Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for a relatively modest neck injury arising from a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Chapman v. Zilm) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2016 intersection collision. It was described as ‘low impact’. The Defendant was found fully at fault for the crash. The impact caused a neck injury to the plaintiff which the court found was ‘persistent, enduring but thankfully quite minor‘ in its lingering consequences. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $30,000 Mr. Justice Baird provided the the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries following a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Lewis v. Wang) the Plaintiff was involved in an intersection collision in 2014. The Defendant denied fault until shortly before trial .
The Court accepted the collision caused chronic soft tissue injuries which were expected to continue into the future and were partly limiting. The Defendant called medical evidence minimizing the collison’s connections to the injuries but this was rejected. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Mr. Justice Macintosh provided the following reasons:
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic injuries sustained in a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Juelfs v. McCue) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2014 collision that the Defendants accepted fault for. The crash resulted in a variety of injuries some of which continued to linger to the time of trial and had a poor prognosis for full recovery. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Mr. Justice Riley made the below findings and provided the following reasons:
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:
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for long lasting soft tissue injuries.
In today’s case (Poulin v. Armstrong) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collision. She was a passenger at the time and was 14 years of age. The Defendant admitted fault. The crash caused soft tissue injuries to her neck and upper back which became chronic and were expected to linger indefinitely.
Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for chronic neck pain and headaches following two vehicle collisions.
In the recent cast (McCully v. Moss) the Plaintiff was involved in two separate collisions with the Defendants accepting fault for both. The collisions caused a neck injury with associated headaches which continued to the time of trial. The symptoms were expected to continue and flare with heavier household and vocational duties. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Madam Justice Devlin provided the following reasons:
 Ms. McCully is 66 years-old and she suffers some limitation and restriction as a result of her persistent neck pain and headaches caused by the accidents. However, I do not agree that the injuries have a profound or life altering affect on Ms. McCully. I do find that she continues and will continue to experience some pain and discomfort and the medical experts confirm this. Although the medical evidence does not foreclose the possibility that she can increase her work hours or certain activity levels, I find that even where she does attempt these pre-accident activities, her injuries would increase her discomfort and pain.
 While she is able to continue to work as an esthetician, she does experience discomfort if she exceeds working for a comfortable amount of time. Fortunately for her, her schedule is flexible and ultimately she is the one who will determine when she will work and for how long. While she may resort to the use of the TENS machine at the end of a long day to deal with the discomfort in her neck, she appears to be pleased to be able to continue to work for and service her clients.
 I note that she has also returned to playing bridge a few times per week and has participated in a bridge tournament over the weekend albeit with the assistance of her pain medication. Participating in these bridge games is particularly important for Ms. McCully as it provides her an opportunity to engage socially. She continues to engage with her family and while she does not take her grandchildren to the pool she does babysit them at her residence. In a similar vein as Buckle, I note that Ms. McCully’s injuries restrict her from engaging in her domestic and work activities with the same energy and ability she had before the accidents. However, as I discussed earlier, despite having the chronic neck pain and headaches she continues to travel and has done so since shortly after the accidents.
 In the following reasons, I will specifically address the parties’ arguments in relation to a segregated loss of housekeeping capacity damages. However, as I will re-state below, the impact of Ms. McCully’s injuries on her ability to perform household tasks informs my assessment of her non-pecuniary damages. I note also that she keeps a fairly large 2,900 sq. ft. house on a 12,000 sq. ft. lot. Overtime I find that Ms. McCully has been able to do some light housekeeping although she cannot do some of the more physically demanding tasks. Additionally, it is clear that she is more limited in performing yard maintenance.
 There is no doubt that her neck pain and headaches have and will continue to have an impact on Ms. McCully in every aspect of her life to varying degrees. I am satisfied that Ms. McCully is entitled to compensation for the impact the injuries have had on her general well-being.
 Having reviewed the cases provided by both parties, I assess Ms. McCully’s non-pecuniary damages at $85,000.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic soft tissue injuries following a collision.
In today’s case (Kingston v. Warden) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2013 collision caused by the Defendant. The crash resulted in chronic neck pain along with a breast injury that did not subside until surgical intervention. The Plaintiff chose to have breast augmentation during the surgery and the Court found that only a percentage of the cost of the procedure was compensable.
In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $100,000 for these injuries Madam Justice Duncan provided the following reasons:
 I find on a balance of probabilities that the accident caused an injury to the plaintiff’s neck which has not fully subsided. With a focussed exercise program and possibly some injection treatments, the plaintiff may improve but there was no evidence the neck pain would ever go away. The complaint of neck pain is subjective, but the medical experts for both parties largely agreed that the plaintiff presented with soft tissue injury to her neck.
 I find on a balance of probabilities that the accident caused the plaintiff to feel pain in her left breast which was not alleviated until after the revision surgery. I acknowledge Dr. Malpass’s expert report was not as detailed as it should have been, in that he did not include with it the depiction of asymmetry he described in his evidence. I also acknowledge that the plaintiff appears to have taken advantage of surgical intervention to increase the size of the implants and re-position her nipples, rather than simply seek to be restored to her pre-accident appearance. Nonetheless, I do not accept the plaintiff was making up the pain or concerns about asymmetry to take advantage of surgery that might be eventually covered by a damage award stemming from the accident.
 I find on a balance of probabilities that the accident intensified the plaintiff’s headaches and caused them to be more frequent, but that in the time since the accident they have essentially returned to the pre-accident level, based on her report to Dr. Sovio…
 Before the accident the plaintiff was an active, fit person. While the defendant, Mr. Warden, characterized the accident as fairly minor, I accept the plaintiff’s perception of the accident as frightening to her. The plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries in addition to a worsening of headaches. Her neck pain continues to limit her activities, although the experts have said she can return to her usual activity level, bearing in mind she may not be able to snowboard or do other activities for as long or as vigorously as before the accident. 34
 The plaintiff underwent surgery to address pain and the appearance of her left breast, which conditions resulted from the accident. The plaintiff suffered a loss of self-esteem and increased her consumption of alcohol to cope with her pain, although I cannot find she has proven an addiction to alcohol stemming from the accident. I accept that the plaintiff has isolated herself from her formerly active social life and her relationship with her husband is not as close as it was before the accident.
 In all the circumstances I am satisfied an award of $100,000 for non-pecuniary damages is fit in the plaintiff’s case.
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Prince George Registry, assessing non-pecuniary damages of $90,000 for a long standing neck injury with associated headaches.
In today’s case (Willett v. Rose) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2010 collision. At trial, some 7 years later, the Plaintiff continued to suffer from neck pain with associated headaches. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Mr. Justice Smith provided the following reasons:
 In summary, the evidence is undisputed that the plaintiff’s headaches, including migraine headaches, are more frequent since the accident. The events with which those headaches were associated before the accident–monthly menstrual periods–no longer occur. I also accept the plaintiff’s evidence that her headaches are more severe and usually associated with neck pain. All of the medical evidence acknowledges the mechanism by which neck pain can evolve into headaches, including migraines and confirms the existence of objective signs of neck injury.
 All of that evidence leads to the conclusion that, on the balance of probabilities, there is a causal link between the plaintiff’s neck pain and stiffness and her migraines. I find the neck pain and stiffness to have been solely caused by the accident.
 As for the migraines, the governing principle is that stated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Athey v. Leonati,  3 S.C.R. 458: causation is established if an injury was caused or contributed to by the accident. Given the plaintiff’s long history of migraines, it may well be that some other factor is also playing a role in their onset, but I find that the injuries the plaintiff suffered in the accident are at least a major contributing cause of the migraines she now has. Or, to use the language of the Supreme Court of Canada in Resurfice Corp. v. Hanke, 2007 SCC 7, “but for” accident, the plaintiff’s migraines would not be as frequent or severe as they now are.
 It has now been seven years since the accident. The plaintiff still experiences neck pain and stiffness as a result of the soft tissue injuries to her neck. More importantly, the neck pain is a contributing factor to serious, sometimes temporarily disabling migraines that significantly interfere with both work and recreational activities and reduce her quality of life. No improvement is anticipated in the future…
 Considering all of the evidence and the authorities cited to me, I award non‑pecuniary damages of $90,000.
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for persistent back and neck injuries.
In the recent case (Lally v. He) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 intersection collision that the Defendant accepted fault for. The collision resulted in soft tissue injuries and symptoms persisted to the time of trial. The Court assessed non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 but reduced these by 10% for the Plaintiff’s failure to follow through with an active rehab program that could have helped improve the symptoms. In reaching this assessment Madam Justice Warren provided the following reasons:  I have concluded that as a result of the accident, Ms. Lally has suffered pain and a loss of enjoyment of life, and that will continue to some extent, into the foreseeable future.  As a result of the injuries she sustained in the accident, Ms. Lally suffered from severe pain in her neck, back and shoulder for several months. The neck pain triggered headaches that, at times, were severe. Although the pain gradually improved, she has been left with less severe but persistent neck and shoulder pain as well as occasional low back pain. While she is likely to experience improvement in her symptoms with active rehabilitation, particularly with respect to the low back and shoulder, even with sustained, active rehabilitation, she will likely continue to suffer from occasional pain in her neck and, to a lesser extent, her low back and shoulder.  Ms. Lally’s pain is exacerbated by repetitive activities, heavy lifting or working at a level higher than her shoulders. She cannot sit still for long. When driving she has difficulty moving her head from side to side. When she watches television, reads or uses a computer she has to move her neck or it becomes stiff. Household chores and physical duties at work exacerbate the pain and when the neck pain is particularly bad it develops into a headache. This happens between two and five times a week and the headache lasts up to eight or nine hours. The neck pain disturbs her sleep.  The pain has affected Ms. Lally’s mood. Before the accident, her mood was good and she enjoyed spending time with her family. For the first few months after the accident she was quiet and spent most of her time resting because of the pain. She continues to spend much of her non-working time resting at home using a massager and heat pad.  Ms. Lally used to do the majority of the housework before the accident. Since the accident she has been limited to light housework such as cooking and doing dishes. She did not testify about any other impacts on her lifestyle…
 Having considered all the authorities and the factors discussed in Stapley, I assess Ms. Lally’s non-pecuniary damages at $75,000, prior to any adjustment for her failure to mitigate. For the reasons already expressed, I reduce that amount by 10% to reflect her failure to have participated in a regular, sustained program of active rehabilitation.
In the latest addition to this site’s soft tissue injury assessment database, reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, assessing damages for a lingering but not disabling neck and upper back soft tissue injury.
In today’s case (Dhaliwal v. Randhawa) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2011 collision that the Defendant was found wholly responsible for. The Plaintiff suffered an upper back and neck soft tissue injury that, while somewhat improved, continued to cause persistent symptoms to the time of trial. Despite the long lasting lingering symptoms the injuries were not expected to be disabling. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $65,000 Mr. Justice Butler provided the following reasons:  When I examine all of the evidence, I reach the following conclusions about the nature and extent of Mr. Dhaliwal’s injuries and symptoms. He suffered a soft tissue injury to his upper back and the base of his neck. He may have suffered a minor soft tissue injury to his lower back but this was resolved within six weeks of the accident. The upper back, shoulder and neck symptoms persisted for more than two years. However, by September 2013, the symptoms were significantly less serious. While the symptoms have persisted up to the present time, they do not inhibit his ability to work or carry on with activities of daily life…  When I apply the considerations to the facts I have found, I conclude that a fair award in all of the circumstances of this case is $65,000. In arriving at that assessment, it is particularly significant that Mr. Dhaliwal is young and will suffer continuing, but manageable and non-disabling discomfort in his neck, shoulders and upper back. In other words, his discomfort may continue for a long time. At the same time, the more severe neck, shoulder and upper back pain was of limited duration. Further, any lower back pain after 2011 was not related to the accident. In addition, outside the 6 to 12 months following the accident, he has not experienced a significant impairment in his lifestyle and daily activities…
 Of the cases the parties cite, Jiwani is the most similar to Mr. Dhaliwal’s circumstances. There the court found that the plaintiff suffered from back pain which had persisted for four-and-a-half years and was likely to continue. At para. 46, Sigurdson J. set out his conclusions which are similar in important respects to those which I have arrived at here:
… While I am persuaded that the plaintiff still has lower back pain, I am not satisfied that he is as seriously injured as he contends. The plaintiff’s soft tissue injury to his lower back has persisted but I find that in due course any back pain will improve and if it persists will be of a type that causes modest discomfort and requires him to change positions and not sit for too long.
 In a similar vein, I have concluded that Mr. Dhaliwal still suffers upper back pain but I have not accepted that the pain is as serious as he contends or that the low back pain was caused by the accident. As in Jiwani, Mr. Dhaliwal continues to suffer pain which is of “a type that causes modest discomfort”. He will continue to be able to take part in all of his recreational, home and work activities. He will need to have occasional manipulations or massages to assist with management of his symptoms.
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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