$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages Assessment For Scapulo-Thoracic Junction Soft Tissue Injury


Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Prince George Registry, assessing damages for a chronic and partially disabling soft tissue injury.
In today’s case (Knight v. Belton) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 rear-end collision.  The rear motorist admitted fault for the crash.  The Plaintiff suffered various injuries the most serious of which was a Grade 2 strain at her scapulo-thoracic junction.  Injuries at this level are notoriously difficult to treat.  While the Court heard competing evidence about whether the injury would recover Madam Justice Gray accepted that it would not and that the Plaintiff would likely experience chronic pain on a permanent basis as a result.
The Court awarded the Plaintiff damages at  just over $480,000 including $75,000 for the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages.  In arriving at this figure Madam Justice Gray provided the following reasons:

[65]         Non-pecuniary damages are damages to recognize losses that have not required an outlay of money or have not involved losing payments. The purpose is to provide solace to Ms. Knight for such things as pain, suffering, disability, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life. One purpose of such damages is to substitute other amenities for those Ms. Knight has lost, not to compensate her for loss of something with a monetary value. The award addresses losses both up to the trial date and which she will suffer in the future…

[67]         Ms. Knight was and is an engaging, enthusiastic, hard-working, and practical woman. She loves dental hygiene. She will not be able to practice it full time, and may have to give up clinical practice altogether.

[68]         Ms. Knight suffered several months of headaches, vertigo, and neck pain. She suffered significant right shoulder pain for about a year. She has on-going chronic mid-back pain and periodic right shoulder pain.

[69]         Ms. Knight is chronically in pain, and as a result, is not as energetic as she was before the accident. She is no longer able to enjoy rough physical play with her children. She is no longer able to enjoy outdoor activities that she previously enjoyed, like running, hiking, boating, skiing, and bicycling. She was unable to contribute as much as she wanted to building the family home. The accident has significantly diminished the quality of her life.

[70]         Ms. Knight referred to these cases: Cleeve v. Gregerson, 2007 BCSC 1112; Gray v. Fraser Health Authority, 2009 BCSC 269; Poirier v. Aubrey, 2010 BCCA 226, 4 B.C.L.R. (5th) 173; and Paller v. Paller , 2004 BCSC 997.

[71]         The defence referred to these cases: Rorison v. Dornan, [1993] B.C.J. No. 752 (S.C.); Letourneau v. Min, 2001 BCSC 1519; Amberiadis v. Groves, 2005 BCSC 1270; Sharpe v. Tidey, 2009 BCSC 948; Ragneborg v. Giesbrecht, 2009 BCSC 110; Sylte v. Rodriguez, 2010 BCSC 207; Henri v. Seo, 2009 BCSC 76; Brock v. King, 2009 BCSC 1179; Anderson v. Merritt (City), 2006 BCSC 90; and Larlee v. Shier, 2008 BCSC 1610.

[72]         I also considered Cathro v. Davis, 2008 BCSC 1645.

[73]         No two cases are alike. Ms. Knight is entitled to damages for pain and suffering in the amount of $75,000.

bc injury law, chronic soft tissue injury, Knight v. Bolton, Madam Justice Gray, Scapulo-thoracic junction

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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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