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$50,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Shoulder Tendinopathy

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a shoulder injury caused by a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Rogers v. Situ) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 rear end collision the Defendant admitted fault for.  The Plaintiff sustained an onset of symptoms related to shoulder tendinopathy as a result of the collision.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $50,000 Mr. Justice Butler provided the following reasons:
[21]         I find that the accident did trigger the onset of his symptoms associated with the tendinopathy. There is no basis on which I could conclude that it would have become symptomatic without the accident. As a result, I conclude that the accident caused the injury and that there is no basis to reduce the award on the basis of the prior shoulder injury.

[39]         Dr. Ezekiel summarizes the course of the injury as follows:

…The accident resulted in the onset of pain in the patient’s left shoulder, which was subsequently found to be due to tendinopathy of the supraspinatus muscle. Mr. Rogers was treated initially with anti-inflammatories and physiotherapy but eventually underwent a surgical procedure to decompress the tendon. At the present time, Mr. Rogers has improved considerably but still finds he is unable to do some activities that are more physically demanding.

[40]         In summary, I find that the plaintiff suffered an injury to his left shoulder which has caused pain and has impacted his ability to carry on some of his recreational and daily activities. He will continue to suffer some pain and restriction in his activities. However, the impact of the shoulder injury is much less than the plaintiff contends. He sought little in the way of medical attention for the condition until the end of 2012. I conclude he was more concerned with his other medical difficulties; both the pre-existing chronic pain and the ruptured tendon and pulmonary embolism. His activities were impacted initially and will continue to be impacted by the shoulder injury but not to the extent he alleges.

[45]         I agree that the plaintiff’s pre-accident status is relevant. He was suffering from chronic pain which restricted his activities. His evidence regarding the level of his activities prior to the accident was misleading. He made no mention of his other painful conditions. When I take those into account, along with the other unrelated medical conditions that have impacted his enjoyment of life since the accident, I conclude that a fair award for non-pecuniary damages is $50,000.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Butler, Rogers v. Situ, tendinopathy