Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic and disabling injuries following a fatal motor vehicle collision.
In this week’s case (Kempton v. Struke Estate) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2015 collision. He was operating a tractor trailer when the Defendant, travelling in the opposite direction, crossed the centre line resulting in a head on crash. The collision killed the Defendant instantly. The Plaintiff suffered few physical injuries but sustained post traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) as a result of the horrific crash. This condition disabled him and was not expected to improve.
In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $200,000 Mr. Justice Crerar provided the following reasons:
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:
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:
Adding to this site’s archives of psychiatric injury assessments, reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic depression and somatic symptom disorder.
In today’s case (Broomfield v. Lof) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2014 rear end collision. The impact was “significant” and the Defendant admitted fault.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a Plaintiff’s injuries and rejecting expert evidence retained by ICBC.
In today’s case (Wong v. Draaistra) the Plaintiff was injured in two separate collisions. Fault was admitted by the Defendants for the crashes. In addition to physical injuries the Plaintiff developed “psychiatric or emotional problems that have likely increased and prolonged her physical pain, and have caused her life to shrink to near-isolation in an unmaintained home behind almost permanently closed blinds“.
Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for chronic and disabling psychiatric injuries.
In the recent case (Gill v. Aperdoorn) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2015 collision. The Defendant admitted liability. The crash resulted in severe depression and PTSD. The injuries were disabling and the prognosis for further improvement was not optimistic. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $200,000 Madam Justice Gropper provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for the victim of a hit and run collision.
In today’s case (Crozier v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2013 collision caused by an unidentified motorist. ICBC admitted statutory liability for the crash. The Plaintiff suffered both physical and psychiatric injuries which were partially disabling and had a poor prognosis for full recovery. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $125,000 Mr. Justice Saunders provided the following reasons:
 The physical and psychological injuries Ms. Eros suffered include pain in the neck, back, shoulders, rib and chest; headache; dizziness and nausea; post-traumatic stress disorder, together with symptoms of depression and anxiety; fatigue, and problems with concentration and memory, either as a result of a mild traumatic brain injury (not confirmed through neuropsychological testing), or a combination of the physical and psychological/psychiatric injuries. Ms. Eros suffers from some residual headache and rib and chest pain. Fatigue remains a concern. She has significant chronic pain in the thoracic spine, and her psychological injuries continue. She is significantly disabled from working fully in her chosen field of massage therapy, and from engaging in physical labour of the type she did with SCRD. Her physical activity is limited. She can only do light housework.
 I also consider the following factors as particularly influential in the damages award. Ms. Eros avoids driving where possible. She is not the joyful, outgoing person she used to be. Her self-identity as a strong and fearless person is gone. She lost the chance of pursuing her relationship with Mr. Johnson. Her relationship with her mother deteriorated after the accident. She is more socially isolated.
 The defendant’s suggested range of $60,000 to $80,000 for Ms. Eros’ non-pecuniary damages, and the case law submitted in support of an assessment in that range, are premised on the substantial improvement of Ms. Eros’ physical injuries within 12 months of the accident, and of the psychological injuries within 18 months. The defendant’s submissions do not come close to acknowledging the devastating psychological effects of the accident, the continuing functional limitations imposed by the plaintiff’s pain, and the complex interrelationship of the pain condition and the post-traumatic stress disorder…
 I find an appropriate award of non-pecuniary damages is $125,000.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for an aggravation of a pre-existing psychiatric condition from a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Hrnic v. Bero Investments Ltd.) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collison that the Defendants accepted fault for. The crash caused both physical injury and an aggravation of a pre-existing somatic symptom disorder. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice Saunders provided the following reasons:
 I find the plaintiff suffered physical injuries in the accident. I am not persuaded that the purely physical injuries were significantly disabling in respect of the plaintiff’s activities of daily living, or her employment, for more than approximately 18 months following the accident. There is no reason to believe that there is a physical, i.e. orthopaedic or neurological, cause of Ms. Hrnic’s current symptoms.
 However, I find that the plaintiff also suffered at the time of the accident from a pre-existing, but not disabling, psychiatric condition – somatic symptom disorder – that was aggravated by the accident, and which, superimposed on the actual physical injuries she did temporarily suffer, has become functionally disabling.
 I do not find any real or substantial possibility that the pre-existing somatic symptom disorder would have become disabling, but for the subject accident. In that respect, the defendants “take the victim as they find her”, and there is no discounting of the defendants’ degree of liability on account of the plaintiff’s original position as regards the claims for loss of past and future earning capacity.
 Given the longstanding nature of the plaintiff’s disorder, and given her resistance to recommended medical treatment, I find it likely that her disability will not substantially improve up to her previously planned retirement age of 65, and beyond. There is some possibility that Ms. Hrnic may undergo some spontaneous improvement, and some possibility that she may elect some form of medical treatment that will benefit her. But these are very modest possibilities, and are properly accounted for as contingencies through very modest reductions in damages…
 I award the plaintiff non-pecuniary damages of $85,000.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Prince George Registry, assessing damages for chronic psychological injuries following a collision.
In today’s case (Chevalier v. Gray) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 collision. It was a t-bone type impact and the Defendant accepted fault.
As a result of the crash the plaintiff suffered a major depressive disorder along with conversion disorder with accompanies seizures. Prognosis for full recovery was poor and the injureis were partially disabling. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $105,000 Mr. Justice Tindale provided the following reasons:
 In this case the plaintiff suffered musculoligamentous strains of the cervical spine as well as mild headaches, a mild strain of the thoracic area and a muscular strain of the lumbar spine. She also sustained a wrist injury.
 The defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff to take reasonable care to avoid causing her physical and mental injuries.
 The plaintiff certainly had pre-existing vulnerabilities to her mental health. Dr. Tomita however opined that the MVA was a predominant cause of both her conversion disorder and major depression. Dr. Udamaga opined that the MVA was a predominant factor that precipitated a decline in her mental health leading to a diagnosis of conversion disorder.
 The evidence discloses that the plaintiff thought her vehicle was on fire when she was trying to extricate her elderly mother from the vehicle. She developed a sense of guilt about causing her mother’s injuries and ultimate death even though she was not at fault for the MVA.
 Both Dr. Tomita and Dr. Udamaga testified that it was unlikely that the plaintiff would have developed conversion disorder absent the MVA.
 The evidence discloses that the effects of the mental injuries to the plaintiff have been pronounced, long-lasting and debilitating.
 The evidence also discloses that symptoms of the conversion disorder in the form of the plaintiff’s legs twitching regularly and for a prolonged period of time and as Mr. Chevalier described her shivering as if she was cold started shortly after the MVA. These symptoms became very pronounced in September 2014.
 Taking into account all the evidence on this case the MVA was a material contributing cause to the plaintiff’s physical injuries and to her psychological injuries. The plaintiff was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident where she was physically injured and witnessed her ailing mother being injured. It is reasonably foreseeable that the plaintiff would suffer psychological injury.
 But for the MVA the plaintiff would not have received the physical injuries that she did as outlined by Dr. Laidlow and would not have developed a major depressive disorder and a conversion disorder with seizures…
 Taking into account the plaintiff’s condition prior to the MVA, the plaintiff’s injuries and poor prognosis, the effects that her psychological injuries have had on her personal and work life and the case authorities provided by the plaintiff an appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages is $105,000. This takes into account the real and substantive future possibilities, both positive and negative that could impact the plaintiff’s life. In this case, it is primarily the negative possibilities caused by her pre-existing chronic pain and intermittent mood disorders that must be accounted for.
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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