$135,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages for Chronic, Partly Disabling Soft Tissue Injuries
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries caused in a motor vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Slater v. Gorden) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 rear-end collision. The Defendant accepted fault. The crash caused various soft tissue injuries which turned into a chronic problem. The Plaintiff’s injuries disabled her from her general duties as a police officer and limited her to administrative work. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $135,000 Madam Justice Forth provided the following reasons:
 As stated earlier, Ms. Slater suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck, left shoulder, lower back and left hip area. She continues to suffer from daily pain and stiffness primarily in her low back and left hip area.
 Ms. Slater presented as someone who likes to be in control, and it appears that the ongoing symptoms and their lack of resolution have been particularly difficult for her to adjust to. She testified as to the impact that the accident has had on her life, in that she feels she has lost everything that she worked “super hard” to achieve: her career, her personal life, and her physical well-being.
 With respect to her career, she has lost the ability to perform the type of police work that provided her the greatest enjoyment, that is, general duty police work out on the road. The accident has caused a significant change to Ms. Slater’s ability to undertake general police duties. She has not been medically cleared to work, and the medical opinion supports that Ms. Slater currently cannot return to general police duty. Further, it appears unlikely that she will be able to do so in the future. She has been able to remain an RCMP officer but on administrative duties only.
 She is concerned that she will not have the same opportunity for advancement. She does not find her job in the Serious Crime Unit as enjoyable as her previous role, and she finds it more depressing and mentally draining as she has to deal with serious files for extended periods. Her current role mainly involves computer work in the office, which she finds far less stimulating than the general duty work.
 Ms. Slater has become more withdrawn from her work colleagues, family and friends; her relationship with her common-law husband has ended; and she has not been able to participate in her children’s activities to the same extent. Her sleep is affected and she frequently wakes up at night.
 I have reviewed the various cases provided, and in assessing the particular circumstances of Ms. Slater, I am of the view that the appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages is $135,000.