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$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Moderately Severe Tinnitus

Tinnitus, a subjective perception of non-existant sound, is a consequence sometimes seen following a motor vehicle collision.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for such a condition.
In this week’s case (Yang v. Chan) the plaintiff was struck as a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk in 2007.  Fault was admitted for the crash.  The Plaintiff sufferd various soft tissue injuries but these largely settled down in the months following the crash.  What persisted was moderately severe tinnitus, a symptom that was expected to linger indefinatley.  The Court accepted this and assessed non-pecuniary damages at $60,000.  In arriving at this assessment Madam Justice Wedge provided the following reasons:
[62]         I accept the evidence of Dr. Longridge that Mr. Yang’s tinnitus was caused by the accident. According to Dr. Longridge, given the proximity of the onset of the condition to the accident, it is most unlikely that there is any other cause. Further, the tinnitus is moderately severe which, Dr. Longridge testified, is capable of significantly diminishing one’s enjoyment of life. It is a condition Mr. Yang will likely have to live with for the rest of his life.
[63]         Taking into account the pain and disruption suffered by Mr. Yang due to his soft tissue injuries in the first six months after the accident, together with the ongoing tinnitus condition which is unlikely to resolve and will continue to interfere with his enjoyment of life, I have concluded that an appropriate award of damages for non-pecuniary loss is $60,000.

bc injury law, Madam Justice Wedge, Tinn, Yang v. Chan