BC Court of Appeal Discusses Pain and Suffering Awards for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Reasons for Judgement were released today by the BC Court of Appeal addressing, amongst other things, a fair award for pain and suffering for accident related Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
In today’s case (Bransford v. Yilmazcan) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2005 motor vehicle collision. It was an intersection crash involving a taxi and the issue of fault was admitted. The matter went to trial before a Jury and they were asked to decide the value of her claim.
The evidence showed that the Plaintiff suffered from post traumatic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The Plaintiff had various therapies including surgical intervention but nothing provided long term relief. By the time of trial her symptoms kept her from competitive employment. The Jury ultimately awarded over $1million in total compensation for her injuries and losses. This award included $385,000 for her non-pecuniary damages.
The non-pecuniary damages award was then reduced to $327,350 to bring it in line with the general Canadian cap on non-pecuniary damages in negligence cases. The Defendant then appealed seeking a new trial. The BC High Court largely dismissed the appeal but did reduce the non-pecuniary damages to $225,000 which is one of the highest valuations for pain and suffering in BC for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that I’m aware of. In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
 It seems to me that this award of non-pecuniary damages is sufficiently anomalous that it calls for intervention by this Court and I therefore see this as an appropriate case for appellate intervention. One significant difference I have noted between this case and Moskaleva is that the award of the jury was beyond the rough upper limit in this case. Having regard to similar cases and accepting that the jury took a very favourable view of this young woman, it seems to me that an award of $225,000 under this head would be appropriate. I consider a generous award is indicated in this case, both because of the view the jury took of the matter and because of the dramatic consequences her injury has had on the life of this young respondent. I would allow the appeal under this head and alter the award ordered by the judge of $327,350.00 to an award of $225,000.00 under this head of damages.