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$31,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Orbital Floor Fracture

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Prince George Registry, assessing damages for an orbital floor fracture at $31,000.
In today’s case (Bunna (Guardian ad litem of) v. Bunah) the Plaintiff, who was 5 at the time of the collision, was involved in a 2012 crash.  He suffered a fracture to his orbital floor along with some lingering anxiety following the crash.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $31,000 Madam Justice Watchuk provided the following reasons:

[13]         The most serious injury sustained in the accident was a displaced fracture of the orbital floor on the right side of his face.  It also healed.  The orbital floor is adjacent to the maxillary sinus and it is not known if there was also a fracture of the maxillary sinus.  As surgery was not required, there was no further investigation of the fracture and possible fracture which would be adjacent to each other in this young boy’s facial area. 

[14]         The extensive swelling was described by a doctor on February 20, 2012 to be “severe swelling in the right facial region with severe bruising, almost unable to open his right eye”.  The bruising lasted a maximum of six months.  There has been no scarring.

[15]         In summary, during the night in the hospital in Mackenzie, Julien had pain and cried quite a bit as he did on the way home to Quesnel.  He had some pain for a few weeks, and for few months he had occasional pain if his face was touched.  He had some anxiety for about six months following the accident.  The long-term effect has been upset and stress and crying from the worry when his mother is late.  He worries that she has been in a car accident if she is late.  This has occurred ongoingly, and a couple of times in 2015, most recently in November 2015…

[18]         With regard to the nature of the injury, the most serious is the fracture of the orbital floor on the right side of the face.  It was accompanied by extensive bruising and swelling.  It resolved without surgery within six months.

[19]         With regard to loss or impairment of life, emotional suffering and severity of duration of pain, due to Julien’s young age at the time, just turned five years old, the evidence is obtained primarily from his aunt’s observations in her frequent visits with him.  From the descriptions, Julien is a stoic and resilient child and recovered quickly, also within six months.  The only lingering effect is that he becomes fearful and upset when his mother is late in arriving to pick him up because he is worried that there has been another accident.  This fear has occurred repeatedly.  In 2015 it happened twice when his mother was late, most recently in November 2015…

[23]         In this case particular weight is given to the plaintiff’s age, his stoicism in the circumstances of the accident, and the emotional suffering of such a young plaintiff.  Non-pecuniary damages are assessed at $31,000.

bc injury law, Bunnah (Guardian ad litem of) v. Bunnah, Madam Justice Watchuk, orbital fracture