$115,000 nonpecuniary assessment for fractured femur and chronic pain disorder
Reasons for judgement released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for various injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.
In the recent case (Taylor v. Depew) the plaintiff was riding a motorbike which was involved in a head-on collision with a dune buggy on a narrow road near Campbell River BC. Fault was disputed with the court ultimately finding that both motorists were to blame. Liability was split with the plaintiff shouldering 30% of the fault and the defendant 70%.
The plaintiff suffered various injuries the most serious of which was a fractured femur. This resulted in ligamentous laxity in his knee. In addition to this the plaintiff suffered disc herniation’s in his low back and ultimately went on to develop chronic pain syndrome.
In assessing nonpecuniary damages at hundred and $115,000 Madam Justice Fenlon provided the following reasons for judgement:
57] After the accident, Mr. Taylor’s life changed dramatically. In the days immediately following the accident, he underwent surgery to install a rod and pins to stabilize his femur; he remained in hospital for one week. Two further surgeries on his left leg were required: in October 2001 to remove the proximal locking screw; and in March 2003 to remove the remaining hardware in his leg. The recovery from all three surgeries was long and painful, lasting a number of weeks.
 Mr. Taylor required assistance with day-to-day tasks such as cooking, cleaning and bathing during these recovery periods. After the first surgery he had the help of a homecare nurse, and then his friends Sarah Zimmer and Jamie Gonzalez assisted him. The two women helped him again after the second and third surgeries. The surgeries have left Mr. Taylor with marked permanent scarring on his left hip and knee.
 Before the accident, Mr. Taylor had enrolled in an environmental engineering degree program to commence in September 2001. He tried to carry on with his plan to return to school but the pain killers he was taking made it difficult for him to concentrate and his general physical condition and inability to drive made it hard to attend classes. Depression set in and ultimately Mr. Taylor abandoned the environmental engineering program.
 Mr. Taylor has had difficulty dealing with the changes to his life caused by the accident. For a few months he turned to street drugs and alcohol. He became depressed and uses anti-depressants like Effexor to help relieve the symptoms of depression.
 Although Mr. Taylor has seen some improvement in the state of his injuries over time, he still experiences pain on a daily basis. When he sits, stands, or walks for long periods he suffers from pain and numbness in his left leg…
 Awards of damages in other cases provide a guideline only. I must apply the factors listed in Stapley to Mr. Taylor’s particular case. I conclude that an award of $115,000 is an appropriate sum for non-pecuniary damages…