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$150,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Permanent Partly Disabling Neck and Shoulder Injuries

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for permanent partly disabling injuries sustained in a vehicle collision.

In today’s case the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 rear end collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff sustained a variety of injuries including chronic headaches, neck and shoulder injuries.  These had a poor prognosis and were expected to be permanently partly disabling in her occupation as a kinesiologist.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $150,000 Madam Justice Winteringham provided the following reasons:

[143]     In summary, I am satisfied that the plaintiff has proven on a balance of probabilities that she suffered the following injuries:

a)              Right-sided neck pain and headaches;

b)              Soft tissue injuries to the right cervical facets with right rotational and extension injury to the neck and secondary post-traumatic dystonia in the right-sided cervical muscles and shoulder girdle muscles;

c)               Winging of the right scapula;

d)              Compromise of her glenohumeral function because of increased stress in the rotator cuff; and

e)              Low back injury, since resolved.

[144]     I am also satisfied that the Plaintiff was not suffering from a pre-existing condition at the time of the accident nor did an intervening act cause the scapular winging. Finally, I am not satisfied that the defendant has met the burden establishing the Plaintiff failed to mitigate her damages…

[151]     The Plaintiff was 30 years old at the time of the accident. I have found that her prognosis for a full recovery is guarded, although further treatment (injections and/or pain management through a pain clinic) may provide some improvement. The Plaintiff will be restricted in her day-to-day activities. The impact of her condition has been significant, resulting in reduced work hours, nominal participation in extracurricular activities and inability to attend to her home responsibilities. Importantly, her ability to care for her infant children has been impacted….

[156]     The plaintiff’s cases all included examples of chronic pain and shared similarities to those presented in the Plaintiff’s case.

[157]     Taking into account the authorities and my findings of fact, I am satisfied that $150,000 will properly compensate the Plaintiff for her pain and suffering and loss of past and future enjoyment of life, including the psychosocial features identified by Dr. Dhawan.

bc injury law, Madam Justice Winteringham