$100,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment For Chronic Pain and Depression
(Update: June 11, 2012 – With the exception of a modest decrease in the damage award for Cost of Future Care, the below decision was upheld by the BC Court of Appeal in reasons for judgement released today)
Adding to this site’s chronic pain non-pecuniary damages archives, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic pain and depression.
In this week’s case (Tsalamandris v. MacDonald) the Plaintiff was involved in two collisions, the first in 2004 and the second in 2006. The Defendants admitted fault in both claims. The Plaintiff suffered from “chronic pain and a depressive disorder which is quite debilitating“. The cause of the Plaintiff’s disability was the main focus of trial with the Plaintiff arguing the collisions were responsible while the Defendants pointed to other explanations.
Ultimately the Court found that the the collisions were responsible for the Plaintiff’s injuries. These were expected to be largely disabling for the duration of the Plaintiff’s career. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $100,000 Madam Justice Griffin provided the following reasons:
 I therefore conclude that but for the Accidents, the plaintiff would not have suffered the chronic pain and depression she suffered following the Accidents and continuing to this day and into the future. The plaintiff has proven that the Accidents caused her conditions of chronic pain syndrome and depression…
 The plaintiff had an active lifestyle prior to the Accidents, did many outdoors things with her husband and got along well with others. The minor discomfort she experienced on occasion stemming from the 2001 accident did not interfere with her activities.
 The changes she has gone through since the 2004 and 2006 Accidents have been dramatic. Her chronic pain and chronic depression mood have had a very negative impact. She has said very hurtful things to her mother and her husband. She has not been able to properly take care of her children and she does not get the same joy out of life as she used to do…
 The plaintiff cites a number of cases that suggest that an award of damages for loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering (non-pecuniary damages) in similar circumstances should be in the range of $85,000.00 to $125,000.00: Beaudry v. Kishigweb, 2010 BCSC 915; Eccleston v. Dresen, 2009 BCSC 332; Kasidoulis v. Russo, 2010 BCSC 978; Poirier v. Aubrey, 2010 BCCA 266; Zhang v. Law, 2009 BCSC 991; and, MacKenzie v. Rogalasky, 2011 BCSC 54 (the latter cited by the defendants for other reasons).
 The authorities can only serve as general guidelines.
 Given the plaintiff’s age, the stage of her life when she was injured, as a young mother, the ongoing and severe nature of her injuries which negatively affect every aspect of her daily life and her relationships with those around her, including with her children, her husband and her parents, I conclude that a fair and reasonable award for the loss of her enjoyment of life and her pain and suffering is $100,000.00.
bc injury law, causation, chronic pain syndrome, depression, Madam Justice Griffin, Tsalamandris v. MacDonald