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$50,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Jaw Injury

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a chronic jaw injury sustained in a collision.

In today’s case (Zamora v. Lapointe) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2014 rear end collision.  Liability was admitted by the Defendant.  The crash resulted in various soft tissue injuries along with a temporomandibular joint injury.  His back, neck and jaw symptoms continued to the time of trial and were not expected to fully recover.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $50,000 Madam Justice Duncan provided the following reasons:

[53]         The plaintiff bears the burden of proving that he suffered damage on a balance of probabilities. I am satisfied his evidence is sufficiently reliable to meet the burden of proof. As a result, I find that he has ongoing discomfort in his neck and back, which was caused by the MVA. I am not satisfied his neck and back pain cleared up within 9 to 12 months of the accident and that what he now experiences is solely attributable to his underlying condition, as the defendants argue. I am satisfied his jaw pain is solely attributable to the accident and the defendants conceded as much….

[59]         The plaintiff is in his late fifties. Prior to the accident, he was a moderately active individual. The accident has caused him to give up activities he previously enjoyed, such as soccer and tennis. He helps around the house less than before the accident. He does not sleep well and he has to make sure he does not take large bites of food or eat food that is difficult to chew. He finds it difficult to laugh with an open mouth like he used to. His wife confirmed that he does not joke like he used to. The injury to the plaintiff’s jaw is a constant reminder of the accident. Though the injuries to his neck and back do not cause him excruciating pain, I am satisfied they are something the plaintiff has learned to live with and that he continues to work around them to avoid aggravating his symptoms.

[60]         Of the cases that counsel cited, I find the most applicable is Pavlovic v. Shields, 2009 BCSC 345, and I award the plaintiff $50,000 for non-pecuniary damages.

jaw injury, Madam Justice Duncan, temporomandibular joint injury, TMJ, Zamora v. Lapointe