Brain Injury Claim Dismissed, $55,000 Pain and Suffering for STI's and Hearing Loss

The first released judgment by the BC Supreme Court in 2009 dealing with an ICBC Injury Claim was handed down today.
The Plaintiff was involved in a 2005 motor vehicle collision.  It was an intersection collision where the Defendant turned left in front of the Plaintiff’s vehicle.  The Plaintiff had a green light and a significant impact occurred.
The Plaintiff’s vehicle sustained ‘considerable’ damage and her vehicle was written off.  Liability (fault) was admitted on behalf of the defendants on the morning of trial.  The trial focused on the Plaintiff’s injuries and their value.
The most contentious claimed injury was a concussive injury affecting cognitive abilities.   The court dismissed the alleged brain injury stating that “The plaintiff bears the onus of proving that it is more probable than not that she suffered each of the injuries she alleges.  In my opinion, it has been shown that there is a reasonable possibility that the plaintiff sustained a mild brain injury as a result of the motor vehicle accident.  But I am not persuaded that it is more probable than not that this occurred.”
Mr. Justice Halfyard did a great job addressing the competing medical evidence and the discussion at paragraphs 30 – 58 of this judgement is worth reviewing for anyone advancing an ICBC brain injury claim to see some of the issues that often come into play during litigation.
In valuing the Plaintiff’s Pain and Suffering at $55,000 the court summarized her injuries and their effect on her life as follows:

[89]            I conclude that the plaintiff sustained injuries to the soft tissues of her neck and upper back, the rotator cuff muscles in her left shoulder and the soft tissues in her chest wall.  I would describe the severity of these injuries as being moderate.

[90]            I find that the plaintiff sustained a loss of her hearing ability (much more pronounced in her left ear), as a result of a mild labyrinthine concussion caused by the accident.  Not all of this loss of hearing was caused by the injury.  Some of it was attributable to the normal aging process.  I accept Dr. van Rooy’s description of the overall loss of hearing ability as being mild.

[91]            I am not satisfied that the plaintiff sustained injury to her brain.  Nor am I satisfied that any injury she sustained in the accident caused a loss of her ability to maintain proper balance or equilibrium. 

[92]            The plaintiff has substantially recovered from all of her injuries except for the injury to her left shoulder.  Three years have elapsed since the accident, and the plaintiff’s symptoms may persist for another two years into the future.  These symptoms will be troublesome and sometimes painful, when she is working with her hands while holding her arms in certain positions.  To some degree, these effects will affect the plaintiff’s ability to make and repair costumes, and to work in her daughter’s shop.  But her hip and her low back problem are probably as much or more a hindrance to the plaintiff, than is the residual problem with her left shoulder.  The depression and anxiety that has plagued the plaintiff for some years is the most likely cause of her loss of motivation.  But I accept that the plaintiff’s emotional reaction to her injuries from the motor vehicle accident did aggravate her pre-existing psychological condition, to some extent.

brain injury claim, ICBC claims, intersection accidents, soft tissue injuries

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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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