$45,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For 4 Year Soft Tissue Injury With Good Prognosis

Adding to this site’s archived soft tissue injury caselaw assessments, reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a chronic soft tissue injury with an ultimately good prognosis.
In the recent case (Chingcuangco v. Herback) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 collision for which she was not at fault.  She suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and back which continued to pose problems at the time of trial.  Despite their long duration the prognosis for full symptom recovery was good with the Court finding they would resolve within a further 5 years.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $45,000 Mr. Justice Weatherill provided the following reasons:
[197]     The plaintiff felt some immediate pain in her chest and right toe after the accident.  She had no loss of consciousness.  X-rays taken at the hospital shortly after the accident were negative.  As the days and weeks progressed, she developed debilitating pain in her neck and lower back, with resulting headaches.  She had bruising on her chest and abdomen.  She was unable to go to work at CRA for two weeks.
[198]     The bruises and the pain she suffered in her chest and right toe pain resolved completely within six weeks.  Although she thought her lower back pain had resolved by the end of 2009, she has since experienced severe flare-ups several times since then.
[199]     The plaintiff has tried various modalities of treatment.  They have provided temporary but not permanent relief.  The plaintiff continues to experience persistent pain and muscle spasms.  She will continue to have episodic flare-ups of pain in her lower back and cervical spine with associated headaches.  I am satisfied that such episodes have been and will continue to be the result of the injuries she suffered during the September 15, 2008 accident…
[201]     I find that the plaintiff suffered a Grade II whiplash injury as a result of the September 15, 2008 accident.  She also suffered contusion injuries to her chest and lower abdomen, chest wall strain and a chipped tooth.  Over four years have passed since the accident and she still suffers from intermittent neck and lower back pain and tension headaches as a result of the accident.
[202]     I find that it is reasonable to expect the plaintiff will be fully recovered within five years.  In part, I make this finding on the basis that the plaintiff is an achiever.  Dr. Mergens gave evidence that she might still suffer some muscle tension headaches for an indefinite period.  He did say these symptoms may dissipate with time and conditioning.  However, there is no reasonable prospect of permanent impact upon her capabilities.
[203]     After considering all of the evidence, the submissions of counsel and the case authorities, I find that an appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages in this case is $45,000.

bc injury law, Chingcuangco v. Herback, Grade 2 Whiplash Associated Disorders, Mr. Justice Weatherill

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

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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