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$140,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic SUNCT Headaches

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a rare headache disorder following two vehicle collisions.

In today’s case (Erickson v. Saifi) the Plaintiff was injured in two collisions and sued for damages.  Liability was established.  The crashes resulted in chronic SUNCT headaches along with soft tissue injuries.  The prognosis for meaningful recovery was poor.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $140,000 Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:

[21]         Dr. van den Elzen testified that SUNCT headaches are very rare. They are characterized by short stabs of severe pain lasting between 5 to 200 seconds, always in the same specific place in the head, associated with the eye, and producing tears at the time of the headache. This is contrasted with migraine headaches, which are long-lasting and can be anywhere on the head…

[55]         I find that Ms. Erickson will permanently suffer from ongoing low back pain, neck pain, and SUNCT and migraine headaches resulting from the 2013 and 2014 accidents. In addition, I find that Ms. Erickson will suffer permanent negative impacts on mood and sleep resulting from these unresolved physical injuries…

[64]         Ms. Erickson was 49 at the time of the 2013 accident. Her injuries are very serious and have had a devastating impact on her life. As a result of the accidents, she suffers from chronic migraines and daily pain in her low back and neck, and suffers from ongoing debilitating pain from her frequent SUNCT headaches. Her injuries have resulted in a significant mental injury, changing her personality and relationships with friends and family. She can no longer do many of the things which brought her pleasure in the past. She is unlikely to work again. I find that an award of $140,000 is appropriate for non-pecuniary damages.

bc injury law, Erickson v. Saifi, madam justice baker, SUNCT Headaches