BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

$20,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for "Relatively Mild But Likely Permanent" Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with damages for minor soft tissue injuries following a so-called ‘low velocity impact‘ collision.

In the recent case (Wallner v. Uppal) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 rear-end collision. Fault was admitted.  The collision was relatively minor causing just under $450 worth of vehicle damage.  Despite this the Plaintiff suffered a soft tissue injury to her neck and shoulder.  Her symptoms were “mild” but were expected to linger into the future.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $20,000 Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein provided the following reasons:

[14]         The plaintiff’s claim is for damages for a permanent partial disability relating to her intermittent ongoing neck, upper back and shoulder pain and left arm pain, and numbness and tingling she says is caused by the accident.  The plaintiff acknowledges her condition is relatively mild but maintains it is persistent and likely permanent.  She claims she experiences pain and discomfort while commuting to work, at work, doing household work, and during recreational activity.  She complains of intermittent weakness and lack of sensitivity in her left hand.  She claims she is unable to predict when she will be symptomatic.

[15]         In this case, in addition to minimal cosmetic damage to the vehicles, the plaintiff’s subjective complaints were not objectively verifiable, and in any event her injuries were minor and of minimal impact on her life.  The plaintiff has not missed any work and has no claim for past wage loss or for loss of future earning capacity despite maintaining a permanent partial disability.  The evidence establishes the plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries of a minor nature, with continued minor, intermittent numbness and tingling in her left arm and fingers, which injuries have had and will have minimal impact on her life.

[16]         In the result, based on an assessment of the evidence and considering the authorities relied on by counsel, the plaintiff is awarded general damages in the amount of $20,000.  In addition, she is awarded special damages in the amount of $283, with court order interest.  With the agreement of counsel, costs are set pursuant to Supreme Court Civil Rules, R.15-1(15)(c) at $11,000 and disbursements.

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