Chronic Pain and Depression With Guarded Prognosis Leads to $180,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic injuries caused by a collision.
In the recent case (Ali v. Padam) the Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle struck by a commercial van. Fault was admitted by the offending motorist. The crash resulted in chronic physical and psychological injuries with a poor prognosis for substantial recovery. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $180,000 Mr. Justice Blok provided the following reasons:
 From the evidence at trial I conclude that in the immediate aftermath of the accident Ms. Ali had pain in her right chest, right wrist, right shoulder and her back. The other areas resolved reasonably soon but the back pain gradually increased to the point, three months post-accident, of periods of very severe pain. This pain worsened and she began to have symptoms in her left leg. She could not walk or stand for any extended length of time. She soldiered on at work but avoided lifting or bending, and by the end of the work day she was exhausted.
 Ms. Ali’s left leg symptoms became worse. She was now dragging her leg as she walked. Her back pain became worse as well. She had disc decompression surgery, focused on her leg symptoms, in June 2014. Her left leg symptoms improved although her back pain remained.
 Ms. Ali fell into depression, and was ultimately diagnosed with major depressive disorder. She has anxiety and nightmares and in that respect has been diagnosed with PTSD. Her chronic pain and depression combine and aggravate one another. She does little in the way of activities with her son aside from walking him to and from school. She is at least somewhat dependent on others for such things as bathing, dressing and going to the toilet.
 As noted earlier, Ms. Ali’s reports of her physical difficulties are, to some extent, at odds with her actual level of functioning, particularly as shown in surveillance video. I do not suspect she is being untruthful, but instead I conclude that she sees herself as more disabled than she actually is.
 Formerly a cheerful and active person, Ms. Ali has isolated herself from her loved ones. She is irritable and ill-tempered. Her relationship with her husband is poor. She feels a sense of worthlessness and has had thoughts of suicide. She does, however, have some good days when she is happy.
 In brief, as a result of the accident Ms. Ali has chronic pain, PTSD and major depressive disorder that combine in a debilitating fashion and have severely affected all aspects of her life. Although there is a consensus amongst the medical professionals that Ms. Ali should have and participate in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary rehabilitation program, those professionals essentially agree that her prognosis for recovery is “guarded” and her prognosis for a substantial recovery is poor.
 I conclude that the plaintiff’s cases, in particular Sebaa and Pololos, were broadly similar to the present. In both cases non-pecuniary damages of $180,000 were awarded. Accordingly, I conclude that $180,000 is a proper assessment of non-pecuniary damages in this case.
Ali v. Padam, bc injury law, chronic pain, depression, Mr. Justice Blok, PTSD