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$130,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Depression and Somatic Symptom Disorder

Adding to this site’s archives of psychiatric injury assessments, reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic depression and somatic symptom disorder.

In today’s case (Broomfield v. Lof) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2014 rear end collision.  The impact was “significant” and the Defendant admitted fault.

The crash resulted in a variety of injuries the most serious of which were chronic depression and somatic symptom disorder which resulted in a reduction of the plaintiff’s quality of life and working capacity.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $130,000 Madam Justice Young provided the following reasons:

[77]         It is clear on the evidence of all the physicians that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries and that she now suffers ongoing depression and chronic somatic symptom disorder. The effects of the accident on the plaintiff’s enjoyment of life are dramatic. At the time of trial, five years after the accident, she is only 70% improved at most.

[78]         The plaintiff has already tried the antidepressants and two were not tolerated by her. It is possible that increasing the dosage of the Wellbutrin may have a positive effect. It is also possible that the cognitive behavioural therapy will have a positive effect. I will consider these possibilities as positive contingencies. I am also aware that people suffering from major depression can have relapses. I conclude that it is more likely than not that the plaintiff’s depression will continue to improve with therapy, but that she may have episodic relapses.

[79]         I also conclude that the plaintiff should follow through with Dr. Helper and Dr. Neufeld’s recommendation that she attend the pain clinic. The timing of her attendance should be left to the experts overseeing the pain clinic. It could be that she should undertake the physiotherapy to align her posture recommended by Dr. Helper and the adjustment in her antidepressant medication first.

[80]         It is my view that she should attend the CHANGEpain clinic and that the cost of this therapy should be borne by the defendants…

[91]         I assess general damages for this plaintiff at $130,000 which factors in some inflation since Kam and Scelsa were decided.

bc injury law, Broomfield v. Lof, Chronic Depression, Madam Justice Young, Somatic symptom disorder