$50,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages Assessment for Chronic Myofascial Pain

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, dealing with non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) for chronic soft tissue injuries.
In today’s case (Thauli v. Gill) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 motor vehicle collision.  It was a ‘t-bone’ crash.  The Plaintiff was a passenger at the time and the issue of fault was admitted by ICBC on behalf of the offending motorist.  The Plaintiff suffered a variety of soft tissue injuries which resulted in a chronic myofascial pain syndrome.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $50,000 Mr. Justice Crawford provided the following reasons:

[35] Pain is doubtless one of the discussion footballs in medical science.  It is subjective.  Many of us have seen people receive devastating injuries, bear with them stoically and sometimes recover in very short time.  We see the professional footballer or hockey player do that on a regular basis, but many cannot.  Many are built differently and respond differently to different injuries.  Dr. Sidhu said that he expected Ms. Kalsi, given her lifestyle, to have largely recovered in six or eight weeks from the car accident.  And as I noted, Dr. Chu said in his evidence perhaps the neural pathways are somehow compromised in some people and continue to send messages of pain to the head, and in fact the soft tissues are already recovered.

[36] In any event, I found Ms. Kalsi an honest and straightforward young lady.  The evidence of the witnesses recorded in consistent fashion how busy, vivacious and outgoing she was prior to the accident, how there had been a continuing complaint of pain to her upper left back area, as vague as that might be, and that had continued to be of a consistent concern to her and to her doctors…

[38] I am satisfied the plaintiff was injured in the car accident in May of 2005.  The injuries to her knee, neck and left upper back are consistent with being thrown over the restraining seat belt and extending the soft tissues in her upper back and neck on the left side.  It is likely those injured areas of her body have recovered.  It is also likely her ongoing complaints of pain in turn caused the depression, but that was well treated in 2007.

[39] Medically the pain is chronic and the symptoms have been collated under the heading myofascial pain.  That is real to Ms. Kalsi.  It is, on her own word to her doctors, largely moderated in 2007 and in my view there is a fair chance it will continue to improve, if not wholly, at least be well within her control.

[40] In sum, then, I award general damages at $50,000.

bc injury law, Chronic Myofascial Pain, chronic pain syndrome, Mr. Justice Crawford, myofascial pain, Thauli v. Gill

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ERIK
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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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