$70,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Mandibular Fracture


Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) for a mandibular fracture.
In this week’s case (Besic v. Kerenyi) the Plaintiff alleged he was assaulted by the defendant.  After being ‘punched from behind’ the Plaintiff was briefly knocked unconscious.  He suffered a mandibular fracture which needed to be wired shut.  He also lost two teeth.   He went on to suffer permanent nerve damage to his trigeminal nerve which caused numbness and drooling.
In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $70,000 Madam Justice Russell provided the following reasons:

[13] There is no doubt that Mr. Besic’s life has been altered by this incident.  He had to undergo surgery to repair the fracture and his jaw was wired shut for over a month.  He was placed on a liquid-only diet and, consequently, experienced some short-term weight loss.

[14] The long-term consequences have been more severe.  Two of Mr. Besic’s left molars were knocked out.  He has not had the recommended dental repair performed so the gaps in his mouth are still there, eight years later.  He either has to undergo surgery, risking further nerve damage, or live without these two teeth for the remainder of his life.

[15] The mandibular fracture caused permanent damage to the trigeminal nerve. As a result, Mr. Besic experiences numbness in his chin, lips and jaw.  This causes him to drool while he eats and is a source of embarrassment.  He does not notice if food has dripped, or become stuck, on his face because he cannot feel it.  He finds himself constantly wiping his face in an attempt to ensure no food is lingering there.

[16] The nerve damage has caused a prickling pain in his face and jaw.  Both this and the numbness are unlikely to improve.  There is also a possibility that a future facial injury could cause the numbness to worsen.

[17] Since the incident, Mr. Besic finds that he has issues with his speech.  Occasionally, he will slur his words or mumble, particularly when he becomes tired or is out in the cold.  He believes that this is as a result of the numbness, although his neurologist, Dr. Frank Kemble, has questioned whether that is, in fact, the cause.

[18] The mumbling is also a source of social awkwardness, especially at his work at the North Fraser Pre-Trial Center in Surrey, where he is a correctional officer.

[19] Mr. Besic still experiences pain in his jaw joints and muscles, as well as neuropathic pain.  His jaw is often stiff, particularly in the morning.  His temporomandibular joint clicks and pops, especially when he eats.  This results in discomfort and headaches. Mr. Besic also suffers extreme ear pain when he flies…

[34] I find $70,000 to be an appropriate amount for Mr. Besic’s injuries.  While Mr. Besic does not suffer from a deformity of the jaw or dramatic weight loss, like the plaintiff in Pete, he does suffer from some similar injuries, such as numbness in the face and jaw, as well as jaw pain.  He also experiences the resulting social embarrassment these injuries cause.

bc injury law, Besic v. Kerenyi, jaw fracture, Madam Justice Russell, mandible injury, trigeminal nerve injury

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If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

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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