$95,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic L4/5 Disc Herniation With Liklihood of Surgery
Adding to this site’s archived cases addressing non-pecuniary damages for spine injury cases, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a low back disc injury.
In this week’s case (Muhammedi v. Ogloff) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2009 rear-end collision. Liability was admitted. The Plaintiff suffered various soft tissue injuries and also an L4/5 lateral disc herniation.
This injury remained symptomatic at the time of trial and there was a greater than 50% chance that the injury would eventually require surgical intervention. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $95,000 the Court provided the following reasons:
 Dr. Kokan was of the opinion that, from the accident, she had right side L4/5 far lateral disc herniation and persistent cervical myofascial pain. He concluded: “The motor vehicle [accident] as described, in my opinion, is most responsible for the onset of symptoms.” While this aspect of his report was not clarified, it was clear from his testimony that the cause of her injuries was the car accident.
 He felt her prognosis to be uncertain, and stated as follows:
Generally, I expect at least the current level of symptoms. Far lateral disc herniations are typically more problematic with respect to symptoms. Usually they can produce significant nerve root compromise given that they are located lateral to the foramen and pedicles, thereby there is less room for the exiting nerve root, thereby physical compression and symptoms are common.
I would expect usually that Mrs. Muhammedi would have at least the current level of symptoms in her back and that she would experience aggravations brought on in proportion to future activities. Heavier activities would go on to produce potentially more troubling symptoms.
In the event that she should have ongoing and disabling neurological symptoms, she would probably have to consider surgical treatment. The orthopaedic literature varies with respect to the need for surgery. The possibility that she could require surgical treatment in the future is probably greater than 50%. I say this because of her relatively young age and the associated presence of this type of disc protrusion…
 The physicians all agree, and there is no issue in this regard, that the plaintiff sustained a far lateral disc protrusion. All similarly agreed that the cause of the disc protrusion was the accident….
 I find that it is clear from the expert reports tendered and the plaintiff’s evidence that she continues to sustain ongoing problems from this accident. I find that this brings this case beyond the nature of the type of injuries in the cases cited by the defendants. It is more severe, more akin to the plaintiffs’ injuries in the cases cited by the plaintiff.
 In all the circumstances, I award Ms. Muhammedi $95,000 for her non-pecuniary damages. This recognizes the ongoing difficulties that she has and the possibility, which was deemed by the physicians, indeed by Dr. Kokan to be greater than 50%, that the plaintiff will require surgery at some time in the future.