$90,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Neck Injury Requiring Surgical Fusion
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a neck injury requiring surgical intervention.
In this week’s case (Gormick v. Amenta) the Plaintiff, a “young, athletic police officer” was injured in a 2008 collision. Liability was admitted by the Defendant. The Plaintiff suffered a neck injury which required disc removal and fusion at the C5-C6 level. The Plaintiff had pre-existing issues to her neck and the Court found that there was a 10% chance surgery would be required even absent the collision. The Plaintiff was left with some residual symptoms but the Court found her residual earning capacity was not impacted. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Mr. Justice Sigurdson provided the following reasons:
 In sum, the plaintiff had some neck pain and restricted motion prior to the accident that did not impair her work or ability to enjoy life to any measurable degree. Because of her underlying condition, which was largely asymptomatic, she suffered injuries in the accident that were extremely painful and required surgery. The surgery, though successful, has resulted in stiffness and restricted motion that appear to have affected the strength of her throwing arm and her ability to lift. Although surgery was not a likely option for her pre-existing condition, now that she has had it she is at 25% risk of suffering adjacent segment disc disease within 10-15 years.
 In all the circumstances, I assess general damages at $90,000. In doing so, I also take into consideration the pain and suffering that she will suffer in the future as a result of her injuries that were caused by the accident. …
116] The plaintiff is a very capable police officer. She has done well in her career and I expect, given the evidence of Sergeant Arruda, that she will continue to do well. She has had two children and has maintained an active busy life. I recognize that she appears to have some symptoms that persist, but to the extent they were caused by the motor vehicle accident, I have included that in my assessment of general damages. I expect that her patrol work may make her uncomfortable due to stiffness or lack of range of motion, but I am not satisfied that the plaintiff has demonstrated that the injuries in the accident have given rise to a real and substantial possibility of a loss of income or capacity in the future, and as such, I make no award under this head.