July 24th, 2013
In an expensive lesson that problems should not be solved with violence, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nelson Registry, assessing damages for a facial fracture caused by an assault.
In this week’s case (Plishka-Humphreys v. Bolen) the Plaintiff was walking with friends by a highway when “unbeknownst to him his friend Arnie van der Holt took a slingshot and ball bearing and shot it at a vehicle which was owned and driven by the defendant Bolen.“. ¬†The Defendant chased the Plaintiff and his friend into the woods and “hit him in the face with considerable force. He fell down. He repeatedly was struck in the head and face. He was in and out of consciousness and was in shock.”
The Plaintiff suffered an orbital fracture and ultimately required surgery. ¬†He was left with permanent issues including occasional double vision. In addition to being criminally convicted of aggravated assault, the Defendant was found civilly liable and ordered to pay damages. ¬†In assessing non-pecuniary loss at $50,000 Mr. Justice Cole provided the following reasons:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†I am satisfied that the plaintiff received permanent injury to his eye because of his double vision. He is also at risk of developing glycoma and he suffers from anxiety and thoughts of suicide. He is now more vulnerable to further exacerbation of his post-traumatic stress disorder. He has lost a tooth in what was a traumatic violent assault.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The range of damages, according to the plaintiff, is (figure is adjusted for inflation) between $24,000 in¬†Springett v. Shanklin, 2001 BCSC 853 and $53,700 in¬†Minet v. Kossler, 2007 YKSC 30.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Considering and weighing all the evidence, the trauma that the plaintiff experienced, the permanent damage to his eye which causes him to suffer on occasion from double vision and is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (‚ÄúPTSD‚ÄĚ) and is at an increased risk of anxiety and depresic disorder, I am satisfied that an appropriate award including aggravated damages is the sum of $50,000.