LVI Collision "Like Bumping a Shopping Cart" Results in Damage Award
As I’ve discussed on many occasions, there is little credible medical evidence to suggest that a low impact collision cannot result in injury. The LVI defense fails at trial far more than it succeeds. That said, there is no denying that a claim for damages can be met with more skepticism if the triggering event is a low impact collision as opposed to a severe crash. For this reason ICBC and other insurers like to highlight the minimal forces involved when Low Velocity Impact claims proceed to trial. This was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In last week’s claim (Ryan v. Klakowich) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 collision. Fault for the crash was admitted. The collision involved minimal forces with the defendant testifying that the impact was “like bumping a shopping cart against a counter“. Despite this, and despite some reliability concerns the trial judge raised with the Plaintiff’s evidence, the Court accepted the Plaintiff sustained real injury. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $25,000 Madam Justice Ross provided the following reasons:
 Ms. Ryan’s complaints arise from a collision of very low impact, producing minimal damage to her vehicle and none to the defendant’s. Her injuries are said to be soft tissue injuries for which there are no objective indicators. In such circumstances Ms. Ryan’s credibility is of particular importance since the physicians are to large extent dependent upon her subjective reports in reaching their opinions.
 I find Ms. Ryan to be a poor historian. It is my impression that she minimized the extent and duration of the injuries she suffered in previous accidents, both in her testimony and in her reports to physicians in preparation for this litigation. She also minimized the significance of the other medical conditions with which she was dealing. It is her testimony that the burden of taking care of her mother did not interfere with her work or with her social life because her other siblings would fill in. However, this was inconsistent with what she told Dr. Anderson. He reported that she was in considerable distress concerning the care of her mother on several occasions, reporting that the disproportionate burden fell upon her and that her siblings were not providing sufficient assistance…
 The medical evidence is of limited assistance since the opinions are to a great extent dependent upon Ms. Ryan’s subjective reports. In addition, Dr. Anderson had not treated Ms. Ryan before the 2008 Accident and so had no personal knowledge of Ms. Ryan’s condition prior to the 2008 Accident. Ms. Ryan did not provide Dr. Jung with a full history. Finally, the additional investigations that Dr. Jung and Dr. Bishop recommended have not been undertaken. In the result, there is no medical opinion that bears on the causation of the neurological symptoms Ms. Ryan now complains of in her right arm.
 I accept that Ms. Ryan suffered mild to moderate soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulder girdle in the 2008 Accident. As a consequence, she experienced pain and stiffness in her neck, upper back and shoulder and headaches. I accept that these symptoms have lingered. While it is the case that many, perhaps most people, would not have suffered such injuries in such an accident, I accept that the combination of her previous injuries, scoliosis and osteoporosis would render her more fragile and susceptible of injury…
 I award $25,000 in non-pecuniary damages.