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$230,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, assessing fault and damages as a result of a 2008 motor vehicle collision.
In this week’s case (Jarmson v. Jacobsen) the Plaintiff was riding a motorcycle with his daughter when a vehicle operated by the Defendant turned into his path of travel.  Although the Defendant denied fault the Court found his evidence “wholly unreliable” and found him fully responsible for the crash.  The collision resulted in multiple injuries to the Plaintiff including a shoulder injury, a knee injury and a severe traumatic brain injury.
Global damages of over $1 million were assessed including non-pecuniary damages of $230,000.  The consequences of the head trauma were expected to have significant effects on the Plaintiff’s long term functioning both vocationally and domestically.  The full discussion surrounding this assessment is too lengthy to reproduce here but the following key findings were made with respect to the severity of injury were made by Mr. Justice Meiklem:

[54] Dr. Miller’s DSM IV diagnostic formulation included personality disorder due to traumatic brain injury and an adjustment disorder with mixed features of anxiety and depressed mood. Based on neurological indices of severity, Mr. Jarmson suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.

[55] A further indication of the severity of the injury to Mr. Jarmson’s brain is gleaned from the evidence of Dr. Gary Stimac, a diagnostic neuroradiologist, who testified and reviewed with the court many of the scanned CT and MRI images of Mr. Jarmson’s brain. These consisted of CT images taken at Kelowna General Hospital at intervals of about 9 hours, 40 hours, and 5½ days after the collision, and a complex set of MRI images obtained April 5, 2011. Dr. Stimac’s written report of August 15, 2011(p. 5-6) notes that:

The radiology examinations, in conjunction with emergency evaluations, establish that Mr. Jarmson sustained severe injury to the head. The immediate and subsequent CT scans show the left frontal impact and the coup-contrecoup contusions. The later MRI shows diffuse brain atrophy, evidence of white matter scarring, encephalomalacia, and hemosiderin deposits from the hemorrhagic contusions.

[56] Dr. Stimac explained that the atrophy he referred to is due to the absorption/removal of necrotic tissue…

[88] I find that the fair, reasonable, and appropriate award to compensate Mr. Jarmson for his non-pecuniary losses is $230,000.

bc injury law, Jarmson v. Jacobsen, Mr. Justice Meiklem

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