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$115,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for L4-5 Disc Herniation

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for various injuries sustained in a collision including a L4-5 disc herniation with nerve root compression.

In today’s case (Rahemtulla v. Sutton) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collision that the Defendant accepted fault for.  The crash resulted in a variety of long lasting injuries including a low back disc herniation with nerve compression which required surgical intervention.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $115,000 Mr. Justice Masuhara provided the following reasons:

[74]         Taking into consideration the medical evidence and the testimony of witnesses, as well as the submissions as to the plaintiff’s credibility, I find that as a result of the Accident, the plaintiff has suffered the following:

(a)            disc herniation and nerve root compression at L4-5; 

(b)            chronic back pain; 

(c)             sleeplessness; 

(d)            neck pain; 

(e)            headaches; 

(f)              shoulder pain; 

(g)            upper, mid and lower back pain; and

(h)            anxiety. 

[75]         I accept that the lumbar spine symptoms and need for surgery arose as a consequence of the Accident.

[76]         I find that the surgery was successful.  However, he required a significant time to recuperate before returning to work and that the plaintiff is not entirely pain free. 

[83]         Prior to the Accident, Mr. Rahemtulla led an active life.  He was 31 years old at the time.  He is now 36 years old.  He was particularly involved in caring for his son Isaac who had as mentioned significant health issues.  He worked out regularly at a local gym, played street hockey and baseball with the children in the neighbourhood, played golf, had family outings regularly in the summer such as going to water parks and having barbecues with other families.  He was an active partner in parenting.  He was socially active. 

[84]         Mr. Rahemtulla also worked in physically demanding jobs prior to the Accident.  He was able to secure such employment as an apprentice elevator mechanic following the Accident and performed it satisfactorily. 

[85]         Following the Accident, he suffered various difficulties as I have identified above.  However, they have resolved except for residual pain in his back.  He is not incapable of working in his chosen field and performs the work well.  Also, he is capable of doing house duties and activities such as attending the gym regularly…

[90]         In my view, a fair award is $115,000.  The cases relied upon by the plaintiff describes circumstances that are on the whole more severe than the plaintiff. 

bc injury law, L4 nerve root injury, L4-5 disc herniation, Mr. Justice Masuhara, Rahemtulla v. Sutton