ICBC Expert that Testified “he could not have been in error” Rejected by BC Supreme Court

Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, assessing damages for chronic pain and anxiety following a vehicle collision.

In the course of the claim ICBC’s expert witness whose opinion was “predicated on inaccurate and critical factual assumptions” was rejected.

In the recent case (Nadeau v. Toulmin) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2016 collision.  The crash resulted in chronic pain and anxiety.  In the course of litigation ICBC retained a physician who provided opinion evidence minimizing the plaintiff’s injuries and their connection to the collision.  In finding that the court was “unable to give his opinions any weight” the following critical reasons were provided by Mr. Justice Walker:

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Court of Appeal Upholds Jury Chronic Pain Award Despite Inappropriate Submissions by Counsel

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Court of Appeal dismissing an application for a new trial following a jury award in a chronic pain case.

In today’s case (Brown v. Goodacre) the Plaintiff was injured in a rear end collision that the Defendant was liable for.  The crash resulted in chronic pain and a jury awarded the plaintiff $847,000 in total damages.

The Defendant appealed seeking a new trial arguing plaintiff’s counsel made inappropriate submissions during the trial including

(i)       personalizing the case by bringing himself into the opening statement and closing submissions;

(ii)      giving his personal opinion on the issues, including putting his personal stamp of approval on the merits of his client’s case;

(iii)      giving engineering evidence in the guise of a common sense observation; and

(iv)     in one case, quoting a statement from a medical report that was not in evidence at trial.

The Court of Appeal noted that while some of the comments were not appropriate a failure to object during trial coupled with the trial judge’s caution to the jury about many of these comments meant no new trial was warranted.  In reaching this decision the Court of Appeal provided the following reasons:

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$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Mild/Moderate Soft Tissue Injuries With Resulting Chronic Pain

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries as a result of a motor vehicle collision.

In today’s case (Dueck v. Lee) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2016 collision which the Defendant admitted fault for.  The crash resulted in mild/moderate soft tissue injuries some of which lingered and led to chronic pain.   The prognosis for full recovery was poor.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 Mr. Justice Giaschi made the following findings and provided the following reasons:

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$150,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic Pain and Somatic Symotom Disorder

Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court assessing damages for chronic physical and psychological injuries following a vehicle collision.

In the recent case (Verjee v. Dunbrak) the Plaintiff was involved in a rear end collision in 2009 on Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Bridge.  The Defendants admitted fault.   She suffered chronic soft tissue injuries and subsequently developed psychological symptoms including depression and a somatic symptom disorder.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $150,000 Madam Justice Marzari provided the following reasons:

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$90,000 Non Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic and Partly Disabling Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries with a poor prognosis for recovery.

In today’s case (Sen-Laurenz v. Napoli) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 collision which the Defendant accepted fault for.  The Plaintiff was described as a “highly motivated and at that time physically fit 20-year-old plaintiff was attending Capilano University in North Vancouver and was in the early stages of pursuing her career goal to become a medical doctor. “.  The crash resulted in chronic soft tissue injuries which did not fully recover.  The residual symptoms were expected to be present indefinitely.  The injuries impeded her education and delayed her entry into medical school.  In assessing non pecuniary damages at $90,000 Mr. Justice Walker provided the following reasons:

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$150,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Permanent Partly Disabling Neck and Shoulder Injuries

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for permanent partly disabling injuries sustained in a vehicle collision.

In today’s case the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 rear end collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff sustained a variety of injuries including chronic headaches, neck and shoulder injuries.  These had a poor prognosis and were expected to be permanently partly disabling in her occupation as a kinesiologist.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $150,000 Madam Justice Winteringham provided the following reasons:

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$140,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Chronic SUNCT Headaches

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a rare headache disorder following two vehicle collisions.

In today’s case (Erickson v. Saifi) the Plaintiff was injured in two collisions and sued for damages.  Liability was established.  The crashes resulted in chronic SUNCT headaches along with soft tissue injuries.  The prognosis for meaningful recovery was poor.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $140,000 Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:

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$100,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Central Neuropathic Pain With Poor Prognosis

Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for central neuropathic pain caused by a vehicle collision.

In today’s case (Laliberte v. Jarma) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2015 vehicle collision.  She was a passenger in a vehicle driven by the Defendant that lost control “went through a fence and over a bump and landed in a field”.  Liability was admitted.

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$70,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Partly Limiting Chronic Pain

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic pain with partial limitations arising from a vehicle collision.

In today’s case (Rabiei v. Oster) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2016 collision.  The Defendants accepted fault.  The crash resulted in various soft tissue injuries resulting in chronic pain in the plaintiff’s neck, back and shoulder.  These injuries resulted in some impairment in the Plaintiff’s ability to work and also impacted activities outside work.  Full recovery was not expected.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $70, 000 Madam Justice Adair provided the following reasons:

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$170,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Hip Injury, PTSD, TOS and Chronic Pain

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a plaintiff who suffered a host of injuries in a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Firman v. Asadi) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collision.  The Defendant denied fault but was found liable at trial.  The collision resulted in multiple injuries including a torn labrum, thoracic outlet syndrome, PTSD and chronic pain.  Prognosis for full recovery was poor.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $170,000 Mr. Justice Verhoeven provided the following reasons:

[145]     Based upon the abundant medical evidence as well as the evidence of the plaintiff and other evidence of the lay witnesses, I find that the plaintiff’s injuries that she attributes to the MVA and as reported to the treatment providers and medical experts were caused by the MVA.

[146]     As noted, there is much overlap in the specific diagnoses found in the medical evidence.  In more general terms, the plaintiff’s injuries sustained in the MVA are: (1) left hip injury, including torn labrum, requiring surgery;  (2) TOS or thoracic outlet syndrome, requiring surgery, and with further surgery recommended; (3) whiplash injuries (myofascial pain syndrome, mechanical spine pain) and resultant chronic pain, particularly in her upper back, left shoulder, and arm; (4) left shoulder tendinopathy; (5) chronic headaches; (6) mood or psychological/psychiatric disorders, including depression, somatic symptom disorder, and anxiety.

[147]     The defendants dispute the diagnosis of PTSD, made by Dr. Schweighofer. Dr. Iso noted PTSD “symptoms”.  In the circumstances of this case, the question of whether the plaintiff fully meets the criteria for this diagnosis is of little practical consequence. Dr. Waraich noted that her symptoms meet the DSM-5 criteria for PTSD, with one exception. He states that, while a diagnosis of delayed onset PTSD could be made, in his view her PTSD symptoms are “better accounted for” by the diagnoses that he makes: depressive disorder, and somatic symptom disorder. However, he added:

…in my opinion, her future course and potential treatment of PTSD symptoms are relevant despite her not meeting full criteria for PTSD in my assessment.

[148]     The prognosis for substantial improvement is poor…

[218]     The evidence discloses that the plaintiff has suffered a very substantial non-pecuniary loss.  She is now only marginally able to continue with her former occupations, and passions in life, fitness training and barbering. Her physical and psychological injuries as outlined previously are substantial, and likely permanent to a large extent at least.  She has endured a great deal of pain and suffering, which will continue indefinitely. She has undergone two surgeries and a third surgery is likely, since it is recommended and the plaintiff says she plans to undergo it.

[219]     Her injuries and their consequences have quite dramatically affected her former lifestyle and her personality. She was previously very physically active. She participated in marathon runs and triathlons, operated a fitness business, and engaged in a number of sporting activities. She was independent and took pride in being able to support herself and her younger daughter, who continues to be a dependant. I referred earlier to the change in her personality noted by the witnesses. She is no longer outgoing, social, energetic and happy, as she was before.

[220]     Her homemaking capacity has been impacted. She testified that pre-accident she kept a tidy household. This is corroborated by Mr. MacDonald and her daughter. She no longer has the ability to maintain a tidy household. Now her house is messy.

[221]     On the other hand, she is far from completely debilitated, and there is a chance her condition will improve, with appropriate treatment.  Her pre-accident condition was not perfect, (in particular, she had symptomatic spinal degeneration, and headaches) and there was some risk that her conditions could have affected her detrimentally in future, as they had pre-accident.  They might have worsened.  …

[231]     Having regard to the case authorities I have referred to, I assess the plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $170,000.

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

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.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
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