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$50,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Soft Tissue Injuries "Superimposed on Other Problems"

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries caused by a motor vehicle collision.
In last week’s case (Sharifi v. Chaklader) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 collision in Vancouver BC.  She was a passenger in a van travelling through an intersection when it was struck by a left hand turning driver.  The Defendant was found fully liable for the crash.  The Plaintiff had some pre-existing problems and the collision superimposed soft tissue injuries on these.  These remained symptomatic at the time of trial.  Despite some concerns with the Plaintiff’s evidence the Court assessed non-pecuniary damages at $50,000.  In doing so Mr. Justice Willcock provided the following reasons:

[99]Weighing the evidence as a whole, I find that Ms. Sharifi suffered a musculoligamentous soft tissue injury to her cervical spine, upper back and shoulders on July 10, 2008.  Those injuries were superimposed on a pre-existent left shoulder injury and on some pre-existent neck pain.  Additional pain and suffering following the motor vehicle accident did not cause, but must have contributed to, the level of her ongoing stress and anxiety, and contributed to her tendency to suffer from migraine headaches.  The injury sustained in the motor vehicle accident has continued to trouble her since; it has affected her capacity to enjoy life, and caused her to suffer an income loss.

[100]On a balance of probability I cannot find Ms. Sharifi suffered a concussion or an injury to her low back.  Nor am I satisfied on the evidence that she has established she has suffered or is likely to suffer from post-traumatic degenerative osteoarthritis as a result of the soft tissue injury sustained in the July 2008 accident…

[103]Damages must be assessed on the basis that the plaintiff has suffered a soft tissue injury superimposed on the other problems documented in the records: a history of some neck pain, a left recurrent shoulder injury that limited her ability to lift, occasional migraine type headaches, stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression-like symptoms (but not clinical depression).  Damages must be assessed on the basis some continuing recovery is probable.  The functional impact of the injury is overstated by Ms. Sharifi.  She is capable of most activities of daily living. I am not satisfied she has established that she is disabled from clerical employment…

[119]I assess non-pecuniary damages in this case at $50,000.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Willcock, Sharifi v. Chaklader, surveillance