$140,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for "Very Serious" Femur Fracture

Adding to this site’s archived caselaw dealing with non-pecuniary damages for femur injuries, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, dealing with such a claim.
In this week’s case (Han v. Chahal) the Plaintiff pedestrian was injuries when she was struck by the Defendant’s vehicle while walking in a marked cross walk.  The Defendant was found fully responsible for the crash.  The Plaintiff suffered a variety of injuries the most serious of which was a fractured femur.  Although the Court found some issues with the Plaintiff’s reliability as a witness the Court did accept the injury left her with a degree of chronic pain and limited function.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $140,000 Mr. Justice Verhoeven provided the following reasons:
[154]     In summary, the plaintiff was physically healthy prior to the accident.  She suffered a very serious injury to her femur and a moderate injury to her wrist.  These injuries have healed uneventfully from a physical point of view, after two surgeries to her leg.  No specific ongoing organic cause for her hip pain has been established.  Although she likely overstates her degree of disability, she has developed chronic pain, in relation to several areas of her body.  She has depression and anxiety.
[155]     Her major complaint of pain is with respect to her left hip.  When she saw Dr. Chin February 3, 2010, about 14 months after the accident, she had 75% to 80% improvement in her orthopedic injuries, but since then she has development several new pain complaints and, overall, her condition has not improved.  Her chronic pain and depression have resulted in altered mood, lack of energy, fatigue, irritability, and some cognitive difficulties.
[156]     The accident caused a drastic change to the plaintiff’s pre-accident health, lifestyle, and enjoyment of life.  I accept that to date, more than four years post-accident, the plaintiff continues to suffer significantly from the effects of the accident.
[157]     However, the assessment of her loss is complicated by the fact that her evidence is somewhat unreliable.  Further, treatment options have not yet been explored, and the prognosis is uncertain.  There is a substantial risk of pain, suffering, and disability persisting indefinitely.  The preliminary prognosis for complete recovery is negative.  The potential extent of recovery is unclear…
[173]     Having regard to all of the non-exhaustive list of factors commonly considered in relation to assessment of damages for non-pecuniary loss, as set out in Stapley, in the circumstances of this case and bearing in mind the authorities to which I have referred, in my view the appropriate award for non-pecuniary loss is $140,000.

bc injury law, femur injury, Han v. Chahal, Mr. Justice Verhoeven

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ERIK
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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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