$130,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for L4/5 Disc Herniation Resulting in Chronic Pain

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for an L4-5 disc herniation.
In this week’s case (Bains v. Brar) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  The Defendant admitted fault for the collision.  The crash caused a disc herniation which required a bilateral disectomy.  The Plaintiff was left with chronic pain accompanied with depressive symptoms.   In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $130,000 Mr. Justice Cohen provided the following reasons:
[41]         Before the accident the plaintiff was a happy, healthy, socially and physically active person who enjoyed his work as a machinist and looked forward to one day establishing his own machine shop.  Following the accident, he was a very different person.
[42]         There is a consensus among all of the medical experts that the plaintiff has suffered serious debilitating injuries as a result of the accident and that the chronic pain from his physical injuries has led to him suffering from a major depressive disorder.
[43]         In his September 18, 2012 report, Dr. Sahjpaul stated that the plaintiff will have ongoing symptoms on a permanent basis and that he did not anticipate any resolution or improvement.  He opined that the plaintiff would not return to his pre-accident occupation as a machinist, or be able to work in any vocation that required prolonged sitting, prolonged use of a computer or one that required heavy lifting.
[44]         Dr. L. Caillier, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation expert, who saw the plaintiff on November 4, 2010, and in follow-up on January 24, April 8, June 17, August 18, and October 20, 2011, opined in her report dated December 1, 2011, that the plaintiff has chronic pain that is soft tissue in nature, involving the neck, upper back, and lower back regions, as well as his posterior shoulder girdle regions.  She also opined that he has mechanical lower back pain.  She reported, “Unless there is a significant improvement in his emotional and psychological wellbeing as well as his sleep and improved management of his physical symptoms, I do not see Mr. Bains working in any occupation, let alone his prior occupation as a machinist.”  She also concluded in her prognosis, “It is my opinion that given the chronicity of his physical symptoms, coupled with his ongoing psychological and emotional symptoms and poor sleep, the likelihood of Mr. Bains achieving a pain-free state is very poor.  It is my opinion that he is likely to have ongoing pain now and into the future and beyond that of the next 12 months.”
[45]         Dr. Lu, whose opinion I accept, stated in his May 31, 2012 report that the plaintiff’s major depressive disorder, though in partial remission, has long term impact on his future risk of relapse and that even with complete relief of pain and return to his previous level of function, the plaintiff has a prolonged episode of major depression.  Dr. Lu opined that the plaintiff now has at least a 30% chance of a relapse over the next 5 years with similar functional impairment strictly from a mental health standpoint…
[77]         When I consider the nature and extent of the injuries suffered by the plaintiffs in the cited authorities, when compared to those suffered by the plaintiff in the case at bar, I find that a reasonable and fair award to the plaintiff for non-pecuniary damages is $130,000.

Bains v. Brar, bc injury law, disectomy, l4/5 injury, Mr. Justice Cohen

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ERIK
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Personal Injury Lawyer

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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