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$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for "Not Serious" Lingering Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for longstanding, but not disabling, soft tissue injuries.
In this week’s case (Samson v. Aubin) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2007 collision.  The Defendant admitted liability for the T-bone intersection crash.  The Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck, back, knee and ankle which were characterised as long-standing but “not serious” by his physician.   After an initial period of disability the injuries improved but plateaued without full resolution.  They were expected to flare with physical activities such as prolonged standing and heavier lifting.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Mr. Justice Gaul provided the following reasons:
[44] According to Mr. Samson he continues to suffer pain and discomfort in his right knee, right ankle and especially his lower back on account of the Accident. As a result, he has been forced to reduce his efforts at work and has had to retain and pay others to complete the renovation work on his home. He has also had to reduce his recreational activities, including those he engages in with his son…

[47] While I found Mr. Samson to be a poor historian of events, I do not find that he has inflated the magnitude of his injuries in an effort to obtain a greater award of non-pecuniary damages. The evidence of Mr. Samson’s father, Gerald, coupled with that of Mr. Gray, Mr. Manson and the medical evidence, satisfies me that the injuries Mr. Samson suffered as a result of the Accident and the consequential pain, discomfort and loss of enjoyment of life from those injuries, are more severe than those found in the cases cited by the defence.

[48] I find Mr. Samson will likely continue to have some pain and discomfort in his lower back, right knee and right ankle for the foreseeable future. However, I also find that Mr. Samson has not actively pursued his rehabilitation to the degree expected of him. Since the fall of 2007, Mr. Samson has not participated in any exercise program designed to address his injuries, notwithstanding the advice and recommendations he received from the various healthcare professionals who had treated him following his accident.

[49] In my view, having considered all of the evidence, a fair and reasonable award of general damages for Mr. Samson’s pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life is $60,000.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Gaul, Samson v. Aubin

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