$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages For Soft Tissue Injuries Interfering With Infant Care

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for collision related injuries which interfered with a Plaintiff’s ability to breastfeed her infant.
In this week’s case (Mezo v. Malcolm) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2010 rear end collision.  She was three months pregnant at the time.   She suffered a variety of soft tissue injuries which not only made her pregnancy more difficult but also interfered with her ability to care for her newborn with the Court noting that the Plaintiff ” could not comfortably lift her baby or hold her to breast feed. Her neck hurt from bending down over the baby and her headaches returned.”
The plaintiff remained symptomatic at the time of trial and her symptoms were expected to continue into the future.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Madam Justice Russell provided the following reasons:
[133]     The plaintiff was a young, fit woman at the time of the Accident.
[134]     The plaintiff’s pregnancy at the time of the Accident added to the fear she felt and impacted on her ability to achieve any pain relief. I accept her evidence that she chose to endure the pain rather than risk damage from medication to her unborn child.
[135]     After the baby’s birth, her neck, back and arm pain interfered with her ability to care for her baby. She lost the opportunity to breastfeed her baby after a short period of time. For a conscientious contemporary mother, this was a serious loss.
[136]     Her ability to lift the baby was compromised due to her back and neck pain. One of the joys of motherhood is to hold the infant close. Losing this opportunity is another serious loss. Having her mother enjoy this pleasure no doubt was helpful to the baby’s wellbeing, but it does not replace the disappointment suffered by the plaintiff.
[137]     The athletic lifestyle enjoyed by the plaintiff, Florin, and the plaintiff’s mother is now beyond the ability of the plaintiff due to her injuries. It is all well and good for Dr. Bishop to say that it is likely her pain will increase with more activity but that does not mean re-injury, but the continuing pain does and will interfere with her activities. Not every accident victim is able to ignore pain to the extent Dr. Bishop seems to suggest is desirable.
[138]     I agree with Dr. Adrian that she will continue to suffer some degree of disability for the foreseeable future….
145]     Taking into account the circumstances of this case, I award the plaintiff the amount of $60,000 for non-pecuniary damages.

bc injury law, breastfeeding, Madam Justice Russell, Mezo v. Malcolm

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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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