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$10,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for 4 Month Soft Tissue Injury; Costs Denied Under Rule 14-1(10)

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for soft tissue injuries sustained in consecutive motor vehicle collisions.
In last week’s case (Liu v. Thaker) the Plaintiff was involved in two collisions, the first in October of 2007 and the second a month later.  Both collisions caused relatively minor soft tissue injuries which largely recovered in 4 months.  In assessing Non-Pecuniary Damages at $10,000 Mr. Justice Schultes made the following findings:

[58] On the whole I would say that the plaintiff’s case offered persuasive evidence of relatively minor soft-tissue injuries, rather than the unpersuasive evidence of more serious injuries that is sometimes seen in motor vehicle injury cases.

[59] I find that Mr. Liu did suffer the injuries that he described and that they were caused by the two accidents for which the defendants have admitted responsibility. These were soft-tissue injuries to the neck and shoulder which had largely resolved by the end of February 2009, about four months after the first accident…

[65] In all the circumstances, balancing the various factors, and having due regard to the range, but not being straight jacketed by it, I consider an award of $10,000 for non-pecuniary damages to be appropriate in this case.

Paragraphs 75-82 of the reasons for judgment are also worth reviewing for the Court’s reasoning in denying the Plaintiff costs findng there was no ‘sufficient reason’ to sue in Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 14-1(10).
Lastly, paragraph 56 is worth reviewing for the Court’s comments addressing the Defendant’s ‘low velocity impact’ testimony.  Mr. Justice Schultes provided the following criticism:
[56] Except as to the bare contours of his involvement in the first accident, I did not find Mr. Thaker’s evidence credible. He sought to portray the impact as so slight as to be virtually negligible — a mere touching of the vehicles, in his view. But he also sought to absolve himself of the responsibility of having caused the accident, even though liability has been admitted on his behalf. This suggested somewhat of a self-serving perspective on his part, which is at odds with the reality of the situation. It also made no sense to me, if the impact had been as trivial as Mr. Thaker claimed, that he would have asked Mr. Liu if he was okay afterwards, as he described. On his version of a mere touching between the vehicles, such an inquiry would have been completely unnecessary.

bc injury law, Liu v. Thaker, Mr. Justice Schultes, RUle 14, Rule 14-1, Rule 14-1(10)