$90,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic Myofascial Pain

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for partly disabling chronic myofascial pain symptoms following a collision.
In today’s case (Camilleri v. Bergen) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2011 collision.  The Defendant admitted fault.  The Plaintiff suffered from chronic myofascial pain symptoms which were not expected to improve.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Madam Justice Loo provided the following reasons:

[74]        As discussed above, Ms. Camilleri now suffers from chronic myofascial pain as a result of the accident. She is unlikely to recover and, at best, she may mitigate some of her symptoms. I can do no better than to summarize her symptoms as set out in Dr. Dost’s report. She complains of:

1.   Constant cervical or neck pain that radiates to the interscapular region, left shoulder and diffusely down her arm to her third and fifth fingers;

2.   Constant thoracolumbar or back pain, without radicular symptoms, but with numbness and tingling;

3.   Headaches almost daily. About four days a week she has a dull headache, occipital pressure, and some nausea. Three days a week her headaches are quite severe and radiate to her left eye with pressure, pounding, nausea, and light and noise sensitivity;

4.   Sleep disruption secondary to pain;

5.   Altered mood;

6.   Light-headedness (a faint-like sensation that occurs early in the morning);

7.   Increased tinnitus;

8.   Increased blurred vision requiring stronger prescription glasses; and

9.   Difficulties with memory, processing speed, multitasking, attention and recall.

[75]        Her symptoms are not likely to improve. The evidence suggests that she can only learn to cope with her symptoms with psychiatric or psychological counselling, a physiatrist to deal with the physical complaints, and possibly a pain clinic to help her deal with her pain.

[76]        Ms. Camilleri’s life has been affected dramatically and profoundly by the accident. Her symptoms have been a tremendous challenge for her both emotionally and physically. She was a very high energy person who was fully committed to her family and to her work. She was a leader in her field. I could not help but have the impression that Ms. Camilleri was so committed to her work and patients at the eating disorder clinic that she was more concerned about helping the patients and the community rather than making money. She could easily have made more money in private practice but she was committed to helping those who could not afford private care. She was so committed to her work that she increased her hours of work after the accident so that her patients would continue to have treatment despite the toll it has taken on her physical and emotional health.

[77]        Ms. Camilleri said that it has been emotionally challenging for her to be forced to step back into what she considers a lesser role in the treatment of the eating disordered. She enjoyed her volunteer positions, she enjoyed teaching, she enjoyed the continuing education opportunities with other health professionals, and she enjoyed research. Those are things she can no longer enjoy.

[78]        She was also a physically active person who enjoying skiing with her family, running, cycling, water-skiing, gardening, and she enjoyed sharing many of those activities with her husband and daughters. Those are things she can no longer enjoy. She no longer even travels.

[79]        I have no reason to doubt Ms. Camilleri’s evidence. There is no suggestion that she is anything other than a credible, straightforward witness who keeps doing her best in situations where others likely would have given up. But she has been forced to give up many of the things in life that she enjoyed…

[88]        I conclude that an appropriate award in this case for non-pecuniary damages is $90,000.

bc injury law, Camilleri v. Bergen, Chronic Myofascial Pain, Madam Justice Loo

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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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