$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic Back Injury

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for lingering injuries caused by two vehicle collisions.
In the recent case (Ali v. Rai) the Plaintiff was involved in two collisions in 2011.  He was found faultless for both.  The collisions caused a lingering back injury which remained symptomatic at the tie of trial and the symptoms were expected.  The Court found both collisions caused the injury and it was indivisible.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Madam Justice Duncan provided the following reasons:

[134]     On the whole of the evidence, I find the plaintiff suffered back and neck injuries as a result of the two accidents at issue before me along with headaches and sleep issues. I cannot find the injuries divisible as between the two accidents. The plaintiff was not fully recovered from his injuries after the First Accident when the Second Accident occurred. This is reflected in Dr. O’Connor’s opinion that the First Accident aggravated the plaintiff’s underlying condition, he was improving by the time of the Second Accident, and that accident did not cause additional injuries, simply a re-aggravation.

[135]     I find the plaintiff’s neck pain had substantially cleared up by the summer of 2011. The aggravation in 2012 which caused the pain to manifest in the right side instead of the left is unexplained and I cannot find it was as a result of the accidents. The plaintiff continues to suffer from back pain to this day. I find it limits his work and recreational activities. I will have more to say about it under the individual heads of damages…

[137]     The plaintiff is now 50 years of age. He has a chronic back injury and suffered from a neck injury for some months after the accidents in addition to headaches and disturbed sleep. The back injury continues to affects his social life. He does not do as much volunteer work as he once did. He has to sit in a chair to pray rather than join his contemporaries and use prayer mats. He cannot sit through a movie or drive long distances. He cannot referee soccer at the high level he once did and he no longer plays recreational soccer due to the impact of the accidents. His back injury has affected his mood and his wife feels it has affected their social and intimate life. The plaintiff does not contribute to work within the home as he once did, nor does he feel able to perform yard work or work that arises from the tenanted basement. Overall, the plaintiff’s back injury has permanently altered all aspects of his life…

[140]     As noted above, while I found the plaintiff’s neck condition had improved by the summer of 2011 and there was no evidence as to why it was aggravated in 2012 and transferred to the opposite side, his back injury continues to affect him. He was a formerly active, engaged and giving member of the community whose quality of life and self worth has been affected by his injury. Balancing all of the factors, I find a fair and reasonable award for non-pecuniary damages is $60,000.

Ali v. Rai, bc injury law, Madam Justice Duncan

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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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