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$30,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Aggravation of Chronic Pain

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for the aggravation of a long standing chronic pain disorder.
In today’s case (Ben-Yosef v. Dasanjh) the Plaintiff was struck in 2011 by the Defendant’s vehicle while crossing a cross-walk.  The Plaintiff suffered from a pre-existing and longstanding chronic pain disorder.    The collision resulted in soft tissue injuries and aggravated the pre-existing condition.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $30,000 Mr. Justice Bowden provided the following reasons:

[52]        I am not prepared to attach much weight to the plaintiff’s description of the change in his condition following the 2011 accident without corroboration from someone other than Ms. Ben-Yosef and their son.

[53]        The evidence shows that the majority of the symptoms that the plaintiff attributes to injuries from the 2011 accident probably were present before that accident. The expert evidence is that the plaintiff was suffering from chronic pain syndrome before the 2011 accident. It appears that he was taking anti-inflammatory drugs before that accident as well as medication for hypertension and pain.

[54]        The 2011 accident was not significant. While the plaintiff was knocked down in a cross walk, he described the event to his family doctor as being “bumped”. He said that he got up, exchanged information with the defendant and then continued on his way to do some shopping before going home.

[55]        Nevertheless, I accept that the plaintiff suffered some soft tissue injuries to his lower back and left hip and that the 2011 accident caused some aggravation to his pre-existing chronic pain…

[60]        While I accept that the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition was somewhat aggravated by the 2011 accident, he had developed chronic pain syndrome before that accident presumably following his injuries in the 1998 accident. Some of his continuing symptoms also appear to be related to the degeneration which has occurred in his spine which is unrelated to the 2011 accident.

[61]        It is difficult to differentiate the impact of the 1998 accident and the 2011 accident on the plaintiff’s quality and enjoyment of life. It appears that the 1998 accident left him unable to work, caused him intermittent pain that ultimately became chronic and limited his activities. The 2011 accident aggravated his condition somewhat but the degree of aggravation cannot be determined with any certainty.

[62]        I have concluded that in the circumstances of this case and considering the factors in Athey, an award of $30,000 is appropriate.

bc injury law, Ben-Yosef v. Dasanjh, Mr. Justice Bowden