In a tragic case reasons for judgement were published by the BC Supreme Court, Kamloops Registry, assessing damages in a personal injury lawsuit at nearly $7 million following a baseball bat attack.
In the recent case (Simpson v. Teichrieb) the Defendant “savagely battered” the teenage plaintiff with a baseball bat leaving him with “a catastrophic brain injury, have left Jessie requiring constant care and eliminated any prospect of employability.“.
At the time of the assault the plaintiff was 18 years old, 5’5” in height and weighed about 135 pounds. The defendant was 39 years old, 6’0” tall and weighed about 220 pounds. The Plaintiff was in the Defendant’s yard and the Defendant was concerned about possible theft. He beat the plaintiff nearly to death resulting in “a severe skull fracture and significant brain swelling. He had facial fractures and a notable bruise to his lower back in the shape of a baseball bat.”.
The Defendant was criminally convicted and sentenced to prison.
The bulk of the assessed damages reflect estimates of a lifetime of lost earnings and future care. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at Canada’s current rough upper limit of $393,000 Mr. Justice Dley provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages at over $9 million for a Plaintiff who sustained life altering injuries following a tractor trailer collision.
In today’s case (Uy v. Dhillon) the Plaintiff’s vehicle was struck by a tractor trailer while driving on the Coquihalla highway in British Columbia’ interior. The Defendant denied fault but was found liable at trial with that finding being confirmed by the BC Court of Appeal.
This resulted in “a serious brain injury in the Accident that has resulted in a significant degree of cognitive impairment” for the Plaintiff. The brain injury rendered him totally unemployable with deficits so profound that he required “24-hour care and supervision for the rest of his life. “.
Upper limit non-pecuniary damages of $388,177 were awarded. The bulk of the judgement centered around the cost of 24 hour lifetime care which the Court assessed at over $7 million. In finding the injuries warranted non pecuniary damages at the rough upper limit Mr. Justice Skolrood provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a mild traumatic brain injury and post concussive problems caused by a collision.
In today’s case (Dornan v. Stephens) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2016 rear end collision. The Defendants admitted fault. The Plaintiff suffered a variety of injuries including a mild traumatic brain injury and post concussion syndrome which became chronic.
Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a collision.
In the recent case (Dube v. Dube) the Plaintiff was injured as a passenger involved in a single vehicle collision. The Defendant accepted fault. The crash caused a variety of injuries including a traumatic brain injury which caused cognitive deficits which were expected to linger indefinitely. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $160,000 Madam Justice Burke provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a mild traumatic brain injury and chronic pain sustained in a BC vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Ranahan v. Oceguera) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 rear end collision. Although faut was not formally admitted the Court found the Defendant fully liable for the crash. The Plaintiff suffered chronic injuries from the collision and in assessing non-pecuniary damages at $160,000 Mr. Justice Mayer provided the following reasons:
 I find that as a result of the accident, Ms. Ranahan has sustained mild traumatic brain injury and soft tissue injuries to her spine, which has developed into chronic neck pain, upper back pain, post-concussion syndrome, cognitive problems with memory and focus, imbalance, tiredness, fatigue, tinnitus, eye strain, sleep disturbance and chronic headaches. I also accept that the imbalance caused by her accident resulted in a further injury, the left ankle dislocation with a chip fracture, while coaching a soccer game.
 I also find that Ms. Ranahan suffers from ongoing mood symptoms including irritability, moodiness a reduction in patience and positivity. She is experiencing on-going difficulties dealing with stress. Although Ms. Ranahan admits that prior to the accident she was under significant stress as a result of her husband’s health issues, family and work responsibilities she was managing these stresses and was fully functioning at work and at home and was able to participate in a number of sports and social activities.
 I find, based on the totality of the lay and expert evidence, that there are no genuine issues of causation in this case. I find that but for the accident Ms. Ranahan would not be suffering from her current physical and psychological/cognitive symptoms…
 I find that, as a result of the accident, Ms. Ranahan experienced and continues to experience physical and emotional pain, suffering and limitation. Relevant facts have been set out earlier in my reasons and there is no need to repeat them.
 The impacts have interfered with her family and business life but as a result of her stoicism these impacts have been managed to a certain extent. In addition, her injuries have significantly impacted her recreational and social pursuits but she has not been completely unable to participate in some of these activities.
 I find that there has been some improvement in some of Ms. Ranahan’s symptoms. What is not clear is whether there will be any further improvement. There appears to be a belief amongst some of the medical experts, including Drs. Chow, Johnston and Boyle, that further assessment and treatment may result in improvement. The prognosis of Dr. Chow and Dr. Johnston is guarded.
 Many of the cases relied upon by Ms. Ranahan occupy the higher end of the spectrum for non-pecuniary damages for similar injuries. The cases relied upon by ICBC are in my view at the lower range and the damages awarded in those cases are not sufficient to address the pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities suffered by Ms. Ranahan.
 Having reviewed the cases provided by the parties I assess Ms. Ranahan’s non-pecuniary damages at $160,000.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a fall causing a permanent head injury.
In today’s case (Harrison v. Loblaws, Inc.) the Plaintiff was shopping in the Defendant’s store when she slipped on a large pool of liquid laundry detergent which was on the floor. She struck her head on the floor and suffered a concussive injury from which she did not recover.
The Defendant denied fault but the Court found the Defendant failed to establish that they followed their protocols to ensure the store was in reasonably safe condition for customers.
The Court accepted that the Plaintiff developed symptoms “consistent with post-traumatic brain injury syndromes or post-concussion syndromes” and that these were permanently disabling. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $175,000 Mr. Justice Basran provided the following reasons:
 The evidence of Ms. Harrison, and those who knew and worked with her both before and after her accident, is that she sustained injuries that have dramatically impacted every aspect of her life. Whereas before the accident she was independent, active and optimistic, she is now a mere shadow of her former self. She is unable to work or enjoy any of the activities she used to do before the accident, including walking, swimming, and travelling. She is dependent on her son and is far less socially engaged than she once was.
 Her prognosis is poor and any further improvement in her condition is unlikely. Taking into account the variety and longevity of these symptoms, her enjoyment of life has been dramatically reduced. ..
 Ms. Harrison was 48 at the time of the accident. She suffered a significant head injury and to this day, suffers from serious headaches and other symptoms which I have detailed. She has a permanent disability and she has suffered from a loss of confidence and a loss of enjoyment of life as a result of her accident. Her physical and mental abilities have clearly been impaired. As described earlier, she is no longer able to walk long distances nor is she able to swim. Her sensitivities to light, sound, and motion have dramatically affected her. She has clearly experienced a serious diminishment in the quality and enjoyment of her life. I note that Ms. Harrison retains a certain degree of optimism about the future and throughout this ordeal, she has taken significant steps to try to improve her circumstances.
 Having found Ms. Harrison to be competitively unemployable and suffering from symptoms that appear to be permanent, I must make an award that addresses her particular condition and recognizes the nature and extent of her loss. On that basis, I conclude that an award of $175,000 satisfies those principles.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver REgistry, assessing damages for a traumatic brain injury.
In today’s case (Weaver v. Pollock) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2010 collision that the Defendants accepted responsibility for. The Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and ultimately was diagnosed with early onset dementia linked to this injury. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $175,000 Mr. Justice Burnyeat provided the following reasons:
 I am satisfied that it is now established that mild traumatic brain injury or subdural haematoma can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, or an increased risk of dementia.
 In his December 1, 2010 statement to ICBC, Mr. Weaver indicated that he had lost consciousness after the Collision. In his report, Dr. O’Shaughnessy assumes that Mr. Weaver lost consciousness but does not indicate how he arrived at that conclusion. On the other hand but without attribution, the notes of Dr. Burtt and Ms. Hubbard indicate no loss of consciousness.
 I find that Mr. Weaver has proven on a balance of probabilities that he was unconscious for more than a several seconds as a result of the Collision. In this regard, I am satisfied that what Ms. Cotton observed when she came to the side of his truck is accurate and that Mr. Weaver was “kind of like waking”. I am satisfied that what Ms. Cotton observed was Mr. Weaver regaining consciousness.
 Even if I am found to be incorrect in arriving at the conclusion that Mr. Weaver lost consciousness for a short period, I am satisfied that he did suffer a traumatic brain injury. In this regard, I adopt the indicia set out by Dr. Kiraly that a traumatically induced psychological disruption of brain function (a traumatic brain injury) can be manifested by “at least one” of any period of loss of consciousness, of loss of memory for events immediately before or after the Collison, and of alteration in mental state at the time of the Collision. I find that Mr. Weave manifested all three of those factors.
 Taking into account the age of Mr. Weaver, I give very little weight to the decisions in Nahal, Goguen, and Watkins relied upon by the Defendants. I find that the decision in Wong, supra, most closely represents the facts presented by the effects of the collision on Mr. Weaver even though there was finding in Wong that the accident accelerated the onset of dementia. Here, I could find that there was no pre-disposition to dementia so that an award of non-pecuniary damages here should take that into account but not the advanced age of Ms. Wong.
 Taking into account the increased risk factors in the future as set out in the opinion of Dr. Kiraly, the severity and duration of the pain at the back of his head, his shoulder and his chest, the impairment of his life, the impairment of his mental abilities, the loss of his lifestyle, the failure of his memory and ability to concentrate, the susceptibility and greater risk associated with Stage Four dementia, the impairment of his social, occupational, recreational function, and his age, I am satisfied that an assessment of non-pecuniary damages of $175,000 should be made.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic issues following a concussive injury.
In today’s case (Curtiss v. The Corporation of the District of West Vancouver) the Plaintiff fell into an open meter box on a sidewalk owned by the Defendant. The Defendant denied liability but was found negligent at trial. The fall resulted in a concussive injury with post concussive difficulties and PTSD. The Plaintiff was expected to have lingering symptoms into the future. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice Marchand provided the following reasons:
 As a result of her fall, Ms. Curtiss suffered cuts, scrapes and/or bruising to various parts of her body, including her forehead, nose, upper lip, hands, lower legs and left inner thigh. She also experienced balance issues, dizziness and headaches. Ms. Curtiss’ cuts, scrapes and bruises all healed within the first one to three months. Her throbbing headaches lasted the better part of a year, and she still gets headaches when she experiences high levels of stress. She still has occasional balance problems.
 Ms. Curtiss has received psychological counselling and acupuncture treatments since her fall and her condition has improved over time. She has recently returned to daily walking and working in her garden. Nevertheless, her self-reports, and the reports of those who are close to her, clearly establish that Ms. Curtiss is not the same person she was prior to her fall. She has trouble sleeping. She has become anxious and forgetful. She is less confident and self-sufficient. She is no longer able to multi-task. She is less active, occasionally walks with a cane, looks down during walks and gardens far less.
 Two family physicians were involved in Ms. Curtiss’ post-accident care, Drs. Dean Brown and Brian Brodie. Based on her loss of consciousness, memory loss, headaches, dizziness, imbalance, agitation and anxiety, both diagnosed Ms. Curtiss as having suffered a concussion as a result of her fall. In his April 7, 2017 report, Dr. Brown’s prognosis was that Ms. Curtiss’ symptoms would gradually improve with a full resolution within a year or so. In his September 8, 2017 report, Dr. Brodie’s prognosis was that Ms. Curtiss was highly likely to “go on to suffer some symptoms of post traumatic disorder”.
 Ms. Curtiss also submitted a report dated August 25, 2017 prepared by Registered Psychologist, Dr. William Koch. As a result of Ms. Curtiss’ vigilance to danger when walking or driving, excessive startle response, avoidance of conversations about her fall, disturbed sleep, and anxiety-related concentration deficits, Dr. Koch has concluded it is probable that Ms. Curtiss suffers a “subsyndromal” Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). Dr. Koch noted a number of positive and negative prognostic indicators in Ms. Curtiss’ case. He concluded that Ms. Curtiss’ prognosis for further improvement is “negative” unless she receives further psychological treatment. Dr. Koch recommended a further 20 hours of therapy, which Ms. Curtiss had started by the time of trial.
 In cross-examination, Dr. Koch agreed with a list of further positive prognostic indicators put to him by counsel for the District. Specifically, Dr. Koch agreed that the following were positive prognostic indicators: Ms. Curtiss was open to treatment; Ms. Curtiss had returned to treatment; Ms. Curtiss reported benefitting from treatment; Ms. Curtiss had returned to daily walking; and Ms. Curtiss would soon no longer be involved in litigation. On the last point, Dr. Koch indicated that while litigation stress may soon stop, “other stressors may pop up.”
 Based on all of the evidence, I accept that Ms. Curtiss’ life has been significantly adversely affected by her fall. Though her cuts, scrapes and bruises healed relatively quickly, her post-concussion symptoms and subsyndromal PTSD have persisted. While I have optimism for further improvement, given the length of time her symptoms have persisted, the efforts she has already put into her recovery and her age, I doubt that Ms. Curtiss will ever fully return to her pre-accident condition…
 The cases cited by counsel support an award of non-pecuniary damages within the range suggested by Ms. Curtiss of $75,000 to $90,000. In my view, an award of $85,000 will adequately compensate Ms. Curtiss for the profound impact her fall has had on her physical and emotional wellbeing. Before her fall, Ms. Curtiss was an exceptionally happy, active and productive 74-year-old woman. The accident, however, caused a significant decline in her performance at work, her level of activity, her confidence in herself, and the joy in her life. As I have stated, in my view, though Ms. Curtiss will continue to make improvements, she will not fully return to her pre-accident condition.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, assessing damages for a mild traumatic brain injury with lingering cognitive impairment.
In today’s case (Gauthier v. Dubois) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 motorcycle collision caused by the Defendant. Fault was admitted. The Plaintiff suffered a variety of injuries many of which enjoyed good recovery. Among these were a mild traumatic brain injury which resulted in cognitive impairments which had a poor prognosis for full recovery. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $145,000 for the injuries Mr. Justice Milman provided the following reasons:
 Mr. Gauthier sustained many injuries in the accident, of varying severity. He had no broken bones. While many of his injuries have resolved, several have not.
 Most significantly, I have found that Mr. Gauthier suffers ongoing cognitive impairments resulting from an injury to his brain. I also accept that he continues to have back problems and knee pain, including a risk of future degeneration in his left knee.
 I have found that Mr. Gauthier suffered significant pain from his numerous injuries in the first weeks and months following the accident. Most of those injuries have since resolved. He continues to suffer occasional headaches and pain in his back and knees. There is a risk that his left knee will grow worse. He does not often seek out medical attention or therapies or take prescription drugs to ameliorate his discomfort, however.
 Mr. Gauthier was away from work and disabled for several weeks. Although he has gradually recovered to a significant extent, he has not returned to his previous level of performance. While he can now do just about all of the activities he did before, he cannot do many of them as well, or without pain or discomfort.
 Mr. Gauthier has suffered emotionally form his cognitive impairments and his gradual recognition of their permanence. He is anxious about driving. He cannot surf as aggressively or do other athletic activities at the same pace as formerly, although this must be attributed at least in part to his age. He is more introverted and less confident. He now questions his performance at work and his career prospects.
 The plaintiff advances no argument in this regard.
 Although Mr. Gauthier claims that he tends to socialize less than he did before the accident, I am not satisfied that this is a significant factor in his loss. As Mr. Harris submits, Mr. Gauthier has been able to enter into a long-term, romantic relationship since the accident where he did not have any significant attachments before.
 Mr. Gauthier is still functioning at work but not at the same level. He is also unable to do the recreational activities that he enjoys, particularly surfing, at the same level. Nevertheless, he is still able to enjoy those activities.
 Mr. Gauthier asserts that the impact on his lifestyle has been “severe.” In my view that is an overstatement. I accept that his lifestyle has been affected, but he has maintained his occupation as an entrepreneur and manager – his business appears to be recovering. He continues to do the same recreational activities as he did before, although not necessarily at the same level. Some of this drop in performance must be attributed to his age.
 I found the following cases most helpful among those cited to me by counsel: Traynor v. Degroot, 2002 BCSC 441, aff’d 2003 BCCA 483; Joel v. Paivarinta et al., 2005 BCSC 73; Benson v. Day, 2014 BCSC 2224; Kaiser v. Williams, 2015 BCSC 646; and Sundin v. Turnbull, 2017 BCSC 15. I find that the injuries in issue here lie in the middle of that range – generally more severe than those in Kaiser ($130,000) but less severe than those in Sundin ($175,000). I find this case most similar to Traynor ($120,000 or $155,000 adjusted for inflation) and Joel ($110,000 or $134,000 adjusted for inflation).
 It is important to bear in mind, however, that each case is unique and must be assessed on its own facts.
 Having considered the facts of this case in light of the authorities to which I have referred, I assess Mr. Gauthier’s general damages at $145,000.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a “violent” collision resulting in a permanent brain injury and chronic pain.
In today’s case (Sundin v. Turnbull) the Plaintiff was rear-ended while riding his motorcycle in 2012. The collision was severe with the motorcycle being embedded in the Defendant’s truck as a result of the forces involved.
The Plaintiff suffered a head injury and post concussive symptoms lingered. The Plaintiff developed chronic pain and the prognosis for the conditions was poor with residual permanent disability. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $175,000 Madam Justice Gerow provided the following reasons:
 As stated earlier, the accident involving Mr. Sundin and Mr. Turnbull was a violent one. Mr. Sundin’s motorcycle was embedded into Mr. Turnbull’s pickup truck and Mr. Sundin was thrown through the air landing on the pavement. Immediately after the accident Mr. Sundin was dazed and spitting out teeth.
 As well, there is no issue regarding Mr. Sundin’s credibility. I found that Mr. Sundin provided evidence in a straight forward and reliable fashion. I accept his symptoms as he described them are genuine.
 There is no question that Mr. Sundin’s life has changed profoundly as a result of the accident. Prior to the accident Mr. Sundin had a history of performing at a high level in both his work and personal life.
 As set out earlier, all the experts agree that Mr. Sundin suffered a MTBI, as well as numerous soft tissue injuries and damage to his teeth in the accident. As Dr. Benavente, the defendant’s expert, acknowledged, Mr. Sundin continues to suffer from post-concussion syndrome as a direct result of the head injury he sustained in the accident. Mr. Sundin’s ongoing symptoms of chronic headaches, problems with concentration and memory, and mood problems are attributable to the post-concussion syndrome.
 As well as his cognitive problems, the expert and lay evidence establishes that as a result of the accident, Mr. Sundin suffers from chronic pain in his neck, shoulders and back, problems with his teeth and jaw, and some ongoing pain in his hips and knees. The evidence is that it is unlikely Mr. Sundin will recover to his pre-accident condition, mentally or physically. Mr. Sundin is having a difficult time accepting that he cannot perform physically or mentally as he did before the accident, and as a result has developed an adjustment disorder. The ongoing symptoms Mr. Sundin is suffering from as a result of the accident impact every aspect of his life.
 As noted in Stapley, the assessment of non-pecuniary damages depends on the particular circumstances of the plaintiff in each case. Having considered Mr. Sundin’s age, the nature of his injuries, the severity of his symptoms and the fact they have been ongoing for four years with little improvement, the ongoing treatments, the psychological, cognitive and memory problems, and the guarded prognosis for full recovery, as well as the authorities, I am of the view that the appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages is $175,000.
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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