$65,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Lingering but Non Disabling Soft Tissue Injury
In the latest addition to this site’s soft tissue injury assessment database, reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, assessing damages for a lingering but not disabling neck and upper back soft tissue injury.
In today’s case (Dhaliwal v. Randhawa) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collision that the Defendant was found wholly responsible for. The Plaintiff suffered an upper back and neck soft tissue injury that, while somewhat improved, continued to cause persistent symptoms to the time of trial. Despite the long lasting lingering symptoms the injuries were not expected to be disabling. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $65,000 Mr. Justice Butler provided the following reasons:
 When I examine all of the evidence, I reach the following conclusions about the nature and extent of Mr. Dhaliwal’s injuries and symptoms. He suffered a soft tissue injury to his upper back and the base of his neck. He may have suffered a minor soft tissue injury to his lower back but this was resolved within six weeks of the accident. The upper back, shoulder and neck symptoms persisted for more than two years. However, by September 2013, the symptoms were significantly less serious. While the symptoms have persisted up to the present time, they do not inhibit his ability to work or carry on with activities of daily life…
 When I apply the considerations to the facts I have found, I conclude that a fair award in all of the circumstances of this case is $65,000. In arriving at that assessment, it is particularly significant that Mr. Dhaliwal is young and will suffer continuing, but manageable and non-disabling discomfort in his neck, shoulders and upper back. In other words, his discomfort may continue for a long time. At the same time, the more severe neck, shoulder and upper back pain was of limited duration. Further, any lower back pain after 2011 was not related to the accident. In addition, outside the 6 to 12 months following the accident, he has not experienced a significant impairment in his lifestyle and daily activities…
 Of the cases the parties cite, Jiwani is the most similar to Mr. Dhaliwal’s circumstances. There the court found that the plaintiff suffered from back pain which had persisted for four-and-a-half years and was likely to continue. At para. 46, Sigurdson J. set out his conclusions which are similar in important respects to those which I have arrived at here:
… While I am persuaded that the plaintiff still has lower back pain, I am not satisfied that he is as seriously injured as he contends. The plaintiff’s soft tissue injury to his lower back has persisted but I find that in due course any back pain will improve and if it persists will be of a type that causes modest discomfort and requires him to change positions and not sit for too long.
 In a similar vein, I have concluded that Mr. Dhaliwal still suffers upper back pain but I have not accepted that the pain is as serious as he contends or that the low back pain was caused by the accident. As in Jiwani, Mr. Dhaliwal continues to suffer pain which is of “a type that causes modest discomfort”. He will continue to be able to take part in all of his recreational, home and work activities. He will need to have occasional manipulations or massages to assist with management of his symptoms.