$60,000 Pain and Suffering for Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries
Reasons for judgment were released today awarding a Plaintiff just over $73,000 in total damages as a result of injuries and loss sustained in a 2005 BC vehicle collision.
The Plaintiff’s vehicle was rear-ended. The collision was significant with enough force to brake the seat assembly in her vehicle. She was 59 years old at the time of impact. The Plaintiff suffered injuries to her neck, shoulder, wrists, knee and elbow. Most of her injuries healed in short order. The Plaintiff’s neck and shoulder injuries did not and she testified that those areas were painful everyday some 3 years after the collision.
The Plaintiff’s injuries and their effect are summarized well at paragraph 14 of the judgment which I reproduce below:
 The main complaints of the plaintiff are that she has suffered significant, ongoing, chronic and permanent left neck and shoulder pain, and continuing anxiety, all caused by the motor vehicle accident. She has kept working throughout, for the most part. She has continued to work long hours, and at the same time has, on the advice of her doctor, tried a number of different kinds of therapy. She has gone for two different kinds of physiotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and has sought the services of a kinesiologist, a certified personal trainer. She also went once for counselling to a psychologist with regard to her anxiety. She applies ice and heat to alleviate her pain, and uses medications, with apparently limited results.
The Plaintiff called her husband to give ‘before and after’ evidence along with her treating chiropractor and family physician. The defence called no evidence which is somewhat unusual in a contested injury claim. In most ICBC injury claims that proceed to trial the court hears from both Plaintiff and Defence expert medical witnesses who provide opinion evidence as to the extent of injury and its relationship to the trauma in question. It appears here that the defence was content to simply rely on their cross examination of the Plaintiff’s physicians.
The court found that the Plaintiff and her husband were ‘extremely credible’. The court accepted that the Plaintiff’s ongoing complaints were caused by the collision. In justifying an award of $60,000 for pain and suffering Madam Justice Morrison made the following comments:
 In my view, there has been a significant loss of enjoyment of life for this plaintiff. She suffers the pain and discomfort that she has described while working, and particularly while sitting at a computer, which involves much of her day. She will continue to work. Perhaps even more significantly, she has and will continue to suffer the loss of enjoyment of life that has occurred in her life beyond work. There has been a significant and negative change in the lifestyle of Mrs. Larlee, ranging from her day-to-day household activities, her passion for gardening, her lifelong involvement with the piano and the accordion, and an active lifestyle which involved vacations and other activities. Her pain is chronic and ongoing.
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