$120,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Soft Tissue and Post Concussive Injury

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, assessing damages and fault following a motor vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Hill v. Murray) the Plaintiff was involved in “a very bad car accident” in 2009.  The Defendant was found fully at fault.  The Plaintiff’s injuries included chronic soft tissue injury and post concussive symptoms.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $120,000 Mr. Justice Macaulay provided the following reasons:
196]     On balance, I prefer the evidence of the plaintiff’s doctors where it conflicts materially with that of the defendants’ doctors. I find that Ms. Hill received the following injuries as a result of the accident:
          1.       Soft tissue injuries to the left neck and shoulder, including AC joint, with cervicogenic headaches and some numbness and tingling down her left arm, now plateaued but not symptom free, particularly if she attempts to do too much;
          2.       Chronic intermittent pain;
          3.       Migraines (aural), under control;
          4.       Migraines unresolved and triggered differently than pre-accident migraines associated with pre-menstrual period;
          5.       PTSD (resolved by the time of trial);
          6.       Nightmares, transitory and resolved;
          7.       MTBI or post-concussion syndrome resulting in ongoing fatigue, memory, concentration, and balance problems;
          8.       Possible overlap of vestibular injury (trauma to utricle) causing or contributing to balance issues; and
          9.       Adjustment disorder, largely in remission.
I do not accept the sufficiency of the evidence respecting temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction.
[197]     It is now more than four years post-accident. Ms. Hill is unlikely to see further improvement. Instead, ongoing therapies will aim at pain management, assisting with balance issues and any further adaptions required respecting the effects of the MTBI or post-concussion syndrome. As she ages, the balance issues will likely elevate her risk of falling.
[198]     Ms. Hill’s injuries have significantly impacted her life and will continue to do so. She has lost the ability to participate in many of the sport and recreational activities that she enjoyed before the accident. Her physical interactions with the children are more limited than before. In social interactions, Ms. Hill is now easily overwhelmed or cannot recall the conversation thread. Her personality now appears different and less attractive to her family, friends and associates.
[199]     While Ms. Hill has been able to return to work at Butchart Gardens, she no longer takes the same degree of pleasure in her work and requires employer accommodations in order to do her job. It is unlikely that she will be able to fulfill the specific career aspirations that she had in mind before the accident and accordingly, she must adjust to that loss as well…
[212]     I reiterate that no two cases are truly alike when assessing non-pecuniary damages. I assess non-pecuniary damages at $120,000.
 

bc injury law, Hill v. Murray, Mr. Justice Macaulay

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ERIK
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When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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