$20,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Minor Yet Lingering Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for minor, chronic soft tissue injuries.
In today’s case (Rosso v. Balubal) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2011 sideswipe collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff suffered from a variety of health complaints following the crash and attributed these to the collision although the Court found that the majority of the Plaintiff’s ailments were unrelated to the incident.  The Court did find that the Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries which disabled him from work for 9 months and further had some modest lingering limitations.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $20,000 Madam Justice Griffin provided the following reasons:

[91]         The overall impression I formed of the plaintiff’s evidence, after considering it in the context of the whole of the evidence and particularly the medical evidence, was that he tended to think very negatively and to have an exaggerated view of his physical limitations and symptoms following the accident. 

[92]         I therefore unfortunately find that Mr. Rosso’s perception of his abilities, or rather disabilities, is unreliable. 

[93]         I agree with the defendants that there is no credible or reliable evidence to support a conclusion that the accident caused the broader range of symptoms reported by Mr. Rosso.

[94]         Despite this, I do accept the plaintiff’s evidence that he has continued to experience some neck and back pain since the accident.  There is abundant medical evidence which supports the conclusion that Mr. Rosso suffered some soft tissue injuries as a result of the accident and I so find.  I accept the conclusion of the majority of the medical experts that if the pain has not gone away by now, it is likely he will continue to experience some ongoing pain in the future. ..

[99]         I am persuaded on the totality of the evidence that the motor vehicle accident caused the plaintiff to suffer ongoing symptoms of mild neck and back pain, which are symptoms likely to continue into the future to some extent but which can be managed with regular exercise.  The evidence also supports the conclusion that immediately after the accident for a short period the plaintiff did have some associated minor headaches and anxiety in relation to driving which was caused by the accident. ..

158]     Here I find that the injuries are minor and have had a minor impact on Mr. Rosso’s life, especially in comparison to other circumstances in his life, such as the death of a close friend and his inability to become a commercially successful rock musician.  I conclude that a fair and reasonable assessment of non-pecuniary damages is $20,000. 

bc injury law, Madam Justice Griffin, Rosso v. Balubal

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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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