$85,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing non-pecuniary damages for a host of injuries including a broken nose, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome requiring surgery and chronic soft tissue injuries.
In this week’s case (Mayervich v. Sadeghipour) the 72 year old Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 crash. ¬†Liability was admitted by the Defendant. ¬† The Plaintiff suffered chronic injuries in the crash with symptoms persisting to trial. ¬†While there was some room for further¬†improvement¬†some symptoms were expected to last¬†indefinitely¬† ¬†In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice Grauer provided the following reasons:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†In my mind, the significant features of this case are these:¬†
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†As a result of the accident, Mrs.¬†Mayervich suffered a constellation of injuries, the most significant of which has been myofascial injury in the neck and back resulting in a chronic pain condition accompanied by a major depressive order and cognitive difficulties.¬†
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Included the constellation were a deviated septum (broken nose), and injuries to the arms and hands that culminated in bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.¬† Both of these conditions required surgical intervention and both have resolved.¬† There was additional discomfort from injuries to the abdomen and chest.¬†
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†These injuries have had a significant impact on Mrs.¬†Mayervich’s quality of life.¬† The myofascial injuries in particular continue to interfere with her activities of daily living and recreation and have impaired her ability to interact with her husband, her daughters, and her grandchildren.¬†
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Mrs.¬†Mayervich has already experienced nearly 5¬Ĺ years of physical pain, depression, emotional upheaval and cognitive difficulty as a result of the accident.¬†
¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†It is likely Mrs.¬†Mayervich will experience real improvement if she undertakes a program such as that recommended by Dr.¬†Posthuma; full recovery however is unlikely, and a real possibility remains that she will experience no significant recovery.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†In my view, these features bring Mrs.¬†Mayervich’s situation closer to the cases cited by counsel by the plaintiff than those cited by counsel for the defendants.¬† The award of $125,000 approved by the Court of Appeal in the¬†Rizzolo¬†case was to a considerably younger man who had suffered debilitating chronic pain affecting all aspects of his life but who had been able to return to his pre-accident employment.¬† In¬†Hsu, on the other hand, the most recent of the three cases relied on by the defence where the award was $30,000, the plaintiff suffered from chronic neck and back myofascial disorder but this was an aggravation of pre-existing soft tissue conditions from a previous accident that had already given rise to chronic pain.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Each case must of course be decided upon its own facts.¬† Considering all of the facts discussed above, I assess Mrs.¬†Mayervich’s non-pecuniary damages at $85,000.