not  
miss out on their activities.  
[186] Mr. Hans has had very little interest in his children’s activities since the  
collision. He has not seen Ashleen dance and only lately, with the coaxing of Parmjit  
Hans, has begun attending some of his son’s hockey games.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 37  
[187] Since Mr. Hans’ first suicide attempt in October of 2011 he has not worked.  
Mrs. Hans, however, undertaken various work to “to put food on the table”. She has  
attempted to obtain flexible working hours and conditions to allow her to be able to  
attend upon Mr. Hans because of his needs.  
[188] More specifically, Mrs. Hans has been employed:  
1) As a commercial truck driver from when Mr. Hans was hospitalized, when  
he was supervised in hospital, until early January of 2012.  
2) In the summer of 2012, as a part time driver of labourers for a blueberry  
farm working approximately one and one-half hours each morning and  
evening near her home.  
3) In September of 2012, as a school bus driver for the Khalsa School for  
about one month also for about one and one-half hours twice per day.  
That employment ended when she injured her left knee. After that injury  
she received benefits from the WorkersCompensation Board (WCB  
benefits) both before and after surgery to her knee.  
4) From January to April of 2014, while still disabled with her knee injury, by  
the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at a call centre at $20 per hour.  
During that time her WCB benefits were suspended and when the CRA  
job ended she received a partial disability settlement from WCB for her  
5) After ceasing work with the CRA by re-starting her driving school business  
which allowed flexible hours. She also took an interpreter course and  
worked as an interpreter at rehabilitation clinics and doctor’s offices for the  
remainder of 2014; and  
6) From January of 2015 until June of 2015, full time as a dispatcher for  
Habib Trucking, a transport company with 14 to 15 trucks, at $25 per hour.  
That work allowed flexibility to the extent of easy telephone contact with  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 38  
Mr. Hans and the ability to leave work and attend upon him if necessary. It  
ended in June of 2015 when she was pregnant with the Hans’ third child  
and developed medical complications.  
[189] After their daughter was born in August of 2015, Mrs. Hans went on maternity  
leave and was still on maternity leave during the trial of this action.  
[190] Mr. Hans remains unable to work and does not drive even a passenger  
vehicle. He remains dependent upon Mrs. Hans or Parmjit Hans for transportation  
and remains socially isolated from his former good friends and is now also estranged  
from his mother and brother.  
[191] In addition to Drs. Dhillon and Harrad, since his last suicide attempt Mr. Hans  
has also seen a number of other health professionals, both for therapeutic  
assistance and for medical-legal reasons.  
[192] I will discuss the evidence of those medical professionals in detail when  
considering Mr. Hans’ claims for damages for his non-pecuniary loss, cost of future  
care and lost earning capacity.  
[193] Volvo generally accepts that Mr. Hans is now disabled from work and is also  
now a much changed person from that which he was before the collision. Volvo also,  
however, submits that the plaintiffs have greatly exaggerated the nature of the  
injuries suffered by Mr. Hans and their effect upon his life in an attempt to obtain  
excessive compensation.  
[194] Volvo’s submissions concerning the alleged deliberate exaggeration of the  
nature and extent of Mr. Hans’ injuries and their effect upon the lives of both Mr. and  
Mrs. Hans are all based upon an attack levelled against the plaintiffs’ credibility.  
[195] That attack focuses primarily upon Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ evidence in respect of  
five specific areas in respect of which Volvo alleged either exaggeration or deliberate  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 39  
[196] Those five areas relate to:  
1) Conflicts in the evidence between Mr. and Mrs. Hans and that of  
Mr. William Kalbhenn, then Yanke’s Director of Fleet Planning and  
Recruiting concerning Mr. Hans’ condition at the time of their meetings in  
Saskatoon on February 4, 2009 after the collision.  
2) The evidence of Mrs. Hans and, to a lesser extent, that of Mr. Hans that  
they had to sell their home because of the collision and the termination of  
Mr. Hans’ employment.  
3) The sincerity of Mr. Hans’ suicide attempts.  
4) The extent to which Mr. Hans has been supervised by Mrs. Hans and  
others since his first suicide attempt, including with regards to his trips to  
India in 2013 and 2014.  
5) Surveillance video of Mr. Hans’ activities in the community recorded on  
four days in May and June of 2015.  
[197] I will next discuss each of those areas and how they impact my consideration  
of credibility of Mr. and Mrs. Hans both specifically and generally.  
Mr. Hans’ Condition at the Time of the Meetings with Yanke in  
[198] On February 4, 2009, three days after the collision, Mr. Hans provided a  
statement concerning the collision.  
[199] Mrs. Hans testified that when Mr. Hans gave the statement in Saskatoon, he  
was assisted by her by interpreting as well as by participating. She also testified that  
they were told that Mr. Hans would be required to take and pass a Dangerous  
Goods Examination before he could continue to be employed by Yanke.  
[200] Mr. and Mrs. Hans both testified that Mr. Hans told the Yanke representatives  
that day that his head felt numb and that he did not think he could pass the exam but  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 40  
that Yanke insisted that he take it. They further testified that Mr. Hans then took the  
exam, was told he had failed and that his employment was terminated because of  
that failure.  
[201] Volvo adduced the evidence of Mr. Kalbhenn, then Yanke’s Director of Fleet  
Planning and Recruiting as well as the evidence of Ms. Grigorovich, Yanke’s  
Director of Human Resources and Risk Management whom Mrs. Hans had  
contacted from the scene of the collision.  
[202] Neither is still employed by Yanke or its successor.  
[203] Ms. Grigorovich did not offer any evidence concerning Mr. or Mrs. Hans’  
attendance in Saskatoon after the collision or with respect to Mr. Hans’ condition or  
[204] Mr. Kalbhenn did. He testified that he met with Mr. and Mrs. Hans three times  
that day. He said the first meeting was in the morning when he explained that there  
would be a formal interview later that day concerning the collision; the second was  
during that interview; and the third concerned the need for Mr. Hans to take the  
Dangerous Goods Examination.  
[205] Mr. Kalbhenn testified that during the first encounter he asked Mr. and  
Mrs. Hans if they were okay and was told they were and that he believed neither had  
sought medical attention nor been hospitalized. He said that he talked directly to  
Mr. Hans who seemed tired but was smiling. He also testified that he had difficulty  
understanding Mr. Hans due to language difficulties and was concerned about  
whether his proficiency in English had improved to the extent necessary for him to  
continue being employed by Yanke.  
[206] Mr. Kalbhenn testified that he conducted the formal interview and typed the  
statement which Mr. Hans eventually signed. He said that the answers were given  
primarily by Mr. Hans with some clarification by Mrs. Hans due to language issues.  
Mr. Kalbhenn was also specifically directed by counsel for Volvo to the question of  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 41  
Mr. Hans: “Did you have injuries?” and the response “Nothing major, Pavandeep has  
a sore neck”.  
[207] Mr. Kalbhenn testified that after the interview and the signing of the statement  
his concerns about Mr. Hans’ ability to meet Yanke’s English language requirements  
led to discussions with Yanke’s trainers and examiners about Mr. Hansemployment  
with Yanke.  
[208] He testified that he learned that Mr. Hans had passed a Dangerous Goods  
Examination in June of 2008 but that Mrs. Hans had been in the room and had  
helped him. He testified that he concluded that the examination was invalid and had  
to be re-taken.  
[209] Mr. Kalbhenn testified that he then told Mr. and Mrs. Hans what he had  
learned, that Mrs. Hans told him she had assisted Mr. Hans with the test and that he  
then said it would have to be re-taken. He also testified that Mr. Hans then refused  
to take the test and denied that Mr. Hans had told him his head felt numb.  
[210] None of the conversations that Mr. and Mrs. Hans were said to have had with  
Mr. Kalbhenn about her having helped Mr. Hans to pass the Dangerous Goods  
Examination were put to either Mr. or Mrs. Hans by counsel for Volvo in his cross-  
examination of them.  
[211] In a letter dated February 18, 2009, by which he formally terminated  
Mr. Hans’ employment with Yanke, Mr. Kalbhenn wrote:  
This letter serves as confirmation of our telephone conversation yesterday in  
regards to Amandeep's inability to meet the training requirements, pass his  
dangerous goods test and obtain a minimal language requirement to  
communicate effectively with the company representatives.  
During his initial orientation it was discovered that he could not pass the test  
and during the test he received unauthorized answers from you, Pavandeep.  
Furthermore, he had difficulties in all of his tests and communicating without  
assistance. This test must be completed without any support other than the  
training provided and the dangerous goods reference material. After the  
orientation it was agreed that you, Pavandeep, would assist him to bring up  
his language skills and attempt to rewrite the test. If successful, he could then  
remain on the fleet. He rewrote the initial test on April 8, 2008, and again on  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 42  
June 14, 2008 and again attempted on February 4, 2009. He was  
unsuccessful on all attempts to pass.  
During the recent investigation of the electrical malfunction on your unit 2877,  
Amandeep could not converse sufficiently to provide any form of statement of  
events. Pavandeep was requested to assist in meeting this requirement or  
the information would not have been received.  
Due to the above reasons, Amandeep is no longer eligible to run on the  
Yanke Fleet as an Operator. We have no concerns with Pavandeep  
remaining as a PTO. If Amandeep’s English language capabilities make a  
successful improvement and he can pass the required testing then he will be  
considered, eligible for reassignment.  
[212] The contents of that correspondence are not only at odds with Mr. Hans  
having been provided with a Dangerous Goods Certificate by Yanke in 2008 that  
was valid until June of 2011 when he was required to re-write the test on February 4,  
2009, but also directly contrary to Mr. Kalbhenn’s sworn testimony that Mr. Hans had  
refused to take the test on February 4, 2009.  
[213] When confronted with that contradiction in cross-examination Mr. Kalbhenn  
insisted that his present memory of the events at trial was clearer than what he had  
written 14 days after the events and re-iterated and insisted that Mr. Hans had  
refused to take the examination on February 4, 2009.  
[214] Volvo’s failure to confront Mr. or Mrs. Hans in cross-examination with  
Mr. Kalbhenn’s version of events on an important issue of credibility, the inherent  
hearsay issues related to the issues engaged concerning other Yanke employees  
who did not testify, and the contradictory contemporaneous evidence in  
Mr. Kalbhenn’s letter of February 18, 2009, lead me to conclude that I cannot safely  
rely upon Mr. Kalbhenn’s testimony concerning Mr. Hans’ emotional state or his  
denials of Mr. and Mrs. Hansexpressions of concern about Mr. Hansability to write  
the Dangerous Goods Exam on February 4, 2009.  
[215] I have concluded that in February of 2009 Mr. Kalbhenn was far more  
concerned with any physical injuries Mr. or Mrs. Hans may have suffered while in  
Yanke’s employ and with Mr. Hans’ English proficiency than with Mr. Hans’  
emotional or mental condition.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 43  
[216] Mr. Kalbhenn was primarily responsible for the dismissal of Mr. Hans as a  
Yanke owner-operator and I am satisfied that, whether deliberately or not, his  
testimony was tailored to exonerate both himself and his former employer for that  
dismissal which was the subject of claims against Yanke for almost seven years.  
[217] It follows that I am not prepared to make any adverse credibility findings  
against Mr. or Mrs. Hans arising from Mr. Kalbhenn’s testimony.  
[218] I accept Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ evidence that they each told the Yanke  
representatives, including Mr. Kalbhenn, that Mr. Hans’ head felt numb and that he  
did not think he could pass the exam, that Yanke insisted that he take it, that he took  
it that day and was told that he had failed.  
The Plaintiffs’ Sale of their Home after the Collision  
[219] Three weeks after the collision the plaintiffs sold their family home in Surrey  
which Mrs. Hans owned jointly with her sister.  
[220] The plaintiffs’ original statement of claim filed on December 9, 2009 included  
assertions at paras. 45 and 46 that:  
Without access to their Truck or their income that it generated for their family,  
and as a result of the trauma they suffered, the Plaintiffs were unable to earn  
any income until about August 2009, when they obtained part-time work, and  
were not able to contribute to the mortgage on the home that they owned  
together with their extended family.  
As result, the Plaintiffs were obliged to sell their family home for less than its  
assessed value, and fell into arrears on the Financing Contract. Volvo  
Finance seized the Truck and sold it on dates which are unknown to the  
Plaintiff, without returning any equity to the Plaintiffs.  
[221] Those assertions remained part of the plaintiffs’ claims until June of 2015, but  
were withdrawn before trial.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 44  
[222] In relation to that claim, counsel for Volvo confronted Mrs. Hans with the  
1) An affidavit sworn on September 26, 2011 in support of one of the many  
interlocutory proceedings in this case. In that affidavit Mrs. Hans deposed:  
After the accident we sold our home in Surrey below the assessed  
value and are now dependent on our extended family to survive.  
2) The plaintiffs’ written submissions on a summary trial application on  
September 16, 2013 in which their then counsel wrote:  
In addition to losing their Truck, the plaintiffs were also forced to sell  
their home at a loss.  
3) An affidavit sworn on January 15, 2014, on another interlocutory  
application, in which Mrs. Hans deposed:  
In the eight months immediately following the accident, we had no  
income, and we had to sell the house (which I owned jointly with my  
sister) because we could not afford to keep it. That house is now  
worth about $200,000 more on the market than what we sold it for in  
4) A valuation report dated June 26, 2015, with respect to the comparative  
values of the Hans’ family home as at the date of its sale in March of 2009  
as compared to June 17, 2015, obtained for the purposes of trial before  
the plaintiffs’ claim associated with loss of value was abandoned.  
5) Mrs. Hans’ testimony on examination for discovery on September 15,  
2015 in which the following exchange occurred:  
Okay. All right. I want to ask you some questions about the --  
what we referred to earlier as the 81st Avenue property --  
-- in Surrey, the one that you and your sister owned and sold.  
Okay. 12363 81st Avenue.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 45  
Correct? Now, I understand your position to be that you had to  
sell that house because you could no longer afford it after you  
lost the income stream from your - - as a result of the trucking  
accident. I got that right?  
6) Two MLS Listings indicating that the home was listed for sale on June 5,  
2008 for $599,000; re-listed on November 1, 2008 for $539,000 and sold  
on February 21, 2009 for $523,500.  
7) A medical legal report obtained at the instance of Yanke but not tendered  
at trial in which the physician recorded that Mr. Hans had told him that  
they had lost their home because of the collision.  
[223] After confronting Mrs. Hans with that evidence and the objective evidence  
that the home had been sold only three weeks after the collision counsel for Volvo  
asked her to admit that her evidence in the referenced affidavits and on discovery  
was false and that the claim with respect to the sale of the home because of the  
collision and being unable to pay the mortgage was concocted to enhance their  
claims in this litigation.  
[224] Mrs. Hans admitted that it was unlikely that more than one mortgage payment  
was missed but denied that the plaintiffs had concocted the claim.  
[225] I am, of course, troubled by the evidence concerning the timing of the actual  
sale of the home within three weeks of the collision and its apparent inconsistency  
with the plaintiffs’ attribution of the loss of its value to the collision when the home  
had been listed for sale before the collision.  
[226] I am also, of course, concerned with the specific plea first advanced in the  
plaintiffs’ original statement of claim filed December 9, 2009 that because of the  
collision they were unable to contribute to the mortgage on the home given  
Mrs. Hans’ admission that it was unlikely that more than one mortgage payment had  
been missed especially given her evidence that before the collision the plaintiffs  
were doing well financially.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 46  
[227] Mrs. Hans’ explanation for those apparent inconsistencies and the facts  
regarding when the home was sold was that, given their risky financial situation  
immediately after the collision and the trauma associated with it and its aftermath,  
they accepted the first offer received for the home rather than attempt to obtain a  
better price.  
[228] Although the various statements made by Mrs. Hans in her affidavits and in  
her examination for discovery do not refer to the prior listing of the home or the  
significant reduction of the asking price for it between June 25, 2008 and  
November 1, 2008 and the subsequent acceptance of an offer almost $20,000 below  
that final list price, the fact that the much lower offer was accepted almost  
immediately after the collision tends to support the explanation given by her.  
[229] I also note that the allegation of being unable to contribute to the mortgage  
payments on the home arose from a pleading advanced many months after the sale  
of the home and was never the subject of sworn testimony before trial.  
[230] In that regard I note also that all of the affidavit evidence relied upon by Volvo  
was sworn many years after the sale when the plaintiffs were still living in very  
strained financial circumstances in rental accommodations. As such, attribution of  
the loss of the home by them to the collision and the conduct of Yanke and Volvo is  
not surprising.  
[231] After considering the totality of the evidence relied upon by Volvo on this  
issue I have concluded that while Mrs. Hans’ evidence suffers to some extent from  
reconstruction, it does not support Volvo’s suggestion that the claim was a deliberate  
concoction by Mr. and Mrs. Hans advanced to exaggerate the plaintiffs’ claims.  
[232] I must also observe that over all or parts of six days in which she testified in  
this trial I found Mrs. Hans to be a reliable historian and a straightforward witness  
who answered questions, both in examination in chief and in cross-examination,  
directly. She was not evasive, her evidence was internally consistent and was also  
generally consistent with the evidence of the other witnesses (with the exception of  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 47  
that of Mr. Kalbhenn whose evidence I consider unreliable for the reasons stated  
above) including the plaintiffs’ medical experts.  
[233] I accordingly find that while Mrs. Hansevidence with respect to sale of the  
family home suffers from reconstruction, that frailty in her evidence on that single  
issue does not cause me to consider her to be a generally untruthful witness upon  
whose evidence I cannot safely rely.  
[234] Counsel for Volvo also confronted Mr. Hans with statements recorded by  
Dr. Harrad, Dr. Sandhu and others that he had told them that he and Mrs. Hans had  
to sell the home because of the collision.  
[235] Mr. Hans did not deny those statements. He testified that after the collision  
and after the house was sold he told many doctors that it had been sold and that if  
the collision had not happened the house would not have been sold. He also said  
that if not for the collision they were in excellent financial condition and that now “I  
am the living dead”.  
[236] Assessment of Mr. Hans’ credibility on this issue as well as others I will  
discuss is made difficult by reason of his present psychological state.  
[237] The evidence of his many friends and co-workers who testified and which was  
not challenged by Volvo is that before the collision Mr. Hans was a jovial,  
gregarious, hard-working, highly competitive and physically imposing man who was  
also a social extrovert. In the words of many, Mr. Hans was the “life of the party” who  
was always at the centre of any activity.  
[238] His daughter, Ashleen also testified that her father was a “fun guy” who  
played sports and games with his children and other children and would often leave  
adult companionship when children were around to join in their fun.  
[239] Those same collateral witnesses all testified that Mr. Hans is now socially  
reclusive, withdrawn in the few social activities he attends, uninterested in sports or  
competition, sullen, impatient with or uninterested in children including his own,  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 48  
fixated upon and obsessive about the collision and the “death truck”, generally  
emotionally flat but also subject to angry outbursts about Volvo and Yanke and how  
they have “ruined his life”.  
[240] Many of those aspects of Mr. Hans’ present psychological state were also  
evident when testifying at trial. Consistent with much of the medical evidence he also  
demonstrated and acknowledged a poor memory for past events and the timing of  
[241] While Mr. Hans appeared to have a fairly good recall of his general  
circumstances before the collision, and even smiled at photographs of his many  
athletic achievements in India, he had difficulty remembering the circumstances of  
family events and, at one time, even had some difficulty recognizing his son in a  
photograph of an early birthday celebration.  
[242] Although, bearing in mind his memory difficulties, Mr. Hans was generally  
responsive to questioning by his own counsel, his evidence was not spontaneous  
and at times his responses were difficult to follow. He did, however, also at times  
demonstrate serious distress to the point of tears when recounting the  
circumstances of the collision, his overwhelming fear of death during the loss of  
electrical power, his inability to control the jack-knifing of the trailer, the sparks in the  
rear view mirror from the landing gear hitting the pavement and his fear of fire, as  
well as the noise that emanated from the landing gear and the squealing of tires.  
[243] Under cross-examination Mr. Hans often became agitated and at times  
explosive when answering questions and often referred to the ruination of his life by  
Yanke and Volvo. He also at times became impatient with persistent questioning.  
[244] After considering the totality of Mr. Hans’ evidence and with the benefit of my  
own observations, the evidence of his friends and co-workers and the medical  
evidence that I accept I have concluded that Mr. Hans was an honest but fragile  
witness who did his best to communicate with counsel and the Court.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 49  
[245] Having said that, I have also concluded that because of the psychological and  
memory issues from which he so obviously suffers as well as his palpable anger at  
Volvo and Yanke I must approach the reliability of his evidence with care and where  
possible look for corroboration.  
[246] At times, such corroboration may only be available from the evidence of  
Mrs. Hans. If so, for the reasons I have articulated above concerning my  
assessment of her honesty and the overall reliability of her evidence, I am satisfied  
that, notwithstanding the identity of their interests in this litigation, I can safely rely  
upon corroboration by her.  
[247] In summary, I find that when considered in the context of the overwhelming  
evidence of Mr. Hans’ psychological difficulties and their manifestation upon his life  
and that of his family over the almost seven years since the collision, I do not accept  
Volvo’s submission that Mr. and Mrs. Hans concocted their “story” about the sale of  
their home at a loss to exaggerate their claims for damages.  
The Sincerity of Mr. Hans’ Suicide Attempts  
[248] In cross-examining Mrs. Hans about Mr. Hansfirst suicide attempt in October  
of 2011 when she found him in a downstairs bedroom at night with a scarf around  
his throat, counsel for Volvo elicited evidence that the scarf was too long to have  
allowed Mr. Hans to succeed in taking his life.  
[249] In relation to the second attempt while Mr. Hans was hospitalized for the  
second time for worsening depression in December of 2011, counsel for Volvo  
focussed on the statement in the hospital discharge records recorded at para. 151  
above concerning the inability of the curtain rod to sustain Mr. Hans’ weight.  
[250] In that regard, in cross-examination of psychiatric experts who testified,  
counsel for Volvo also relied on a statement in that same hospital record attributed  
to a staff psychologist that:  
…the self-harming behaviours may have been motivated by secondary gain.  
namely supporting his request for compensation…  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 50  
[251] Specifically:  
1) That statement was referred to Dr. Harrad, with the suggestion that  
Mr. Hans’ failed suicide attempts by hanging and his third unsuccessful  
attempt on the railroad tracks were not genuine or serious; and  
2) That statement, as well as an article entitled The Assessment of  
Malingering in Traumatic Stress Claimants (which had been referred to  
counsel for Volvo by their psychiatric expert Dr. Kevin Solomons), was  
referred to the plaintiffs’ psychiatric expert Dr. Greg Passey with the  
suggestion that Mr. Hans may be exaggerating his symptoms for  
secondary gain.  
[252] Concerning Mr. Hans’ third hospitalization after the railroad tracks incident,  
counsel for Volvo also cross-examined both Mrs. Hans and Parmjit Hans on whether  
there had been a train on the tracks, with the obvious inference being that this was  
either another insincere attempt or an exaggeration by Mr. Hans of his psychological  
[253] Although all of those indirect or direct suggestions that Mr. Hans’ suicide  
attempts were not serious or genuine were put to Mrs. Hans, Parmjit Hans,  
Dr. Harrad and Dr. Passey, no such proposition was ever put to Mr. Hans.  
[254] After considering the totality of the evidence on this trial, and most specifically  
that of the psychiatrists who testified, I find that the suggestions that Mr. Hans was,  
by means of his failed suicide attempts, exaggerating his psychological trauma for  
monetary gain are without substance.  
[255] I say that because:  
1) Dr. Passey acknowledged in cross-examination that malingering is always  
of concern in psychological diagnoses but also testified that he saw no  
evidence of malingering in the case of Mr. Hans.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 51  
2) Dr. Harrad testified that he believed all the recorded suicide attempts to be  
genuine and serious ones. He also said that he did not consider the  
attempts to be cries for help as suggested by counsel for Volvo because  
he has treated Mr. Hans for a number of years and “knows the patient”.  
3) Dr. Sundeep Thinda, a psychologist who saw Mr. Hans in May of 2012,  
testified in direct examination that an individual acting upon suicidal  
ideation is not likely to look at the physics of the methodology employed.  
4) The sole entry in the Surrey Memorial Hospital records attributed to a staff  
psychologist who did not testify is the only reference to possible motivation  
for secondary gain notwithstanding Mr. Hans’ admission to the hospital on  
three occasions for stays of many weeks each time before he was  
determined by hospital doctors to be sufficiently stable to be released.  
5) Although Dr. Solomons referred the article on malingering to Volvo’s  
counsel, in his first report dated July 28, 2014, in which he included the  
Surrey Memorial Hospital records and the possible motivation for  
secondary gain as part of the documentation reviewed by him, but made  
no specific reference to it, he wrote:  
As I encountered him at this assessment, it is my opinion that his  
severe agitated treatment-resistant major depression makes him a  
significant risk to himself and to others, and I think he ought to be  
detained in a psychiatric hospital under the Mental Health Act for  
treatment as well as for his safety and the safety of others.  
[My emphasis.]  
[256] It is also important to note that while refuting the suggestion that Mr. Hans’  
failed suicide attempts were not genuine or motivated by secondary gain both Drs.  
Passey and Harrad as well as Dr. Dhillon offered the opinion that while it is a  
positive sign that Mr. Hans has made no further attempts at suicide since August of  
2012, what remains of concern is the continued existence of passive suicidal  
ideation which has in the past become active culminating in the three known  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
D. The Extent to which Mr. Hans has been Supervised  
Page 52  
[257] Volvo also challenged the veracity of Mrs. Hans’ evidence concerning the  
extent to which Mr. Hans has both needed supervision and the extent to which he  
has actually been supervised since being released from hospital after his first suicide  
attempt in the fall of 2011.  
[258] As with the issues raised concerning the sale of the house and the failed  
suicide attempts, the focus of that challenge to Mr. and Mrs. Hanscredibility  
centered on the suggestion that the close supervision of Mr. Hans that Mrs. Hans  
says is necessary, and the extent to which that is accepted by the medical experts,  
is either untrue or exaggerated to inflate the plaintiffs’ claims for damages.  
[259] One aspect of Volvos attack on Mr. and Mrs. Hanscredibility on the issue of  
the need for and extent of supervision focussed upon the number of hours  
Mrs. Hans has been away from Mr. Hans because of her work commitments or  
because of the need to drive to and attend the children’s out of school activities.  
[260] A second aspect focussed upon Mr. Hanstravel to India for lengthy periods  
of time in 2013 and 2014 while Mrs. Hans remained in Canada.  
1) Supervision of Mr. Hans in Canada  
[261] In recording the background circumstances in these reasons I have set forth  
in chronological sequence the events following Mr. Hans’ discharge from the Surrey  
Memorial Hospital in November of 2011 after his first suicide attempt on October 5,  
2011. In doing so I have also included reference to the medical intervention and  
treatment he has received.  
[262] That medical intervention included: frequent attendances upon his family  
physician Dr. Dhillon; a second admission to Surrey Memorial Hospital in December  
of 2011; 20 attendances upon Dr. Sandhu’s office for psychiatric services with  
accompanying pharmaceutical intervention; the third admission to the psychiatric  
behavioural unit at Surrey Memorial in August of 2012 until September 20, 2012;  
followed by weekly attendances (with exception of the two visits to India from June  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 53  
to early September 2013 and from April to June 2014) upon Dr. Harrad from  
October 4, 2012 until trial (accompanied by pharmaceutical intervention as detailed  
in paragraph 174 of these reasons) to attempt to control Mr. Hans’ still present  
psychiatric symptoms and to attempt to prevent him from actively acting upon his  
pervasive suicidal thoughts.  
[263] Since his last suicide attempt Mr. Hans has also seen a number of other  
health professionals in addition to Drs. Dhillon and Harrad both for therapeutic  
assistance and for medical-legal issues.  
[264] Those other professionals include Dr. Passey and Dr. Kasusar Suhail, a  
clinical psychologist who saw Mr. Hans for four sessions of psychological treatment  
in November and December of 2014, in which, without success, she attempted to  
treat him using cognitive behaviour and cognitive processing therapies. She  
eventually put all treatment by her on hold because of Mr. Hans’ agitation and  
inability to engage in those “talking” therapies.  
[265] In addition, I have noted the ongoing supervision of Mr. Hans at home and in  
the community since his discharge in November of 2011 after his first suicide  
attempt (at those times when he was not again hospitalized or for those periods in  
which he was in India) which has fallen primarily upon Mrs. Hans with assistance  
from Parmjit Hans.  
[266] Volvo did not challenge Parmjit Hans’ evidence that after he separated from  
his wife, he first started supervising Mr. Hans for 20 to 25 hours per week for $1,000  
per month (and board and room), and continued as Mr. Hans’ almost constant  
companion for no remuneration when he was not himself at work as a truck driver.  
[267] Even those extensive supervisory efforts were, however, insufficient to  
prevent Mr. Hans’ third suicide attempt in August of 2012, when Mr. Hans left his  
home while Parmjit Hans was in the washroom.  
[268] Also, since Mr. Hans’ last suicide attempt in 2012 when Mrs. Hans or Parmjit  
Hans have been unavailable, Mr. Hans has been regularly looked in on when  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 54  
necessary by Sarjit Kaur Bilan who lives downstairs in the same house in which the  
Hans family resides.  
[269] In addition, Ms. Bilan at times prepares food for Mr. Hans and looks after the  
Hans’ children when needed from time to time and also drives Ashleen to school  
near her own daughter’s school.  
[270] Mrs. Hans also testified that she is in constant telephone communication with  
Mr. Hans when she is away from the home and has tried to find work which allows  
her flexible hours so that her time away from him is as limited as possible.  
[271] Those efforts at supervision have been undertaken by Mrs. Hans, Parmjit  
Hans, Ms. Bilan and also at times by Ashleen Hans, so that Mr. Hans is not left  
alone or is at least in telephone contact with Mrs. Hans because of Mrs. Hans’ fear  
that he will again try to commit suicide.  
[272] Cross-examination of Mrs. Hans and of Parmjit Hans as well as that of  
Ms. Bilan was directed primarily at their work schedules or other commitments to  
establish that the totality of those commitments would at any given time, and  
especially in daylight hours, still leave Mr. Hans alone at times without direct  
[273] Mrs. Hans did not disagree with that proposition.  
[274] She testified that she does the best she can with the help available to her but  
acknowledged there are times, and even extended periods, when no one is with  
Mr. Hans. She says she has no option but to work when she can to “put food on the  
[275] She testified that she has to take some risks, but remains fearful and vigilant  
which is why she maintains such close telephone contact and tries to minimize the  
time when someone is not with Mr. Hans, and which is why she engages the help of  
others as much as possible to drive the children to their activities and also tries to  
persuade Mr. Hans to come with her or go with Parmjit Hans to those activities.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 55  
[276] Mrs. Hans also testified that she has been more successful recently in doing  
so since their son has become more involved in hockey tournaments. To that extent  
she has been able to have Mr. Hans travel by car as far as Nanaimo and Terrace for  
tournaments although the trips were difficult for him.  
[277] I am satisfied by the totality of the evidence that Mrs. Hans did not exaggerate  
the extent to which she has devoted herself and others to the supervision of  
Mr. Hans since his suicide attempts.  
[278] I accept Mrs. Hansevidence that the times when Mr. Hans is left  
unsupervised arise because of financial need and other familial responsibilities that  
require some reluctant risk taking by Mrs. Hans and that in all of the circumstances  
she is not able to avoid taking some risks.  
[279] Mr. and Mrs. Hans are fortunate to have had the devoted, selfless and largely  
unpaid assistance of Parmjit Hans and Ms. Bilan in minimizing the risks inherent to  
leaving Mr. Hans alone.  
[280] The medical evidence as well as the evidence of Parmjit Hans and Ms. Bilan  
corroborates not only the extent of Mrs. Hans’ efforts but also the genuineness of  
her fear of leaving Mr. Hans alone.  
2) Mr. Hans’ trips to India in 2013 and 2014  
[281] The extent to which Mr. Hanstwo trips to India may have been  
“unsupervised” is not easily assessed.  
[282] As I have previously noted Mr. Hans was an honest but fragile witness who  
did his best to communicate with counsel and the Court but because of the memory  
issues from which he so obviously suffers, as well as his palpable anger towards  
Volvo and Yanke, I must approach the reliability of his evidence with care.  
[283] Although Volvo pointed to some potential conflicts in Mr. Hans’ evidence on  
discovery and at trial concerning his living arrangements in his ancestral home while  
he was in Hans Village during the two visits to India as well as the extent to which  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 56  
his paternal uncle either actually resided with him or was in a home nearby to be  
called upon as needed, I am not satisfied that any such conflicting evidence is  
sufficient for me to conclude that Mr. Hans was deliberately untruthful in his  
evidence at trial or that he was attempting to exaggerate his symptomology.  
[284] I have concluded that while Mr. Hans was at times confused as to what  
occurred during each of the separate visits, he likely conflates the two. I find that  
while it is likely that at times Mr. Hans lived alone in the village with his uncle being  
nearby rather than in full time residence with him, I am also satisfied that Mr. Hans  
was not as fully functional or independent in India as suggested by Volvo.  
[285] I say that because:  
1) Although he travelled by plane to India, the arrangements were made by  
Mrs. Hans and on at least one of the trips he was accompanied for all or part  
of that trip by Parmjit Hans.  
2) Mrs. Hans was in continual telephone communication with Mr. Hans to ensure  
that he was compliant with the taking of his medication.  
3) There is no evidence that the full medicinal regime prescribed by Dr. Harrad  
was not fully complied with.  
4) Dr. Harrad’s evidence concerning the two trips to India is important because  
both trips were made only after consultation with him. He fully supported the  
trips because he was of the view that the religious aspects of the trips could  
be beneficial to Mr. Hans.  
5) Dr. Harrad also testified that after the first trip although Mr. Hans appeared to  
have been happy to have gone to India, he saw no improvement in his  
underlying psychological problems.  
6) Dr. Harrad remains of the opinion that Mr. Hans continues to need 24 hour  
supervision by family member or others because of his past suicide attempts  
and continuing symptoms.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 57  
[286] I am accordingly satisfied that the totality of the evidence concerning  
Mr. Hans’ two extended trips to India in 2013 and 2014 does not support Volvo’s  
contention that Mrs. Hans has been untruthful about the need to supervise Mr. Hans  
or that she or Mr. Hans have exaggerated his symptoms to increase their claims for  
compensation for his injuries.  
Video Surveillance of Mr. Hans’ Activities in May and June of 2015  
[287] In challenging the veracity of Mr. and Mrs. Hans’ evidence, and to a lesser  
extent that of Parmjit Hans, about Mr. Hans’ ongoing psychiatric symptomology and  
the submission that his condition has been deliberately exaggerated for financial  
gain, Volvo relied extensively upon video surveillance evidence of Mr. Hans that was  
recorded on:  
1) May 29, 2015 for a total of approximately forty five minutes;  
2) May 30, 2015 for a total of approximately one hour and forty five minutes;  
3) June 7, 2015 for a total of less than twenty minutes; and  
4) June 9, 2015 for a total of approximately two hours and fifteen minutes.  
[288] During almost all of that surveillance evidence Mr. Hans was in the presence  
of Parmjit Hans.  
[289] In brief summary as to the contents of that surveillance:  
1) The events recorded on May 29 comprise: a 6 minute segment showing  
Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans seated in the lounge area of an arena  
watching Mr. Hans’ son play hockey; a 7 minute segment recording the  
stalling of the Hans’ family vehicle driven by Parmjit Hans due to a dead  
battery and the restarting of it with jumper cables; a segment of 28  
minutes recording a second breakdown of that vehicle and a second re-  
start with jumper cables during which Mr. Hans telephoned Mrs. Hans who  
comes to the scene to pick up their son and his hockey gear leaving  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 58  
Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans with the car; and, a two minute scene in which  
the vehicle stalls for the third time, is pushed to the side of the road and is  
again re-started with jumper cables.  
2) The events recorded on May 30 comprise: a forty-two minute segment  
again showing Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans seated in the lounge area of an  
arena watching Mr. Hans’ son play hockey; a very short segment showing  
Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans returning to the arena almost four hours later  
followed by a 54 minute segment in which Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans are  
seated in the same lounge area again observing Mr. Hans’ son playing  
hockey; a two minute segment in which Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans leave  
the arena and get into the Hans’ family car; and, a 10 minute segment  
showing Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans walking and talking in front of the  
Hans’ family home.  
3) The events recorded on June 7 comprise: a very brief segment showing  
Mr. Hans walking in his neighbourhood; another very short segment  
showing Mr. Hans walking out of a parking garage with Parmjit Hans; and,  
a five minute segment in which Mr. Hans is walking in a garden outside  
the garage while talking on a cellular phone before getting into the Hans  
family car when it pulls up.  
4) The events recorded on June 9 comprise: a very short segment in which  
the Hans’ family car stops in front of an area and pulls away; a one hour  
and fifty-two minute segment in which Mr. Hans is walking with Parmjit  
Hans along an overpass as well as in Burnaby Lake Park; and, a twenty-  
four minute segment in which Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans are parked in  
the Hans’ family car outside of an arena before Mr. Hansson comes out  
and puts hockey gear into the car after which Mr. Hans and Parmjit Hans  
drive to another building, get out of the car and go into that building for  
about 5 minutes before coming back to the car and leaving the scene.  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 59  
[290] Counsel for Volvo relied specifically upon the video surveillance concerning  
the three breakdowns of the Hans’ family car on a busy street in Surrey as being  
demonstrative of Mr. Hans acting without apparent distress when confronted with the  
electrical failure of a vehicle in potentially dangerous circumstances.  
[291] The suggestion made to Mr. Hans and also many of the medical practitioners  
who testified was that Mr. Hans’ reaction in the video was not consistent with the  
fear he says he experienced when the electrical system of the Truck failed.  
[292] Counsel for Volvo also relied upon what he characterized as Mr. Hans’  
apparent enjoyment of his son’s hockey games and protracted seated attendance in  
the lounge area of the arena on at least one occasion as being inconsistent with  
Mrs. Hans’ evidence that Mr. Hans had no real interest in his children’s activities,  
was usually in a state of agitation when he did watch and would not sit with other  
[293] In addition, Volvo adduced the evidence of Dr. Solomons who wrote in his  
report of September 24, 2015 that:  
My opinion is rendered prior to my review of the surveillance video material.  
Mr. Hans’ presentation in this surveillance material portrays an entirely  
different picture of him from that seen in the examination room and an entirely  
different picture from that described in his clinical records and reports.  
I am unable to reconcile the disparity between his clinical presentation at this  
and at other assessments and his presentation in the video material. His  
presentation in the video material is inconsistent with the diagnosis of a  
severe agitated treatment-resistant depression.  
[294] That observation also led to Dr. Solomons providing counsel for Volvo with  
the article on the assessment of malingering in cases of post-traumatic stress  
disorders to which I earlier referred.  
[295] Dr. Solomons did not, however, provide any specific opinion in his report of  
September 24, 2015, other than the one I have referenced concerning what aspects  
of the video evidence had led him to conclude that Mr. Hanspresentation was  
“inconsistent with the diagnosis of a severe agitated treatment resistant depression”,  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 60  
which had been reached by Dr. Solomons after lengthy meetings with Mr. Hans on  
two occasions before viewing the videos.  
[296] I make the following observations and findings concerning the video  
surveillance evidence in the context of the allegations of exaggeration and  
malingering suggested by Volvo.  
1) The circumstances of the electrical breakdowns of the Hans’ family vehicle  
were entirely unlike those experienced during the total failure of the  
electrical system of the Truck that caused the collision on the Trans-  
Canada Highway on January 31, 2009. The video depicts a bright sunny  
day and a vehicle stopped or barely moving when easily corrected battery  
failures occurred. There was no danger remotely akin to an out of control  
truck with a fully loaded jack-knifing trailer, without lights in totally dark icy  
road conditions while traveling at 65 to 70 km per hour. Significantly also,  
at the times of the electrical failures recorded in the video and in all of the  
other video evidence involving driving, Parmjit Hans was the driver of the  
Hans’ family vehicle. He was also in control of the re-starting of the  
vehicle. I also accept Parmjit Hans’ evidence that Mr. Hans was confused  
about where to return the borrowed jumper cables that were used to start  
the car when the battery first failed.  
2) The relatively lengthy segments of the video on June 9, 2015, in which  
Mr. Hans is seen, usually with Parmjit Hans, walking in Burnaby, is  
consistent with the evidence that Parmjit Hans encourages Mr. Hans to  
walk to get him out of the home. The pace and apparent aimlessness of  
the walking is not what one would expect of someone who was as  
athletically gifted and competitive as Mr. Hans once was.  
3) The segments showing Mr. Hans with Parmjit Hans in the arena lounge  
are inconsistent with Mrs. Hansevidence to the extent that they show  
Mr. Hans involved in watching his son play hockey rather than being  
disinterested. The segments are, however, consistent with her evidence  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 61  
that he does not sit with other parents and is restless, as demonstrated by  
some agitation while sitting. The timing of the video evidence is also  
consistent with the evidence of Parmjit Hans that he has had more  
success lately in getting Mr. Hans to be more engaged in his son’s  
activities and also that of Mrs. Hans that she has recently been able to  
convince him to go with the family to tournaments out of Vancouver even  
though that has involved him sitting in a vehicle for extended periods of  
time and with the necessity for frequent stops. Significant also, in my view  
is Parmjit Hans’ unchallenged evidence that during the hockey game  
depicted in the video Mr. Hans’ son scored more than one goal. Mr. Hans  
did not react with any noticeable emotion to any such success which is, in  
my opinion, consistent with the totality of the evidence that Mr. Hans  
remains relatively uninvolved and disinterested in the activities of his  
4) Concerning Dr. Solomonscommentary about the difference between  
Mr. Hans’ presentation in the videos as compared to in his examinations, I  
observe that the videos depict everyday life events primarily out of doors  
in the presence of Mr. Hans’ good friend Parmjit Hans. It is not surprising  
that during examination by Dr. Solomons, known by Mr. Hans to be  
chosen by Volvo as a psychiatric expert for the purposes of this litigation,  
his demeanour would be very different. The latter was an obviously more  
stressful situation directed to re-living the collision and its effect upon  
Mr. Hans’ life. My own observations of Mr. Hans in the similarly stressful  
situation of being a witness in this case were that when questioned by his  
own counsel his demeanor was mostly calm except when testifying about  
the collision itself at which time he became very emotionally distraught.  
Under cross-examination, with counsel for Volvo seeking to minimize the  
nature of the collision as well as the effects of it upon him, and when his  
honesty was challenged, his demeanour changed dramatically. He  
became more and more agitated and at times explosive in his  
denunciation of the Truck that had “ruined his life” and the unfair actions of  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 62  
Volvo and of Yanke towards him and his family subsequent to the  
[297] While Mr. Hans’ reactions in court were extreme and also unlike his  
appearance in the videos, I am not prepared to accept that in its totality the video  
surveillance evidence without any audio voice recording is capable of establishing  
that Mr. or Mrs. Hans have exaggerated Mr. Hans’ ongoing psychiatric  
symptomology for financial gain.  
[298] In that regard, I find the evidence of Dr. Passey, a psychiatrist with extensive  
experience in the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, to be illuminating.  
[299] In his report of October 15, 2015 delivered in response to Dr. Solomons’  
report concerning Dr. Solomons’ review of the video surveillance evidence  
Dr. Passey wrote:  
Reference 2 (surveillance videos and word document) provide less than two  
hours of very limited videotaped evidence of Mr. Hans’ behaviour while in  
public in May and June 2015. It is quite clear in these videos that he does not  
go to public events such as his son’s hockey game by himself. While  
attending the hockey arena he always arrives and departs as a passenger in  
a car and has a male friend escorting him. In fact, most of the video evidence  
shows him with a male friend.  
Individuals with PTSD often feel less anxious at public events if they have  
someone they know and trust attend the event or activity with them. Utilizing  
a friend as an escort (this can significantly reduce their anxiety and other  
PTSD symptoms) is often part of the PTSD treatment regime in order to get a  
PTSD patient to go to public events when otherwise, if by themselves, they  
would avoid such activity because of their PTSD symptoms. This is quite  
commonly used with any anxiety disorder diagnosis that limits a person’s  
ability to be at public events alone.  
It appears on the videos that the only time Mr. Hans is alone is when he is  
walking in his neighborhood or apparently on occasion at the hockey arena  
when he has to leave the arena despite his son’s game still being played  
(Reference 2 word document). The vast majority of healthy fathers would not  
be typically going for a walk outside the arena for an extended period of time  
when their son’s game is still being played. In a PTSD patient this type of  
behavior is common (because of PTSD symptoms of anxiety or anger that  
cause them to leave) and may even be taught in therapy as a “timeout” or a  
coping technique when PTSD symptoms (e.g. anxiety etc.) become too  
intense while attending an event. The timeout allows the intensity of the  
anxiety etc. to diminish when [the] patient gets away from too many people  
(even 4 or 5 people can constitute too many). This would then allow a PTSD  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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patient to potentially return to the event for another period of time once their  
symptoms have diminished with the timeout.  
The video evidence clearly shows that Mr. Hans is only in a car as a  
passenger and not as a driver. This is despite the fact that he was a  
professional driver prior to the January 31, 2009 MVA. This evidence  
supports the history that he and his wife provided that he is uncomfortable as  
a driver now and attempts to avoid driving. This was noted in my report  
(reference 5) and is evidence of PTSD criteria C2 and probably criteria B4 &  
B5 (the latter two being the reason to avoid driving because it causes an  
increase in his PTSD psychological and physiological symptoms).  
Having a diagnosis of PTSD and Major Depression does not mean that a  
person is not able to ever go into public or interact with people. Rather they  
are usually restricted in their abilities to function in public or outside of their  
house. They usually are also not able to enjoy things as much as prior to the  
PTSD onset. It is interesting to note in the videos that Mr. Hans only smiles  
once in all of the taping that was done.  
PTSD symptoms can wax and wane depending on stress levels (e.g.  
insomnia, poor diet, finances, relationship issues, etc.) and exposure to  
triggers that remind a person of their trauma etc. What a person is able to do  
one day may not be possible the next day because of the effects of stressors  
or triggers. There is nothing in the video that does not support a diagnosis of  
In Reference 1 Dr. Solomon wrote: “Mr. Hans’ presentation in the surveillance  
material portrays an entirely different picture of him from that seen in the  
examination room and an entirely: different picture from that described in his  
clinical records and reports. I am unable to reconcile the disparity between  
his clinical presentation at this and at other assessments and his presentation  
in the video material. His presentation in the video material is inconsistent  
with the diagnosis of a severe agitated treatment-resistant depression.”  
I agree only with Dr. Solomon’s very last sentence. However, Mr. Hans’  
presentation is consistent with someone with severe PTSD and depression.  
Dr. Solomon has simply not arrived at the correct diagnosis and that is why  
he is not able to reconcile the behaviour in the videos with his diagnosis. ...  
All levels of experienced trauma mental health clinicians are aware that a  
PTSD patient’s presentation in an assessment interview may be worse than  
their day-to-day function. They may seem to be more emotionally shut down,  
more depressed, more anxious, less able to focus, more symptomatic, etc.  
because the interview process will trigger and worsen their PTSD symptoms  
during the interview, as they are required to relate their trauma history. ...  
This phenomena is simply further evidence of the effect that criteria B4 & B5  
can have on a person with PTSD.  
[300] I have concluded that the opinion evidence of the medical experts adduced by  
the plaintiffs based upon their assessments of Mr. Hans after their own interviews of  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
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and interaction with him is not in any way undermined by the video surveillance  
evidence relied upon by Volvo.  
[301] The plaintiffs allege that Volvo was negligent in designing, manufacturing and  
installing the critical cab positive terminal connection in the Truck which caused the  
shutdown of the electrical system that caused the collision on January 31, 2009.  
Shutdown Caused by a Loose Nut on the Cab Positive Terminal  
[302] Volvo admits that the collision was caused by a loose nut on the cab positive  
terminal but denies that the plaintiffs have established that Volvo was negligent in  
the design, manufacture or installation of the cab positive connection, or is in any  
other way liable to the plaintiffs for their alleged losses.  
[303] As I have noted in recording the background circumstances, the plaintiffs had  
experienced a number of electrical issues with the Truck prior to the complete failure  
of the electrical system that caused the collision on January 31, 2009. The details of  
those electrical issues are recorded in Mr. Hewitt’s expert report of May 1, 2012 and  
are summarized at paras. 83 and 87 of this judgment.  
[304] As I have also noted, of particular importance are the events of July 4, 2008  
in Regina in respect of which the evidence establishes that while Mr. and Mrs. Hans  
were travelling through Regina at a very low speed in daylight hours all electrical  
power in the Truck was lost and the vehicle shut down on the roadway.  
[305] When that occurred Mr. Hans was able to re-start the engine by “wiggling” the  
battery cables located near the batteries and then drove the Truck to a Volvo service  
centre in Regina where it was inspected and where the service technicians  
diagnosed the cause of failure as a “blown main fuse”.  
[306] Concerning that blown fuse Mr. Hewitt stated:  
Without the main fuse, presumably the truck would not have functioned. …  
It would therefore seem that this vehicle has suffered from sporadic electrical  
Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc.  
Page 65  
issues which appear similar and therefore potentially related to the failure on  
January 31, 2009.  
[My emphasis.]  
[307] As I have also recorded above, after the total failure of the Truck’s electrical  
systems on January 31, 2009 it was towed to Yanke’s yard in Winnipeg where it was  
inspected between February 7 and 10, 2009 by Mr. Hewitt and others before being  
eventually repaired at Beaver Trucks, the Volvo repair and service centre in  
[308] In his report of May 1, 2012 (the original of which was provided to Yanke and  
Volvo in March of 2009), Mr. Hewitt wrote:  
On arrival at Yanke, one of their mechanics had already removed part of the  
plastic dash molding, to the left of the steering wheel, exposing wires, some  
of which passed through the fire wall. The main 12V power feeds from the  
battery, are terminated on positive (red) and negative (black) terminal posts  
which pass through the fire wall. A nut holds each cable in place on the  
terminal posts inside the cab and in the engine compartment. Many control  
wires were observed (coloured orange and yellow) running from transducers  
in the air line manifold adjacent to the positive and negative wires. Refer to  
Photo 2.  
On observation, it was immediately noted that the cab positive termination  
showed signs of heat damage. The cable insulation had melted. Additionally,  
the plastic bushing through which the cab positive terminal post passes had  
partially melted. Two orange/white wires had also melted to the cab positive  
terminal post. The insulation showed signs of carbon char. Carbon char can  
conduct electricity. This can also be seen in Photo 1. The wires were  
estimated to be #16 or #18 AWG. The charred wires ran from a transducer  
labeled APP-G on the fire wall air manifold. One of the charred wires had a  
tape with the acronym AP-TD printed on it.  
Further observation of the cab positive terminal was carried out as it  
obviously showed signs of heat damage, potentially caused by resistance  
heating. On closer inspection, it was noted that the terminal nut appeared to  
be loose. This was particularly evident when the space between the rear of  
the nut and the washer appeared greater on the cab positive terminal than  
the negative terminal.  
At this point, the ignition was turned to the on position (engine was not  
started). The interior cab lights, dash lights, radio and windshield wipers  
operated. The cab positive terminal was very lightly manipulated by hand,  
and it was noted that the interior lights (cab and dash) and wipers turned off.  
As soon as the manipulation ceased, operation resumed. The vehicle’s