$85,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Dental Misalignment Coupled With Soft Tissue Injuries
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing damages for dental injuries sustained in a vehicle collision.
In this week’s case (Latek v. Krol) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collision for which the Defendant accepted responsibility. The Plaintiff suffered a jaw injury resulting in misaligned teeth and various soft tissue injuries. He was an active individual and suffered a variety of soft tissue injuries which impacted his physical lifestyle. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice Sewell provided the following reasons:
 Mr. Latek was seen by his family doctor, Dr. Ostapkowicz, on May 25, 2011. At that time he was moving with difficulty and could hardly talk. His jaw was swollen and he was unable to chew. He complained of head and teeth ache, maxilla and jaw pain, difficulty in opening his mouth, neck pain, right and left shoulder pain, right lower back, hip and knee pain, as well as left foot pain.
 Mr. Latek was examined by his family dentist, Dr. Gill, on May 25, 2011. At that time he was able to open his mouth only ten millimetres wide, as compared to a normal opening of 40-45 millimetres. Dr. Gill noted that 16 of Mr. Latek’s front teeth were loosened and significantly mobile. On a later examination on July 25, 2011, Dr. Gill observed that two of Mr. Latek’s teeth were misaligned inwardly.
 Mr. Latek remains under the care of Dr. Gill for treatment of the injuries to his teeth. He currently wears braces to correct the misalignment of his teeth suffered in the accident. Once the orthodontic treatment is completed there is a possibility that Mr. Latek may require further treatment to his jaw but Mr. Latek’s prognosis is generally favourable.
 Over time many of Mr. Latek’s symptoms resolved. His last recorded visit to Dr. Ostapkowicz was on December 11, 2012. On January 31, 2013, Mr. Latek attended an independent medical examination by Dr. Hirsch, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation. By that time, Mr. Latek’s injuries were largely resolved except for pain in the low back, left hip and buttock and left knee. Dr. Hirsch’s opinion was that Mr. Latek’s injuries were soft tissue in nature. He found no evidence of any structural or ligamentous damage or any indication of structural injury to the spine. Dr. Hirsch characterized Mr. Latek’s lower back pain as mechanical, or pain that is exacerbated by activities and postures that stress or load the back…
 Mr. Latek’s injuries, though extensive, were not severe or life threatening. He did not suffer an inordinate amount of pain from them. Most of his injuries resolved within about a year after the accident.
 However, the impact of the injuries on Mr. Latek has been much more serious than they might have been on a more sedentary plaintiff. I am satisfied that much of Mr. Latek’s self-esteem and enjoyment of life were based on his physical prowess and his ability to engage in activities requiring a high level of physical fitness, endurance and strength. Mr. Latek gave priority to those activities over the pursuit of a career in the two years before the accident.
 I am satisfied that Mr. Latek’s inability to pursue his pre-accident activities is attributable to the injuries he suffered in the accident. In my view that loss has had a profound effect on Mr. Latek’s enjoyment of the amenities of life. While there is no expert medical evidence about the physiological and mental health impact of the loss of the ability to do what he did before the accident, I conclude that that loss together with his pain symptoms caused the personality changes exhibited by Mr. Latek since the accident…
 Taking Mr. Latek’s injuries into account in the context of the authorities, and giving particular weight to the impact the injuries have had on Mr. Latek’s quality of life, I assess non-pecuniary damages at $85,000.