$55,000 Non Pecuniary Damages for Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for Judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, (Donnelly v. Durham) awarding a Plaintiff just over $67,000 in total damages as a result of a BC Car Crash.
The Plaintiff’s collision occurred in 2005 and was a significant rear end impact that resulted in $10,000 of damage to her vehicle.  The issue of fault was admitted by ICBC’s lawyer leaving the court to deal with the issue of quantum of damages.
The Court found that the 52 year old plaintiff was “healthy and active with no history of musculoskeletal injuries” before the crash.  Mr. Justice Cole found that the Plaintiff suffered various injuries as a result of the crash which continued to limit her by the time of trial.    The Court accepted the evidence of Dr. Apel, a specialist in physical medicine.  Mr. Justice Cole summarized her evidence as follows:

[23] Dr. Apel, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, in a report dated February 8, 2008, diagnosed the plaintiff with mechanical lower back pain, pain in the buttocks, mechanical pain of the thoracic back, pain in the back of the thigh and in the area of the inside of the knee.

[24] In regards to the plaintiff not recalling hitting her knee in the accident, Dr. Apel explained that the knee is connected to the hip and buttock by way of the IT band and the tension in the plaintiff’s hip and lower back could cause malalignment of the thigh which can then cause pain to the inside of the right knee.

[25] Dr. Apel was of the view that the plaintiff’s injuries and symptoms are due to the collision and considering the negative prognostic factors, her age, chronicity of symptoms, and lack of improvement to date, that the prognosis for complete symptom resolution is guarded.

In valuing the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) at $55,000 Mr. Justice Cole stated as follows:

[33] I am satisfied that the plaintiff was a credible witness, that she had no pre-existing injuries that were ongoing at the time of the motor vehicle accident. I also accept her evidence with respect to her current symptoms, and more particularly with respect to her right knee and I am satisfied that her right knee was injured in the motor vehicle accident and therefore, but for the defendant’s negligence, her injuries would not have occurred.

[34] As a result of the motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, right hip and right knee with radiating pain into her foot. She has also suffered from persistent painful headaches. Her symptoms, besides the radiating pain, have plateaued and her prognosis for any further recovery is guarded.

[35] I am satisfied that the plaintiff is a stoic individual who has done her best to work through her pain and that due to the length of time that she has had difficulties with her back and headaches, a long term prognosis is guarded…

[38] I find that the appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages is $55,000. This includes compensation for the plaintiff’s loss of future housekeeping capacity, which I found to be significant. Entertaining, cooking and keeping a clean house were some of the plaintiff’s priorities and activities that she derived a great deal of pleasure from.

chronic soft tissue injuries, Donnelly v. Durham, Dr. Apel, icbc injury claims, Mr. Justice Cole, non-pecuniary damages, Soft Tissue Knee Injury

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

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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