$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages for Chronic Neck/Back Pain and Headaches
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court awarding a Plaintiff just over $190,000 in damages as a result of 3 motor vehicle collisions.
The Plaintiff was 23 years old at the time of trial. He was injured in 3 collisions, the first of which occured when he was only 10 years old.
The Plaintiff was not at fault for any of the collisions and the week long trial focussed on the issue of damages (that is, the value of the Plaintiff’s ICBC claims).
The medical evidence presented established that the plaintiff suffered from neck pain, upper back pain and headaches and that these symptoms have lasted for more than 10 years. The court accepted that the Plaintiff’s injuries still have room for ‘considerable improvement with continued focussed and supervised exercise.’ However the court also found that the synptoms would probably never completely resolve.
Damages were awarded as follows:
Non-pecuniary damages $ 75,000
Loss of Earning Capacity $100,000
Cost of Future Care $ 12,650
Special Damages $ 3,570
Past Income Loss $ 698
ICBC claims involving soft tissue injuries and headaches are often based laregely on subjective findings. That is, often times in these cases one cannot point to an X-ray, MRI or other diagnosistic study that will prove or dis-prove the injury. Thus the credibility of the claimiant is a vital factor in the success/failure of many of these types of cases.
Here, Mr. Justice Smith found that the Plaintiff was credible and that the injuries were genuine. Specifically he noted that:
 The opinions of both Dr. McGraw and Dr. Watt are based primarily on the plaintiff’s description of his subjective symptoms. There have been few objective physical findings. However, I found the plaintiff to be a forthright, intelligent, highly motivated young man and I accept his evidence that he has suffered ongoing, although not disabling, pain for 13 years as a result of the first accident, with increased pain and discomfort as a result of the second accident that lasted three years. It is to the plaintiff’s credit that he has been willing to accept that pain and carry on with most activities.