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$90,000 Non Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic and Partly Disabling Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries with a poor prognosis for recovery.

In today’s case (Sen-Laurenz v. Napoli) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 collision which the Defendant accepted fault for.  The Plaintiff was described as a “highly motivated and at that time physically fit 20-year-old plaintiff was attending Capilano University in North Vancouver and was in the early stages of pursuing her career goal to become a medical doctor. “.  The crash resulted in chronic soft tissue injuries which did not fully recover.  The residual symptoms were expected to be present indefinitely.  The injuries impeded her education and delayed her entry into medical school.  In assessing non pecuniary damages at $90,000 Mr. Justice Walker provided the following reasons:

[111]     In summary, Ms. Sen-Laurenz continues to suffer from chronic soft tissue pain, diffuse soft tissue injuries, chronic regional myofascial pain syndrome related to her neck and back (primarily to her mid back, with pain of less intensity and frequency to her upper and low back), headaches, focus and concentration issues, disturbed sleep, resulting fatigue, and persistent functional limitations. She will continue to suffer from chronic pain on an ongoing basis as she has, at age 25, reached her maximum medical condition. Management of her pain and her functional capacity is highly dependent on regular physical activity, guided by a kinesiologist who is also a personal trainer at a gym facility, supplemented by passive modalities such as massage therapy and physiotherapy and medication, especially when suffering from flares of pain.

[112]     She has returned to many of her pre-accident physical activities, although in spite of her best efforts to work through the pain, with less frequency and rigour due to pain and fatigue. Ms. Sen-Laurenz is no longer the highly energetic outgoing individual she once was. She is easily withdrawn and displays irritability and affected mood. Her social life is a shadow of what it once was, with even her closest friends finding it to be a “downer” of an experience to spend time with her. Sitting for classes, studying, and work for longer than 30 minutes is difficult, which in turn causes frustration and also impairs concentration and memorization. Her maximum sitting tolerance is two hours. She finds some housecleaning duties painful. Her employment opportunities are also restricted…

[123]     In my opinion, an appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages, particularly in light of Ms. Sen-Laurenz’s age and that she has reached the point of maximum medical recovery at age 25, is $90,000, and I assess an award in that amount.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Walker, Sen-Laurenz v. Napoli