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$125,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Wrist Injury With “Significant Derangement”

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a complex wrist injury with chronic limitations.

In today’s case (Sarginson v. Nordquist) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 collision.  The Defendant was liable.  The crash resulted in a complicated wrist injury which, despite undergoing several surgeries, did not fully recover and was left with ‘significant derangement’.  Additionally there were some soft tissue injuries and some related psychological injury.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $125,000 Madam Justice Winteringham provided the following reasons:

[53]         I have considered Dr. Sangha’s evidence regarding Ms. Sarginson’s wrist injury and subsequent surgeries. I am satisfied (and the defendant does not disagree), that the evidence establishes on a balance of probabilities that Ms. Sarginson suffered a significant injury to her right wrist. For reasons the defendant agrees are connected to the accident, the injury required four surgeries with recovery time needed after each surgery. Despite Dr. Sangha’s opinion from February 2018 that Ms. Sarginson’s improvement will be “essentially nil,” I agree with the defendant that there has been some improvement in mobility and dexterity and that there is some basis for optimism for perhaps further improvement. That said, I accept Dr. Sangha’s opinion that Ms. Sarginson has a “significant derangement at the right hand and wrist impacting basic tasks.”

[54]         I am satisfied that although there has been improvement to her wrist, the evidence establishes, on a balance of probabilities, some ongoing physical limitations that will, more likely than not, be lifelong…

[62]         In summary, I have found the accident caused Ms. Sarginson’s wrist injury and the surgical complications (and prolonged recovery) that followed. I am also satisfied that the totality of the evidence presented established that the accident caused a mild injury to her neck and back and a mild psychological injury…

[68]         In this case, Ms. Sarginson’s primary complaints are not purely subjective. There is no doubt the most profound impact on her enjoyment of life is the wrist injury and the ongoing limitations related to her current condition primarily arising out of her wrist injury. Ms. Sarginson was in the early part of her retirement when the accident occurred. She was an active individual, who was clearly enjoying, as characterized by counsel, her “golden years”. I have found that her prognosis for a full recovery is unlikely, although further treatment may provide some improvement. Ms. Sarginson has managed her condition in a manner that helps her carry on with her day to day activities. The impact of this injury has been significant and it has very much altered her once active existence. Because she is retired, her limitations are mostly evinced by her inability to attend to responsibilities around the home…

[73]         Taking into account the authorities and findings of fact made, and adjusting Burtwell for inflation, I am satisfied that $125,000 will properly compensate Ms. Sarginson for her pain and suffering and loss of past and future enjoyment of life, including the psychological features identified by Dr. Sangha. As explained more fully below, I have attempted as best as I am able, to ensure that the non-pecuniary award reflects the losses Ms. Sarginson described in her testimony, including the loss of her enjoyment of the California property and the loss she feels regarding her time spent with her grandson.

Madam Justice Winteringham, Sarginson v. Nordquist