$140,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for "Partial Spinal Cord Injury" and Knee Injury
In my ongoing effort to create a searchable UMP Claims database, I summarize a 2009 UMP Decision dealing with an assessment of damages for serious injuries, including a partial spinal cord injury leading to temporary paralysis, following a head on crash.
In the 2009 decision (EH v. ICBC) the 10 year old Claimant sustained serious injuries when she was involved in a head-on collision on the Malahat Highway. The Claimant’s injuries were severe and her right leg was completely paralyzed following the collision. She fortunately went on to make an “excellent” recovery, however was expected to suffer from long term problems as a result of her injuries.
The at-fault driver was an “underinsured” motorist and the parties agreed to have the quantum of the claim assessed via UMP arbitration. Arbitrator Yule assessed the Claimant’s non-pecuniary damages at $140,000 and in doing so provided the following reasons:
76. At age 10 the Claimant sustained serious, multiple injuries in the Accident. The three most serious injuries were:
a. A Brown-Sequard partial cervical spinal cord injury
b. Bony cervical spine injuries including compression fractures at C-7, T-1 amd T-2, facet subluxation at C-7 – T-1 and avulsion of the C-7 spinous process; and
c. an anterior tibial spine avulsion injury in her right knee (anterior cruciate ligament avulsion and grade 2 medial collateral ligament strain)
77. At the outset, her right leg was completely paralyzed. She:
a. spent 50 days in three different hospitals
b. experienced neuropathic pain (excruciating pain to mere touch) for 20 days;
c. required her neck immobilized in sandbags when in bed;
d. at all other times wore a Minerva brace for 60 days;
e. wore an extreme right knee brace for 75 days; and
f. wore a plastic boot on her right foot for foot drop for approximately 5 weeks.
As of August, 2006, approximately five months post-accident she:
a. had received 70 physiotherapy treatments; and
b. 40 occupational therapy treatments.
The Accident and the acute treatment phase was a wholly frightening experience for a young child. For par of her hospitalization she was in isolation.
78. The Claimant sustained a number of permanent disabilities as follows:
a. right leg limp
b. weakness, fatigue and reduced endurance in the right leg;
c. loss of sensitivity of the left leg exposing her to the risk of burns or frostbite
87. …having in mind the Claimant’s initial complete right leg paraplegia, the extreme neuropathic pain which lasted for 20 days, the significant permanent restrictions resulting from weakness, fatigue and decreased endurance of the right leg, the impending surgical repair of right knee ligament damage and the early onset of symptomatic degenerative spinal arthritis I assess damages at $140,000.