$85,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Tinnitus
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic tinnitus caused by a motor vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Christensen v. Jand) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collision. The Defendant denied liability but was found 100% liable at trial. THe crash caused soft tissue injuries that largely recovered and also tinnitus which had a poor prognosis for recovery. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Madam Justice Forth provided the following reasons:
51] Accordingly, I find, on a balance of probabilities, that as a result of the accident Mr. Christensen suffered soft tissue issues, which have largely resolved, except for some mild early morning stiffness, and tinnitus, for which he will continue to suffer on a permanent basis…
 Mr. Christensen has suffered a permanent injury in the form of a ringing in his ears. There is a high unrelenting squeal in his right ear. This sound was reproduced by a computer and played during the trial. The sound was highly irritating and objectionable. Mr. Christensen testified that since the accident, he has been hearing the same sound. It is with him at all times and has impacted his personality, his outlook on life, his ability to sleep, his relationship with his children, and his occupation.
 There is no treatment that can stop this noise. He has had to learn to accept it but thinks about it every day. This causes him anxiety.
 He finds that loud noises bother him. He has become grumpier with his children.
 In order to help him sleep, he drinks. He testified that he drinks two beers and a full glass of wine every night to help him sleep. He has concerns with this consumption since alcoholism has been an issue in his immediate family.
 He is not a complainer and has returned to all of his past activities, except coaching soccer. There was approximately a four to six month period when he was not running. He has returned to running approximately the same distance as before.
 He immediately returned to his scheduled work and has continued working.
 His sister, oldest son, and his friend Darren Babey, testified to the change in his personality in that he was grumpier and less patient after the accident. His sister was most concerned in the initial two years, when she saw signs of depression, anger, and frustration. She testified to conversations during the initial two years when she had to “talk him off the ledge a little bit when he didn’t think he could beat this” and he once told her, “he’ll commit suicide with this”. Gradually her brother started to accept the “new norm”.
 It is to Mr. Christensen’s credit that he has returned to work and his activities. He has continued to care for his sons as a single father. He has been able to learn to live with the constant noise and has adjusted to life with it.
 I have reviewed the various cases provided, and in assessing the particular circumstances of Mr. Christensen, I am of the view that the appropriate award for non-pecuniary damage is $85,000.