$45,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Aggravation of Pre-Existing Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for the aggravation of pre-existing injuries.
In yesterday’s case (Pichugina v. Matula) the Plaintiff was involved in a T-bone type collision in 2010.  The Defendant admitted fault.  The Plaintiff had pre-existing symptoms in her neck, shoulder and back.  The collision aggravated these and her increased symptoms continued to the time of trial and were expected to linger on for several more years.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $45,000 Mr. Justice Cohen provided the following reasons:
[56]         On the totality of the evidence before me, I find that, as a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained aggravation to her already symptomatic neck, right shoulder, and low back and sustained aggravation to her pre-existing headaches.  In my opinion, there is no evidence to support a conclusion that the accident caused the minimal winging of the plaintiff’s right scapula.  Although the plaintiff returned to work full-time by the end of two months following the accident, and experienced much improvement in her condition by the spring of 2011, she cannot take advantage of a flexible work schedule, and, while she remains physically active, some activities are no longer comfortable for her.
[57]         According to Dr. Vorobeychik, the plaintiff’s symptoms have improved, but she still experiences migraine headaches and problems with her right shoulder, neck, and back when she is active or upon exertion.  The overall medical evidence, and that of the plaintiff, is that there has been gradual improvement in her condition post-accident, and she appears to be handling her headaches better.  According to Dr. Robinson, the plaintiff will probably continue to have gradual improvement over the next three to five years, but she remains at risk for persisting neck and right shoulder pain, which would act as an aggravator to her migraine predisposition.
[58]         Upon my consideration of the whole of the evidence, the parties’ submissions, and the authorities relied upon by them, I find that a fair and reasonable award to the plaintiff for general damages is $45,000.

aggravation of pre-existing injuries, bc injury law, Mr. Justice Cohen, Pichugina v. Matula

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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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