$115,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Disabling Mechanical Back Pain
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a disabling injury following a vehicle collision.
In the recent case (Carver v. Or) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collision which the Defendants were found liable for. The crash resulted in chronic and disabling mechanical back pain. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $115,000 Madam Justice Gray provided the following reasons:
 I would summarize the significant factors regarding Mr. Carver as follows:
a) Mr. Carver was 56 years old at the time of the Accident, and 62 years old at the time of the trial;
b) The Accident caused Mr. Carver to suffer injury to the tissues of his spinal column which has resulted in chronic disabling mechanical lower back pain;
c) Mr. Carver’s pain has disabled him from working in any capacity, has reduced his ability to care for himself, and has significantly reduced the quality of his life;
d) Mr. Carver is completely disabled from working and his walking is impaired;
e) Mr. Carver has suffered emotionally from the loss of his ability to work and care for himself and from chronic pain;
f) Mr. Carver’s life has been impaired by his loss of function and the presence of pain;
g) Mr. Carver’s injuries have impaired his ability to spend time with his daughters in activities like camping and fishing and watching them play sports, and diminished his pleasure in life because of the loss of such activities and other activities like gardening;
h) Mr. Carver’s ability to walk, sit, stand, and twist have been reduced by the injuries he suffered in the Accident;
i) Mr. Carver’s factors relating to loss of lifestyle are described above, but fortunately have not made it impossible for him to continue to live by himself; and
j) Mr. Carver has been stoic. He tried for over a year to return to full-time work, and engaged extensively in physiotherapy, exercise therapy, and pool therapy.
 If the Accident had not occurred, it is most likely that Mr. Carver would have simply suffered periodic waxing and waning of his lower back pain and radiation into his legs, without progression and without loss of the ability to walk, sit, and stand comfortably or the loss of the ability to work. There was a small risk that his pre-Accident condition might have worsened, but it would not likely have affected his function or resulted in significant pain until he was over 70 years old.
 I have taken into account the fact that Mr. Carver suffered pneumonia, with a two month hospitalization in February through April 2015, which was not a result of the Accident.
 If Mr. Carver had not suffered back pain prior to the Accident, an appropriate award would have been in the range of $130,000. Considering that there was a risk his pre-Accident condition might have worsened, a reduction of about 10% is appropriate. Mr. Carver is entitled to an award of $115,000 for his non-pecuniary damages resulting from the Accident.