Mandeep Singh Sandhu still has nightmares.
The Maple Ridge taxi driver and father was returning home over the Golden Ears Bridge after dropping a fare in Langley on Feb. 25, 2018, when he was brutally assaulted by another driver.
The man used a tire iron or some sort of iron bar, he said, and shattered the window of Singh Sandhu’s cab, and then beat him unconscious. He suffered broken teeth, a nasty scar over his right eye, and a year later he still can’t go back to work.
“My dental bill will be $16,000 to $17,000,” Singh Sandhu said. “My right eye only blinks about half the time. My doctors tell me I have nerve damage.”
The injuries would be easier to bear if he knew there was some financial help coming.
When the assault happened, he had assumed ICBC would cover his injuries as he was driving, and the manager of Aloutte Taxi assured him WorkSafeBC would be involved as well.
Over a year later, none of that help has materialized.
In an email, WorkSafeBC said there was no claim ever filed, and that taxi drivers are often considered independent contractors and don’t qualify for employer coverage.
ICBC, meanwhile, won’t pay out a claim because assaults with weapons are not included in either basic or optional insurance.
“ICBC paid to replace the glass in my taxi, but won’t take care of the human who was hurt in the same incident, by the same person,” Singh Sandhu said, adding he feels like he has been ignored by the government.
Right after the accident, the community stood up and offered its support. At one point someone offered to start a GoFundMe page to pay for his medical bills.
Singh Sandhu turned the help down, assuming the government to do the right thing. He now says he feels ashamed to tell people how he has been treated.
Ridge Meadows RCMP say they have identified a suspect in this assault, but are still collecting evidence before they can make an arrest or forward charges to Crown.
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