$110,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic Pain Coupled With Psychological Injury
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic injuries following a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Evans v. Keill) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 rear end collision that the Defendants admitted fault for. The crash caused a variety of soft tissue injuries which developed into chronic pain coupled with psychological injury. The consequences impacted her vocationally with a poor prognosis for recovery. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $110,000 Madam Justice Matthews provided the following reasons:
 I have concluded that as a result of the accident, Ms. Evans has suffered pain and a loss of enjoyment of life, which will continue into the foreseeable future and from which she is unlikely to ever fully recover.
 As a result of the injuries she sustained in the accident, Ms. Evans suffered from soft tissue injuries to her mid-back, upper back, neck and shoulder. She now has chronic pain in her neck and upper back. The pain is exacerbated by lifting and many different postures, including sitting, standing, certain neck angles and some yoga postures. It is exacerbated by physical activities where her neck or back bears weight, or involves lifting or working with her arms above a certain height. She experiences headaches and migraines. Over the course of two years after the accident the pain has gradually improved by about 60% but has plateaued at its present level. It is permanent and not likely to improve. She has been prescribed analgesics and has taken over-the-counter medications to cope with her pain.
 Before the accident, Ms. Evans’ mood was good and she enjoyed being physically active and social. She hiked several times a week, sometimes with friends, and regularly did yoga. She had a career that she enjoyed and was justifiably proud of given her eligibility for further promotion and that she achieved it without graduating high school. Her injuries rendered her unable to do her job.
 Due to the accident injuries, Ms. Evans suffered two major depressive episodes and somatic symptom disorder. She withdrew socially from her friends. She attempted suicide twice. She drank excessively.
 Overall, Ms. Evans’ life is very different from what she enjoyed prior to the accident. However, after a significant and challenging struggle, she has reworked her life into a place where she is happy.
 The most significant of the Stapley factors in this case are Ms. Evans’ age; the severity and duration of the pain; the impairment of her physical abilities; her associated loss of lifestyle; and the impairment of her relationships. Ms. Evans is relatively young. She was 34 years old at the time of the accident and she was 39 years old at trial. She faces the prospect of a lifetime of chronic pain and associated functional limitations. One of the most significant impacts of her injuries has been the impact on her ability to do her job as a produce manager, which she enjoyed and which was a source of pride…
 In summary, some of the cases cited by Ms. Evans involve other injuries, such as thoracic outlet syndrome, disc herniation or facet joint arthroplasty, on top of chronic myofascial pain and psychological injuries. Most of the defendants’ cases do not include cases where a psychological condition has been diagnosed and/or the chronic pain is not as functionally disabling as that experienced by Ms. Evans. The cases which are most similar are Stapley and Montgomery.
 Having considered the Stapley factors and all the above authorities, I assess non-pecuniary damages at $110,000.
bc injury law, chronic pain, Evans v. Keill, Madam Justice Matthews, Somatic symptom disorder