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$30,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment for "Moderate" Soft Tissue Injuries

Adding to this site’s ICBC claims pain and suffering database, reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a moderate soft tissue injury.
In today’s case (Olianka v. Spagnol) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  Fault was admitted.   The evidence was not particularly contested and the trial proceeded summarily.  The Court found the Plaintiff suffered moderate soft tissue injuries that were temporarily disabling with symptoms that were expected to linger into the future.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) at $30,000 Mr. Justice Blair provided the following reasons:

[21] Mr. Olianka suffered what Dr. Neumann describes as a moderate soft tissue injury to the neck, a moderate soft tissue injury to the mid-back and a mild soft tissue injury to his lower back. I accept Mr. Olianka’s evidence with respect to his collision-related injuries and that these injuries precluded him from working for a four-month period. I also accept that Mr. Olianka continues to experience intermittent pain in his neck and upper back which is expected to last for some unknown period. Dr. Neumann opined that by January 14, 2011, Mr. Olianka had made a significant recovery from his injuries and concluded that his residual pain should gradually subside in intensity and frequency. He did not expect Mr. Olianka to suffer any permanent consequences from his collision-related injuries.

[22] Nevertheless, the optimism expressed by Dr. Neumann and reflected in Mr. Olianka’s increased activity level does not overshadow Mr. Olianka’s difficulties for the 27-month period between the collision and Dr. Neumann’s report dated January 14, 2011. In that period, Mr. Olianka, due to his injuries, was unable to work for four months and subsequently those injuries compromised his ability to fully perform his work as he had done prior to the collision. In addition, he was unable to enjoy the leisure activities in which he had participated prior to the collision. This 27-month recovery period must be considered when ascertaining the non-pecuniary damages award to which Mr. Olianka is entitled. I accept that he continues, to some lesser degree, to suffer intermittent pain from his collision-related injuries as described by both Mr. Olianka and Dr. Neumann…

[28] Based on the authorities and the unique evidence found in this case, I find that the appropriate award for Mr. Olianka’s non-pecuniary damages is $30,000, taking into account all contingencies, given the extent of the soft tissue injuries to his neck and back, the disability period of 27 months post-collision, as well as the lingering and ongoing aspect of his injuries, the limitations that the injuries imposed, not just on his ability to work, but also on his ability to partake in those physical activities which occupied his life prior to the collision and which he has only recently been able to resume albeit to a limited extent.

bc injury law, moderate soft tissue injuries, Mr. Justice Blair, Olianka v. Spagnol