Langley City firefighters dealt with the aftermath of a car that smashed into a health food store May 13

Former Playboy model awarded more than $400,000 from crash at Langley deli

A silver SUV driven by an elderly man slams into the lunch crowd at Nature Fare's bistro back in May 2013.

  • Sep. 12, 2016 11:00 a.m.

by Keith FraserSpecial to the Langley Advance

A former model for Playboy and Penthouse has been awarded more than $400,000 for injuries she suffered when she was hit by a vehicle that crashed into a Langley deli.

Elaine Margaret Starchuk was a customer standing inside Nature’s Fare Market on May 13, 2013 when she heard a loud crash and people screaming.

An SUV driven by Helmutt Hannig, an elderly man, came through the front of the shop and collided with the deli counter.

Starchuk was pushed into the wall of the deli, the drywall collapsing around her. Confused and frightened, she was unable to breathe, her chest hurt and she thought her ribs were broken. She was taken by ambulance to Royal Columbian Hospital.

Against the doctor’s advice she checked herself out of hospital. Her mother took her home and she went to bed. The next day she was in bed in pain, suffering from chest and rib pain, as well as a sore neck, hands and arms.

At trial, liability was admitted but the defence challenged the extent of her ongoing injuries.

Court head that when she was 18 years old she had started modelling, first had breast augmentation surgery in the 1980s and had modelled for Penthouse and Playboy.

Due to her modelling and her marriage to well-known rock drummer Tommy Lee, Starchuk had relationships with celebrities and had the opportunity to do lash extensions in the modelling and film industries. Before the accident, she had worked on the film Transformers and did Avril Lavigne’s lashes.

However because of the injuries to her hands and shoulders and neck, she is no longer able to apply lashes herself and has also stopped teaching because it requires active demonstration.

In December 2013 due to injuries to her chest, she had surgery to replace breast implants.

In her reasons for judgment on the case, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown said she accepted that the accident had caused soft tissue injuries to Starchuk’s neck, shoulders, upper limbs, back, chest and right foot.

The judge also found the crash had torn one of her breast implants, requiring the surgery and that she had suffered other problems including post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

Starchuk, who was an “energetic and outgoing person” before the accident, is now limited to performing administrative tasks with her last extensions business, said the judge.

“Because Ms. Starchuk could not be as active in the business as she would have been, I am satisfied that but for the accident, her business would have been more successful than it has been and her income from it greater,” said the judge.

“It is my view that given her ongoing symptoms, Ms. Starchuk will continue to suffer loss of her income earning capacity.”

The judge awarded Starchuk a total of $442,000, including $150,000 for future loss of earning capacity, $135,000 for pain and suffering, $50,000 for past loss of earning capacity, $80,000 for housekeeping, $10,000 for specific therapy and $5,000 for pain management.

– Keith Fraser is a reporter with The Province/Vancouver Sun

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