September 30th, 2014
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for an aggravation of a pre-existing soft tissue injury.
In today’s case (Bains v. Park) the Plaintiff was involved in a relatively modest collision caused by the Defendant. The Plaintiff had pre-existing injuries and the Court found that these were aggravated for ‘a number of months’ following the collision. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $13,500 Mr. Justice Joyce provided the following reasons:
 It is Dr. Choo’s opinion that Ms. Bains suffered an aggravation of pre-existing injuries and that her pre-existing condition likely made her recovery from this collision slower than it would otherwise have been.
 It is my opinion that there was a real risk that even if she had not been involved in the collision on May 18, 2010, Ms. Bains would have experienced some neck and pain discomfort from time to time. I am satisfied that the collision aggravated her condition and resulted in persistent pain and discomfort for a number of months, beyond the period of time that one might normally expect given the circumstances of the collision.
 As a result of the injuries, Ms. Bains’ ability to perform her usual household chores was curtailed for a few months and her ability to fully enjoy time with her children and other leisure activities was curtailed for five or six months. She was off work until about mid-June 2010, then was able to return on a graduated return to work program that was supported by her employer.
 I am satisfied that Ms. Bains had likely recovered to her pre-accident state by the fall 2010 or by February 2011, at the latest…
 As the plaintiff recognizes, each case must be decided on its own particular facts and other cases can, at best, provide general assistance in determining what is just and fair compensation for this plaintiff, given her injuries and the manner in which they have affected her enjoyment of life. It appears to me that each of the cases cited by the plaintiff involve somewhat more serious injury and loss than the present case.
 In addition, as I have found, the plaintiff’s pre-accident condition was such that there was a risk that she would have experienced some neck and back pain, on-and-off, even if she had not been involved in the collision on May 18, 2010, in the same way she had experienced on-and-off pain prior to that collision.
 Having read and considered the cases referred to by counsel and having regard to the nature of the injuries, their duration and their effect on the plaintiff’s day-to-day activities, I am of the opinion that an award of $15,000 would be appropriate, but for her pre-existing condition and the risk that she would have experienced on-and-off symptoms even without the aggravating injuries. I will reduce that amount by10% on account of the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition.
 In conclusion with regard to this head of damages, I am of the opinion that an award of $13,500 will provide Ms. Bains with fair and reasonable compensation for her pain, suffering and loss of amenities, as a result of the collision of May 18, 2010.