$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for "Moderate, Substantially Resolved" Soft Tissue Injuries

Adding to this site’s case-law archives dealing with ICBC soft tissue injury cases, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for a moderate soft tissue injury.
In this week’s case (Aubin v. Ball) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2009 collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff suffered a moderate soft tissue injury that was “substantially recovered” by the time of trial.   She continue to have some symptoms, however, and these were expected to be “here to stay“.  Despite finding that the Plaintiff  “is likely exaggerating her present difficulties to some degree” the court concluded the Plaintiff had genuine ongoing symptoms.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 Mr. Justice Baird provided the following reasons:
[105]     I think it is clear, on all of the evidence, that the plaintiff suffered moderate soft tissue injuries in the September 2009 accident and that these negatively affected her life in a variety of ways for quite some time.
[106]     There is also little doubt that her injuries have substantially resolved, to the extent that her present difficulties may be succinctly stated to be a Grade II whiplash associated disorder to her cervical spine and upper back (right side), and a lumbosacral sprain injury involving the lower lumbar spine and right sacroiliac region, with muscular pain in her right buttock and right hip region.
[107]     In most important ways, I was impressed by the plaintiff as a witness. She struck me as an intelligent and articulate person who, for the most part, had followed the directions of her caregivers and medical advisers and made creditable efforts to get over her injuries and return to her former lifestyle…
[117]     With some reluctance I find that Ms. Aubin is likely exaggerating her present difficulties to some degree. On the basis of everything I have heard from her and others, I conclude that she is doing so unconsciously without any active intention to mislead.
[118]     However I have no reason to reject the proposition, seemingly concurred in by all the witnesses, expert or otherwise, that Ms. Aubin continues to suffer from back pain related to the accident, and that this condition, in the words of Dr. Njalsson may be “here to stay”…
[129]     In recognition of the fact that Ms. Aubin was not as active in approaching recovery as she could have been, but without penalizing her for not being as robust as some plaintiffs, a just, fair and reasonable award in this case is $75,000. The defendant must take his victim as he finds her, and in this case, the accident caused a young woman who was on track in pursuing her ambitions and goals to go off course and lose some very good years of her life. This is no trivial matter.

Aubin v. Ball, bc injury law, Mr. Justice Baird

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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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