BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

$130,000 Non Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Fibromyalgia

Adding to this site’s archived ICBC fibromyalgia cases, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry dealing with such an injury.

In last week’s case (SR v. Trasolini) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2007 rear end collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  Although causation was vigorously contested, the Court conclude the collision caused a fibromyalgia condition which left the plaintiff partially disabled with chronic symptoms.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $130,000 Madam Justice Ballance provided the following reasons:

[169]      The injuries sustained by Ms. R. have caused her years of suffering, fluctuating degrees of chronic pain all over her body that is sometimes quite severe, and the concomitant diminution of joy and pleasure to most aspects of her life.  Although her symptoms have gradually improved, particularly in the year or so leading up to trial, they remain sufficiently significant to continue to meet the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  The expert opinion evidence that I accept is skeptical that Ms. R. will ever fully recover to her former self despite her completion of the Pain Program, commitment to physiotherapy and other treatment modalities and reasonable exercise when she is able.

[170]     A formerly outgoing, sociable and highly energized and engaged woman, Ms. R. is now more reclusive and has had to lean heavily on her aging mother to perform her share of household chores and, for about a six-month period, to assume most of her personal grooming.  She worries about her future, including how she will be able to care for her elderly mother in the passing years.

[171]     The Accident has left Ms. R. to confront the grim reality that she has an incurable and complex syndrome that manifests as chronic pain and an array of other unwelcome physical, psychological and cognitive impairments.  For years to come, possibly indefinitely, she will be vulnerable to episodic aggravation of her physical symptoms, which in turn, will disrupt her sleep and produce an adverse effect on her overall emotional and cognitive well-being.  The person she was before the Accident has been forever altered.

[172]     While the toll taken on Ms. R. by the ill-effects of the Accident have been life- altering domestically, emotionally, recreationally, socially and vocationally, the most deleterious consequence for her is that it has limited her ability to fully realize her most passionate of life’s goals, namely to serve her faith.

[173]     I have reviewed all of the cases placed before me by counsel.  I do not propose to review them in detail as they provide general guidelines only, other than to say that only one of the authorities relied on by the defendants involved a plaintiff afflicted with fibromyalgia or a chronic pain syndrome.  Ms. R.’s authorities are far more instructive in light of their factual similarities to her circumstances; even still, they are not determinative.

[174]     Having considered the evidence as a whole and the application of the governing principles, it is my opinion that a fair and reasonable award for Ms. R.’s non-pecuniary damages is $130,000.

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