$90,000 For Lingering Soft Tissue Injuries Leading to Chronic Pain Disorder

Adding to this site’s archived cases addressing non-pecuniary damages for chronic pain, reasons for judgement were released today dealing with such a condition following a motor vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Roth v. Hes) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collision.  The Defendant admitted fault.  The Plaintiff sustained soft tissue injuries which led to a chronic pain condition.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Mr. Justice Bowden provided the following reasons:

[82]         The plaintiff is a 40-year-old woman and suffered soft tissue injuries primarily in her back and shoulder area. She continues to suffer from chronic pain disorder and experiences sleeping difficulties. She has a pre-accident history of lower back and right knee pain complaints which would likely have continued even if the accident had not occurred.

[83]         The plaintiff’s lifestyle has suffered as a result of the accident. While I consider her to be far from totally disabled, she has lost the enjoyment of working on her and her husband’s hobby farm and the lifestyle that it provided to her. To some extent, as stated by Dr. Laidlow, this has resulted from the plaintiff becoming overly protective in relation to her injuries. With continuing appropriate rehabilitation and treatment I expect that the plaintiff’s condition will improve and she will gradually return to some of her hobbies around her property.

[84]         I do not accept the plaintiff’s argument that the garden and animals cared for by her and her husband were more than a hobby. It matters not that the garden and animals provided some food for them. The use of their property by the plaintiff and her husband was simply a hobby and I so find.

[85]         Before the accident the plaintiff enjoyed a number of outdoor activities. Since the accident she has not been able to participate in physically demanding activities like motorcycle riding, archery and hiking. There is the prospect that she may find less physically demanding but enjoyable hobbies.

[86]         The plaintiff has been unable to perform a number of household chores that she could before the accident. Her social life has been impacted by the accident as she has been unable to entertain guests for dinner parties as she did in the past. She and her husband have also not enjoyed the intimacy they experienced before the accident.

[87]         Both parties provided me with a number of cases dealing with similar facts that supported the amount of damages that they consider to be appropriate. In the end however, each case must be decided on its own facts.

[88]         Considering the factors enumerated in Stapley, I find $90,000 to be an appropriate award of non-pecuniary damages.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Bowden, Roth v. Hes

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

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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