$100,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for C6-C7 Disc Herniation Requiring Surgery
Following a fairly unique collision involving a downed utility pole, reasons for judgement were published last week by the BC Supreme Court, Kamloops Registry, assessing damages for a C5-C6 disc injury requiring surgical intervention.
In last week’s case (Baxter v. Morrison) the Defendant tractor trailer operator struck overhead power lines with his vehicle causing the power pole attached to the wires to break into pieces falling on the plaintiff’s vehicle causing a severe neck injury.
Although fault was disputed Mr. Justice Ehrcke found the defendant fully liable for the incident. The plaintiff’s neck injury required surgery which largely, but not entirely, improved his symptoms leaving the plaintiff with some permanent symptoms. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $100,000 the Court provided the following reasons:
 Here, the plaintiff, who was 47 at the time of the accident and who enjoyed an active lifestyle both at home and at work, suffered injuries to his neck, right shoulder, and arm. Dr. Brownlee found that his right arm pain was caused by a disc herniation resulting from the accident. He performed an operation on his neck to remove the disc, and this relieved about 70% of the pain. Dr. Brownlee’s opinion is that following the operation, Mr. Baxter has a “mild degree of permanent disability as a result of his ongoing neck pain.” This discomfort continues to affect Mr. Baxter both at home and at work.
 While reference to previous cases provides useful guidance, every case must be assessed on its own particular facts. Taking account of all of the factors mentioned in Stapley v. Hejslet, I would assess general damages in this case at $100,000.