$80,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages Assessment for L4-5 Disc Injury


Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, assessing damges for non-pecuniary loss (pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) for an L4-5 disk herniation.
In yesterday’s case (Doho v. Melnikova) the Plaintiff was involved in two seperate collisions.  Fault was admitted in both actions leaving the Court to assess damages.  The first collision caused a disk injury at the 4-5 level of the Plaintiff’s lower spine.  The second collision resulted in a minor aggravation of this.
The prognosis for recovery was poor and the Plaintiff was expected to experience ongoing pain and discomfort in his lower back as a result of the first collision.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $80,000 for the first collision Mr. Justice Rogers provided the following reasons:

[38] The first accident caused a significant injury to Mr. Doho’s lower back. He sustained a disk hernia at the L4-5 level of his spine. That hernia impinged on his spinal nerves and caused him severe pain for the first three or four months after the accident. He also suffered from headaches and a sore neck. Those latter symptoms resolved by three months after the accident. Mr. Doho’s leg pains dissipated by approximately four months after the accident, but he was left with ongoing low back discomfort. His pain is increased by lifting, playing sports such as golf, standing or sitting for lengthy periods of time. Because surgery is not an option at this point, I have concluded that Mr. Doho’s condition is permanent.

[39] I find that Mr. Doho’s non-pecuniary damages arising out of the November 2006 accident should be assessed at $80,000.

This case is also worth reviewing for the Court’s discussion of the principle of ‘failure to mitigate‘ at 49-53.

bc injury law, Doho v. Melnikova, failure to mitigate, L4-5 disc injury, L4-5 disk injury, low back injuries, mitigation, Mr. Justice Rogers

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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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