$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic Moderate Soft Tissue Injury

Adding to this site’s soft tissue injury damage archives, reasons for judgement were released earlier this year by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing damages for chronic moderate soft tissue injuries imposed on a pre-existing condition.
In the recent case (Graydon v. Harris) the 65 year old plaintiff was injured when his vehicle was struck by a large industrial garbage truck.  The Defendant was found fully at fault for the collision.  The Plaintiff suffered from pre-existing neck pain and headaches due to a degenerating spine.  The Collision resulted in soft tissue injuries which aggravated these issues.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Mr. Justice Weatherill provided the following reasons:
 
[67]         Based upon the evidence before me, I find that the plaintiff is a very stoic and hardworking man who has suffered a moderate soft tissue injury to his neck, lower back and shoulders as a result of the October 25, 2007 accident.  I also find that, at the time of the October 25, 2007 accident, the plaintiff was suffering from pre-existing neck pain, headaches and a degenerative condition of the cervical spine.  That is why Dr. Koelink was continuing to prescribe Tylenol 3 for him.  The soft tissue injuries suffered during the October 25, 2007 accident exacerbated his pre-existing condition.
[68]         Despite some inconsistencies in his evidence, I find that the plaintiff’s injuries have had and will have a lasting effect on his work life and, to a lesser degree, on his home and recreational life.  He continues to be able to work but not without pain and discomfort.  He continues to have headaches which flare up when he is welding. 
[69]         He is able to travel both for vacation and work without adverse effects with the exception of occasional numbness in his left leg after sitting for prolonged periods of time.  However, as Dr. Craig testified, that discomfort can be eased by changing position.
[70]         The plaintiff was suffering from pain, headaches and a degenerative condition of the cervical spine well before the October 25, 2007 accident.  In my view, there is at least a 25% chance that the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition would have interfered with his work and other activities had the October 25, 2007 accident not occurred.
[71]         After considering all of the plaintiff’s circumstances, the principles set out in Stapley and the cases provided by counsel, and after applying a 25% contingency in respect of the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition, I find that an award of $60,000 for non-pecuniary damages is appropriate.

bc injury law, Graydon v. Harris, Mr. Justice Weatherill, pre-existing conditions, pre-existing degenerative changes, pre-existing degenerative conditions

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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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