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$30,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Two Year Soft Tissue Injury

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for a soft tissue injury of two year’s duration.
In this week’s case (Visona v. Stewart) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2009 collision.  The Defendant admitted fault.  The Court accepted that the collision, despite being relatively minor, caused soft tissue injuries which lasted for up to two years.  The Plaintiff’s most serious concern was chronic tailbone pain although the Court rejected the submission that this was caused by the collision.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $30,000 for the soft tissue injuries Mr. Justice Jenkins provided the following reasons:
[32]         Based on the statements above and Ms. Visona’s evidence at trial, her suffering and the effects of the soft tissue injuries likely lasted no longer than two years from the date of the accident. In making this determination, I am not taking into account the “tailbone” injury which Ms. Visona claims was caused by the November 23, 2009 accident. The evidence supports a finding that Ms. Visona continued suffering from her tailbone injury long after the soft-tissue injuries appear to have healed. I am considering the tailbone injury separately because on the evidence of the nature and severity of the accident, all of the medical practitioners’ evidence and Ms. Visona’s evidence, I find it unlikely that her tailbone injury was caused by the accident.,,
[38]         As a result of the November 23, 2009 accident, Ms. Visona suffered soft-tissue injuries to her neck, back and left hip, and a bruise to the left side of her knee. Based on my finding above that Ms. Visona suffered from these injuries for a period of at most two years, the authorities quoted by the defence are more applicable in assessing damages for pain and suffering. In contrast, the submissions from counsel for Ms. Visona took into account ongoing low back pain almost four years after the accident, and emotional considerations such as the breakup of Ms. Visona’s marriage and difficulties in her relationship with her daughter, neither of which can be related to the November 23, 2009 accident.
[39]         Awards of damages for pain and suffering from other cases act as a guide but are not determinative as to appropriate compensation for the injuries. I agree that each case must be considered on its own merits, and consideration of an individual’s situation makes the assessment of damages a very subjective task. The decisions referred to which are of some assistance are Mr. Justice Verhoeven’s decision in Carter v. Zhan,2012 BCSC 595, and Madam Justice Maisonville’s decision in Vela v. MacKenzie, 2012 BCSC 438. In those cases, the learned judges awarded non-pecuniary damages of $35,000 and $27,000, respectively.
[40]         I find, in light of all of the evidence, that Ms. Visona is entitled to non-pecuniary damages of $30,000.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Jenkins, Visona v. Stewart