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$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Rotator Cuff Injury

Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Kelowna Registry, assessing damages for a rotator cuff injury sustained in a motor vehicle collision.
In the recent decision (Antonishak v. Piebenga) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  Fault was admitted focusing the trial on damages.  The Plaintiff sustained a right shoulder rotator cuff tendinopathy resulting in shoulder instability.

The Plaintiff symptoms lingered to the time of trial and had a “guarded prognosis” for further recovery.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Mr. Justice Wong provided the following reasons:
[3] As a result of the accident, Mr. Antonishak sustained the following injuries:  soft tissue strain to neck and arm, right shoulder rotator cuff tendinopathy, anterior and inferior instability of the right glenohumeral joint and right ulnar neuropathy. Mr. Antonishak was then 27 years of age. He is now 32 years. These injuries have affected his employment duties and also interfered with his active recreational pursuits and lifestyle. The plaintiff complains that since the accident he has continued to suffer from right shoulder and arm pain together with fatigue. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was employed as a waiter at the Hotel Eldorado Restaurant in Kelowna. As a result of his injuries, he claimed he missed seven days from work and, on other occasions, ended his shifts early due to increased pain and fatigue from his injuries. He said there were also a number of employment tasks expected of him that he was unable to perform due to his injuries. The plaintiff also said his injuries continued to interfere with his employment and with his various extracurricular activities. These ongoing functional impairments and limitations cause him concern of what his future holds as it relates to his ability to pursue various careers and occupations…

[7] At trial, Mr. Antonishak projected as an energetic, ambitious, and engaging person. He is certainly not a malingerer nor a layabout. He has plans for a future in the restaurant/hospitality industry as an entrepreneurial owner. When not working, he also likes to engage in active recreational sport pursuits and extensive international travel. He has a natural curiosity about foreign cultures and environments. He enjoys his present occupation as a fine dining server, but encounters pain and fatigue if he overworks his right arm and shoulder. He has curtailed some, but not all of his active recreational activities for fear of aggravating his weakened right shoulder and arm.

[8] For the foreseeable future, Dr. Monteleone has suggested cautious monitoring of Mr. Antonishak’s condition with continued stretching and muscle strengthening program. If his present condition eventually becomes intolerable relative to his future career and lifestyle, then stabilizing shoulder surgery may need to be done. This would involve major surgery with potential six-month recovery time thereafter. In the meantime, the plaintiff lives with a weakened right-hand grip and chronic troubling pain and fatigue if he overtaxes himself in above-shoulder or extensive reaching or pulling activities.

[9] After four years of chronic troubling pain and fatigue with guarded prognosis of future improvement together with curtailed recreational activities, I fix this item of damage at $60,000.

Antonishak v. Piebenga, bc injury law, Mr. Justice Wong, rotator cuff injury