$80,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Aggravation of Pre-Existing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome


Adding this this site’s archived cases addressing non-pecuniary damages for thoracic outlet syndrome, reasons for judgement were released last month addressing such an injury.
In last month’s case (Rollheiser v. Rollheiser) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  She suffered from long-standing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.  The crash caused an aggravation of this condition with the Court accepting the following medical evidence:
[24]         Dr. Flaschner, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, also provided a report, dated February 2, 2012. Dr. Flaschner initially saw Ms. Rollheiser on December 2, 2009. His diagnosis included exacerbation of pre-existing TOS and musculoligamentous injuries to the cervical and thoracic spine. He states:
Ms. Rollheiser has subsequently been seen on numerous occasions for symptomatic management. She has undergone various trials of medications, local anesthetic trigger point injections botulinum toxin injections and has also been receiving regular IMS therapy from her physical therapist. Her pain has evolved as well and the current diagnoses secondary to the motor vehicle collision would include:
1.   Thoracic outlet syndrome, exacerbation of pre-existing injury.
2.   Cervical WAD II injury with chronic regional myofascial pain syndrome.
3.   Thoracic musculoligamentous injury with chronic regional myofascial pain syndrome.
[25]         Dr. Flaschner considers that Ms. Rollheiser’s symptoms will continue indefinitely.
[26]         Dr. Flaschner’s report continues:
Further symptomatic management options for the chronic regional myofascial pain syndrome would include regular physical activity from a cardiovascular perspective as well as stretching and strengthening of the painful musculature, ensuring adequate restorative sleep, various manual therapies, medications as well as needle based therapies including acupuncture, IMS, local anesthetic  trigger point injections, botulinum toxin injections or potentially fluoroscopically guided facet based procedures. It should be noted that the treatments will be expected to provide some temporary relief and would not be expected to be curative.
In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $80,000 Madam Justice Gropper provided the following reasons:
[35]         In sum, Ms. Rollheiser’s injuries have reduced her enjoyment of life. There has been impairment of family, marital and social relationships as well as physical abilities.
[36]         As noted, the case authorities provide guidance only; no two cases are exactly alike.
[37]         I agree with the defendant that not all of Ms. Rollheiser’s symptoms are attributable to the accident. It appears that some of the plaintiff’s limitations are due to the rotator cuff as opposed to injuries from the accident.
[38]         Of the authorities provided, I find Kaleta v. MacDougall, 2011 BCSC 1259 (Kaleta) to be most instructive. Justice Truscott awarded a 28 year-old male plaintiff non-pecuniary damages of $80,000 for soft tissue injuries to the knee, back, arm, shoulder and neck. Like Ms. Rollheiser, Mr. Kaleta only missed a brief period from work, although he found it to be more difficult to resume work upon his return. Again, like Ms. Rollheiser, his moderate ongoing pain was probably chronic.
[39]         Accordingly, I assess Ms. Rollheiser’s non-pecuniary damages at $80,000.

bc injury law, Madam Justice Gropper, Rollheiser v. Rollheiser, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, TOS

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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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