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$110,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for “Likely Permanent” Vertigo

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing non-pecuniary loss at $110,000 for chronic vertigo symptoms.

In today’s case (Wright v. Mistry) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2006 collision.  Liability was disputed but the Court found the Defendant fully at fault.

The Plaintiff suffered chronic vertigo and an exacerbation of pre-existing depression.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages t $110,000 Madam Justice Choi provided the following reasons:

[54]         While each case depends on its own facts, the award should be fair and measured against other similar cases. In Stapley v. Hesjlet, 2006 BCCA 34 at paras. 45-46, the Court of Appeal set out a non-exhaustive list of factors to be considered in making this award. These include the age of the plaintiff; the nature of the injury; severity and duration of the pain; disability; impairment of life; impairment of family, marital and social relationships; impairment of physical and mental abilities; and loss of lifestyle. The plaintiff’s stoicism should not penalize the plaintiff.

[55]         Mr. Wright was 56 at the time of the accident and was 65 at the time of trial.

[56]         Mr. Wright suffered a number of injuries in the accident. He had soft tissue injuries that resolved within six months of the accident. He developed vertigo which has lasted for ten years and is likely a permanent condition. In addition, he has ongoing testicular pain from a fall related to the vertigo. His impairment also caused exacerbation of his pre-existing depression.

[57]         Mr. Wright noted that his vertigo has robbed him of much of his enjoyment of life, especially by limiting how much time he can spend with his grandson, and how they can play together…

[60]         I find the facts in Moukhine to be most helpful here. Moukhine considered a 53- year-old computer programmer who developed Visual Vestibular Mismatch after a motor vehicle accident. Madam Justice Watchuk awarded $90,000 for general, non-pecuniary losses.

[61]         Non-pecuniary awards will always turn on a complex factual matrix. I find, considering all of the circumstances, that $110,000 is fair and just compensation for Mr. Wright’s loss.

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