$50,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages For Chronic Shoulder Soft Tissue Injury

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry assessing damages for a chronic shoulder soft tissue injury.
In last week’s case (Araki v. Guitard) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 collision.  She was 17 at the time.  The vehicle in which she was riding as a passenger was T-Boned by the Defendant’s vehicle.  Fault was admitted.
The Plaintiff suffered various soft tissue injuries.  Many of these went on to recover, unfortunately her shoulder was injured and continued to pose problems at the time of trial.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $50,000 Mr. Justice Williams made the following findings:

[7] Based on all of the evidence, I am satisfied that it has been proven that the plaintiff sustained physical injuries in the collision. Those included injuries to the right side of her neck, the right side of her upper and mid back, and to her right shoulder. As well, she experienced occasional headaches.

[8] The headache condition resolved within a short time, a matter of months at the most.

[9] The back and neck discomfort have substantially resolved although it is not exactly clear when. I am satisfied that state had been attained within three years of the accident. The discomfort from those particular areas was not especially significant; it would be fairly described as modest. If there are occasional discomforts in those areas now, I find they are associated to the shoulder pain.

[10] The plaintiff’s right shoulder has continued to be painful. The pain and discomfort has significantly lessened since the early stages following the accident, but remains an issue nevertheless. The pain is not constant but intermittent. It is affected by her activities; for example, when she is reaching overhead or when her shoulder is subject to load in a certain way, discomfort will result. Also, on occasion she experiences discomfort as a consequence of taking certain postures; that is, it is a matter of how she is sitting or lying.

[11] The matter of the shoulder injury has been extensively investigated. The conclusion which emerges is that there is no detectable damage to her shoulder structure. The pain is muscular or musculoligamentous in nature. There is no reason to believe that surgical intervention would be warranted. Given its persistence, it is unknown whether it can be expected to resolve. Certainly the prognosis for a complete recovery is guarded: the shoulder pain may not resolve…

[32] In all the circumstances, I am influenced by the fact that the effect of this injury does cause the plaintiff discomfort of a discernible sort and that occurs not infrequently, both at work and while doing other things.

[33] I am of the view that an appropriate award under this head is $50,000.

Araki v. Guitard, bc injury law, Mr. Justice Williams

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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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