$120,000 Non Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic Myofacial Pain Syndrome

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for soft tissue injuries which developed into a chronic myofascial pain syndrome.
In today’s case (Kirkham v. Richardson) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2010 collision.  She was 26 years old at the time and was pursuing a PhD and competed as a professional triathlete.  She sustained soft tissue injuries which impacted her education and training.  Her symptoms lingered to the time of trial and were expected to continue.  The injuries were complicated by a subsequent bike collision although the Court was able to divide the injuries from the separate incidents. In assessing the collision related injuries at $120,000 Madam Justice Warren provided the following reasons:
[182]     In summary, and having taken into account all the evidence, I make the following findings:
·       Ms. Kirkham suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck, shoulders and upper back as a result of the car accident.
·       Those injuries have resulted in myofascial pain syndrome, cervical facet arthropathy, and chronic pain syndrome, all of which continue to affect Ms. Kirkham.
·       Ms. Kirkham suffered a concussion and abrasions in the bike crash which are divisible injuries for which the defendant is not liable.
·       Ms. Kirkham did not exacerbate or aggravate her soft tissue injuries in the bike crash and the bike crash did not contribute to Ms. Kirkham’s myofascial pain syndrome, cervical facet arthropathy, or chronic pain syndrome.
·       Ms. Kirkham’s soft tissue injuries and the concussion she suffered in the bike crash both resulted in deconditioning that, in turn, caused Ms. Kirkham’s left hip girdle pain, which is an indivisible injury.
·       Ms. Kirkham took a leave of absence that delayed the completion of her PhD studies by a year. The leave was required for Ms. Kirkham to focus on rehabilitation of the injuries caused by the car accident. The concussion did not contribute to Ms. Kirkham’s leave of absence from her PhD studies.
·       As a result of the concussion, Ms. Kirkham did not compete in any triathlons during the summer of 2011. The concussion and the soft tissue injuries both contributed to her decision not to compete in any triathlons over the rest of 2011.

[195]     Having regard to the case law cited and the Stapley factors, I assess Ms. Kirkham’s non-pecuniary damages at $130,000, but reduced by $10,000 to reflect the possibility that the deconditioning associated with the concussion would have caused her hip pain in any event.
 

bc injury law, chronic pain syndrome, Kirkham v. Richardson, Madam Justice Warren, myofacial pain syndrome

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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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