$90,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Neck Injury Requiring Surgical Fusion
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a neck injury requiring surgical intervention.
In this week’s case (Gormick v. Amenta) the Plaintiff, a “young, athletic police officer” was injured in a 2008 collision. ¬†Liability was admitted by the Defendant. ¬†The Plaintiff suffered a neck injury which required disc removal and fusion at the C5-C6 level. ¬†The Plaintiff had pre-existing issues to her neck and the Court found that there was a 10% chance surgery would be required even absent the collision. ¬†The Plaintiff was left with some residual symptoms but the Court found her residual earning capacity was not impacted. ¬†In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Mr. Justice Sigurdson provided the following reasons:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†In sum, the plaintiff had some neck pain and restricted motion prior to the accident that did not impair her work or ability to enjoy life to any measurable degree.¬† Because of her underlying condition, which was largely asymptomatic, she suffered injuries in the accident that were extremely painful and required surgery.¬† The surgery, though successful, has resulted in stiffness and restricted motion that appear to have affected the strength of her throwing arm and her ability to lift.¬† Although surgery was not a likely option for her pre-existing condition, now that she has had it she is at 25% risk of suffering adjacent segment disc disease within 10-15 years.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†In all the circumstances, I assess general damages at $90,000.¬† In doing so, I also take into consideration the pain and suffering that she will suffer in the future as a result of her injuries that were caused by the accident. …
116]¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The plaintiff is a very capable police officer.¬† She has done well in her career and I expect, given the evidence of Sergeant Arruda, that she will continue to do well.¬† She has had two children and has maintained an active busy life.¬† I recognize that she appears to have some symptoms that persist, but to the extent they were caused by the motor vehicle accident, I have included that in my assessment of general damages.¬† I expect that her patrol work may make her uncomfortable due to stiffness or lack of range of motion, but I am not satisfied that the plaintiff has demonstrated that the injuries in the accident have given rise to a real and substantial possibility of a loss of income or capacity in the future, and as such, I make no award under this head.¬†