$70,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment for Chronic Soft Tissue Injury; ICBC Expert Rejected

Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for motor vehicle related injuries.
In yesterday’s case (Kardum v. Asadi-Moghadam) the Plaintiff was involved in 2 collisions.  He was not at fault for either.   The Plaintiff’s physicians provided evidence that he suffered from chronic soft tissue injuries as a result of these crashes.  ICBC’s expert (Dr. Grypma) provided evidence minimizing the Plaintiff’s injuries.  Mr. Justice Armstrong preferred the Plaintiff’s physicians and concluded that the collisions were responsible for the Plaintiff’s ongoing pain.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $70,000 the Court made the following findings:
[112] I conclude that Mr. Kardum suffered a chronic soft tissue injury to his neck, shoulder, and upper back region caused in the accidents of 2007 and 2009. In addition to those injuries Mr. Kardum suffers ongoing chronic headaches and disrupted sleep secondary to his neck pain. His prognosis is guarded and it is unlikely that he will become symptom free. The intensity of these symptoms will vary over time and he will likely achieve some improvement over the next one to two years. The measure of that improvement is unknown but may be a function of his efforts in pursuing the recommendations of Dr. Caillier…
[161] I conclude that Mr. Kardum suffers from chronic pain involving his left posterior lateral neck, his posterior shoulder, and upper back region. He continually has headaches and disrupted sleep secondary to the pain involving his neck. He has some prospect of improvement in symptoms but will likely have a measure of pain or discomfort for the balance of his life…

[173] I have concluded that the nature of Mr. Kardum’s injuries coupled with the duration of symptoms that are likely to be permanent will diminish his lifestyle and affect his social relationships. There may be improvement but there will be a permanent reduction in his enjoyment of a lifestyle that was, before the accidents, unbounded by any physical limitations. He has been resilient to the point of maintaining an active physical exercise routine but will continue to have the nagging discomfort and inconvenience of the symptoms he now complains about. He is a young man and will have these symptoms over many years; his will be a different life because of the accident.

[174] I conclude that Mr. Kardum is entitled to non-pecuniary damages of $70,000.

This decision is also worth reviewing for the Court’s comments on the various expert witnesses that testified.  In rejecting ICBC’s independent medical examiner Mr. Justice Armstrong provided the following reasons:

[111] Dr. Grypma is an orthopaedic surgeon. He is not a specialist in rehabilitation medicine. His opportunity to observe and examine Mr. Kardum was restricted to a single 1.5 hour examination on January 31, 2011. He confirmed that Mr. Kardum did not demonstrate any nonorganic symptoms. He was not aware of the amount of damage to the defendant’s vehicle in the first accident. He did not make the same observations of Mr. Kardum’s physical symptoms noted by Drs. Caillier and Schukett. Where there are conflicts between his opinions and the evidence of Drs. Caillier and Schukett, I accept the opinions of the latter two doctors.

bc injury law, Dr. Grypma, Kardum v. Asadi-Moghodam, Mr. Justice Armstrong

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ERIK
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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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