$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Lingering Soft Tissue Injuries and Recovered Head Injury

Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing damages for lingering soft tissue injuries and a recovered mild traumatic brain injury.
In yesterday’s case (Hardychuk v. Johnstone) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2006 collision.  Fault was admitted focusing the trial on damages.  The Plaintiff alleged that she suffered a permanent brain injury which resulted in significant incapacity seeking damages well over 2 million dollars.  While the Court rejected much of this claim Madam Justice Dickson was satisfied that the Plaintiff suffered lingering soft tissue injuries and a recovered traumatic brain injury in the crash.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 the Court provided the following reasons:
[162]     I have found that Ms. Hardychuk suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck, shoulders and back in the accident.  After a two-year process of gradual recovery, these injuries left her with residual symptoms of back discomfort, occasional flaring pain and periodic headaches.  Ms. Hardychuk also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a mild traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident.  The symptoms of her post-traumatic stress disorder are well encapsulated, resolving and non-debilitating.  The mild traumatic brain injury caused Ms. Hardychuk to suffer cognitive deficits for several months but those symptoms have now fully resolved.
[163]     As a result of her ongoing soft tissue injury symptoms Ms. Hardychuk experiences pain, frustration, and fatigue, but not a mood disorder or cognitive deficits.  Her vocational, home and recreational activities have been somewhat modified, but she has not been rendered sedentary or unemployable.  As discussed below, her decision to leave her cabinetmaking job in 2010 is not causally related to the accident, nor is her state of depression.  The prognosis for further improvement in her ongoing accident-related symptoms is good, but she may never recover fully.
[164]     Before the accident, Ms. Hardychuk was an extraordinarily athletic and physically-oriented young woman.  Vigorous, enthusiastic, unimpeded physical activity in her work and recreational pursuits was, for her, a major pleasure in life.  For this reason the compromise to her physical state and activities caused by her ongoing symptoms, while not highly debilitating, represents an unusually significant loss for which she is entitled to be fully compensated.  That being said, her loss is not nearly of the nature or magnitude of those addressed in the cases cited by her counsel.  It is, however, somewhat greater than those addressed in the cases cited by counsel for the defence.
[165]     All things considered, I conclude that an award of $60,000 in non-pecuniary damages is appropriate in the circumstances of this case.

bc injury law, Hardychuk v. Johnsotone, Madam Justice Dickson

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ERIK
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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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