BCSC Discusses Non-Pecuniary Damages for Ruptured Breast Impant

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court discussing the value of non-pecuniary damages for a traumatically ruptured breast implant.
In today’s case (Gregory v. Penner) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2006 rear end car crash in Port Coquitlam, BC.  She suffered a variety of soft tissue injuries in this crash which largely resolved and had non-pecuniary damages valued at $30,000 for these.
The Plaintiff also suffered a more unique injury, a ruptured breast implant as a result of the forces of the crash.  The Plaintiff’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Ross Horton, gave evidence that the Plaintiff “had a blow to the left chest secondary to the motor vehicle accident which has resulted in force significant enough to rupture the saline implant and to cause some fat necrosis to the left breast.  Although the fat necrosis has improved, she has been left with a ruptured implant.  This will leave her with permanent disability with breast asymmetry.  At some point in time she should have the ruptured implant removed and replaced with a new intact implant.”
Madam Justice E.A. Arnold-Bailey had positive things to say about Dr. Horton as a witness and accepted “all of his testimony without hesitation“.
The Court went on to assess the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages for the ruptured implant at $65,000.  In reaching this valuation the Court engaged in the following analysis:
[148] In the present case I accept the testimony of the plaintiff that prior to the accident she had symmetrical breasts after breast augmentation surgery.  I accept that she noticed that she had a substantially smaller left breast about three weeks after the accident, and that since the accident she had experiencing pain and burning sensations in the area of her left breast.  I further accept her evidence that at the same time she found the lump in her left breast.  Several weeks later, Dr. Horton diagnosed the lump to be a lump of necrotic fat due to trauma in the area of the ruptured left breast implant.  When I combine their evidence and consider that the plaintiff as the driver of a motor vehicle was wearing the usual shoulder/lap seatbelt across the area of her left upper body including her left breast, I find without hesitation that the plaintiff has established that the accident was at least a partial cause of rupture of the left breast implant and the associated complications.  Thus, the defendant is liable for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff to the area of her left breast, including the rupture of the implant…
[153] In relation to her ruptured left breast implant, I find that the plaintiff has experienced considerable pain, discomfort, disfigurement, and mental stress and anxiety that continue to the present time…
[161] In the present case the left implant will be replaced.  It is not known if the right implant will also have to be replaced to achieve breasts of a similar size.  The plaintiff has endured considerable pain and suffering, the painful and difficult injections of the lump of necrotic fat by Dr. Horton.  She has also had to endure the ongoing discomfort and emotional and psychological upset and distress caused by the ruptured implant remaining in her chest and the very significant disparity in the size of her breasts for a period of three years and three months.  In all the circumstances I find that a fit and proper award in non-pecuniary damages for this injury is $65,000.

breast implant injury, Breast Implant ruptured in car crash, Damages for Ruptured Breast Implant, Dr. Ross Horton, Gregory v. Penner, icbc injury claims, Madam Justice Arnold-Bailey, non-pecuniary damages

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

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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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