$27,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment for Largely Recovered Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for “mostly resolved” soft tissue injuries.
In last week’s case (Vela v. MacKenzie) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2009 rear-end collision.  Fault was admitted by the rear motorist.  The Plaintiff suffered various soft tissue injuries which, while not resolved, were largely recovered by the time of trial.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $27,000 Madam Justice Maisonville provided the following reasons:
[69] The Court must assess damages for injury to the plaintiff.  I find those injuries to be soft tissue injuries to the plaintiff’s neck, shoulder and trapezius area which were at their worst for the first 15 months.  At that time the pain changed to stiffness and by June 2011 was mostly resolved but was continuing sporadically. I find the headaches lasted six to eight months; the back of the hand injury had resolved after approximately three months…
[87] I find in the present case that Mr. Vela has met the burden of proof with respect to injuries he sustained to his neck, upper back and trapezius area, and those to his left hand as well as the headaches that he suffered initially. I find that, with some exceptions, the pain had largely resolved within 15 months, with continuing improvement to where the plaintiff felt he was functioning at 75 per cent to 80 per cent by June 2011. He has now only occasional flare-ups. I consequently find the injuries to be more severe than submitted by defence counsel but far less severe than submitted by the plaintiff.  I find the soft tissue injuries sustained by the plaintiff to be more akin to those sustained by a plaintiff in Hussainyar v. Miller, 2012 BCSC 405 where Allan J. awarded $27,000 in non-pecuniary damages where the injuries had largely resolved within one year but continued in part to trial, some 27 months after the accident.  (See also Robinson v. Anderson,2009 BCSC 1450 $25,000 no permanent or long-term injury or pain Hsu v. Williams, 2011 BCSC 1412 $30,000 award before deduction for failure to mitigate.)  An important principle is to be fair and reasonable to both parties (See Miller v. Lawlor, 2012 BCSC 387 para. 109 considering Andrews v. Grand v. Toy Alberta Ltd., [1978] 2 S.C.R. 229; Jackson v. Lai, 2007 BCSC 1023, para.134 and Kuskis). In all the circumstances, I award $27,000 in non-pecuniary damages.

bc injury law, Madam Justice Maisonville, Vela v. MacKenzie

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Personal Injury Lawyer

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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