BC Court of Appeal Advises Litigants Not to get Carried Away With Future Care Claims

Reasons for judgment were released this week by the BC Court of Appeal addressing damages for cost of future care following long term non-catastrophic injuries.
In today’s case (Penner v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 collision.  Most of his injuries resolved however he was left with long-term difficulties as a result of a post-traumatic chronic patellar tendinopathy (a knee injury).
At trial the Plaintiff was awarded just over $550,000 in total damages.  ICBC appealed several aspects of the judgement without success.  The Plaintiff’s award for cost of future care, however, was reduced by the Court of Appeal.
The Trial Judge made the following award for future care needs:

Future home maintenance

$14,600.00

Yard maintenance

$39,200.00

Housekeeping assistance

$38,000.00

Cold packs, heating pads and bath mats

$1,825.00

Safety bars in the bathroom

$200.00

Psychotherapy treatments

$3,000.00

Attendance at a fitness centre or community centre

$13,500.00

Medication

$10,000

TOTAL:

____________

$120,325.00

The BC Court of Appeal reduced this assessment by about $80,000 and in doing so provided the following reasons reminding litigants not to get carried away when dealing with future care costs:

[13] Ms. Katalinic drew our attention to the Court’s comments in Travis v. Kwon, 2009 BCSC 63, where Johnston J. said this about claims for damages for future care costs:

[109]    Claims for damages for cost of future care have grown exponentially following the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in the trilogy of decisions usually cited under Andrews v. Grand & Toy, Alberta Ltd., [1978] 2 S.C.R. 229, [1978] 1 W.W.R. 577.

[110]    While such claims are no longer confined to catastrophic injury cases, it is useful from time to time to remind oneself that damages for future care grew out of catastrophic injuries and were intended to ensure, so far as possible, that a catastrophically injured plaintiff could live as complete and independent a life as was reasonably attainable through an award of damages.

[111]    This is worth mentioning because the passage of time has led to claims for items such as, in this case, the present value of the future cost of a long-handed duster, long-handed scrubber, and replacement heads for the scrubber, in cases where injuries are nowhere near catastrophic in nature or result.

This is a reminder that a little common sense should inform claims under this head, however much they may be recommended by experts in the field.

bc injury law, Cost of Future Care, Penner v. ICBC

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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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