$8,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages for "Not Substantial" Soft Tissue Injuries
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, (Gradek v. DhaimlerChrystler) awarding a Plaintiff just under $10,000 in total damages as a result of a 2006 BC Car Crash.
The collision occurred in an intersection as the Plaintiff was attempting to drive through. The Defendant made a left hand turn in front of the Plaintiff. Both Liability (Fault) and Quantum of Damages (Value of the case) where at issue. The Court found that the left hand turner was 100% responsible for the crash. Paragraphs 21-34 of the case are worth reviewing for a good discussion of the law concerning fault for intersection crashes.
Mr. Justice Savage found that the Plaintiff “exaggerated the impact of his injuries” and that he suffered nothing more than relatively minor soft tissue injuries. In assessing the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) at $8,000 the Court summarized the Plaintiff’s injuries as follows:
 Gradek’s evidence regarding the impact of the injury on him is at times contradictory and confusing. Gradek evidence contradicts that of his physician, Dr. Milne, who was called as a witness by Gradek, was qualified as an expert, filed an expert report and testified.
 Gradek description of the impact, however, accords with the somewhat unusual damage caused to the left front bumper of his vehicle. With respect to the impact of the accident on him, I accept the evidence of Dr. Milne where Gradek’s evidence conflicts with that of Dr. Milne. I find that Gradek has exaggerated the impact of his injuries.
 Dr. Milne testified that he found objective signs of injury on examination which he conducted on May 15, 2006. The accident occurred on May 13, 2006. Gradek was seen in Dr. Milne’s office but by another physician on May 14, 2006. Gradek was diagnosed with soft tissue injuries, namely, a tender Trapezii muscles and tender Latissimus dorsi muscle. He was prescribed Flexiril for ten days and Naprosyn for ten days. Gradek was prescribed physiotherapy. He was off work. On May 23rd, he was much better but lower back and neck pain persisted as did the objective signs of injury. Gradek was advised to continue to physiotherapy and to return to work on May 29, 2006.
 Gradek was seen again on May 30, 2006 he said he was 50 percent improved but unable to return to work. He was advised to return to work on June 5, 2006, which he did. Gradek was seen again on June 19, 2006 and July 3, 2006. He had continuing minor complaints that were not severe enough to warrant prescription medication.
 Gradek was next seen in December 2006 where he reported minor complaints for two days, but had been fine for the last four to five months. He was prescribed Naprosyn for five days. Gradek was not seen again until May 5, 2007 where he had a headache and neck pain for three days. Gradek reported that he had no pain between August 2006 and May 2007 other than for two days in December 2006 and three days in May 2007.
 Gradek was last seen by Dr. Milne June 15, 2009. There were no specific complaints although he was still experiencing occasional right side pain. This did not prevent him from engaging in vigorous exercise. I accept Dr. Milne’s summary as a fair summary of the injuries and consequences with one exception, as noted below. Dr. Milne summarizes:
In summary, Mr. Gradek Henryk was involved in a motor vehicle accident in May 13, 2006. He incurred soft tissue injuries to the neck and lower back which resulted in him missing 4 weeks of work in 2006. His injuries were not substantial and he shows no evidence of long term damage as a result of this motor vehicle accident.
The parties agree that Dr. Milne’s reference to four weeks of missed work in 2006 is in error as earlier in the report he specifies three weeks which is also consistent with employer records.