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"The Pain Remains Real to the Victim" Despite Low Velocity Impact

In the latest judicial demonstration that the so-called Low Velocity Impact Defence is not the law, reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, awarding damages following a motor vehicle collision.
In yesterday’s case (Sun v. Sukhan) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2009 rear end collision.  Fault was admitted by the rear motorist.  The collision caused very little vehicle damage.  The Defendant stressed this during trial.  Madam Justice Maisonville provided the following reasons addressing the value of this evidence:

[22] The damage to the vehicle was described by the assessing adjuster, with respect to the bumper, as a plastic face all warped, and a gross total damage of $927.31 was found including all taxes. Total labour costs were estimated to be $607.20.

[23] From the pictures that were put in evidence on the summary trial, the vehicle appeared to have sustained only minor damage, but again that does not mean that the plaintiff did not suffer genuine injuries, nor is it the case that with soft tissue injuries there is always a physical presentation that can be seen or felt. The pain remains real to the victim of the accident, and his credibility is not an issue on this application.

The Court went on to find that the collision caused soft tissue injuries that largely resolved after 21 months but continued to occasionally flare.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $20,000 the Court provided the following reasons:

[55] In all of the circumstances, I find while the plaintiff’s injuries had largely resolved within one year and nine months, he has some ongoing complaints of pain, coupled with his inability to perform certain activities as a consequence of his fear of causing flare-ups to his lower back such as carrying heavy objects.

[56] Taking evidence as a whole, I find that the plaintiff has, on a balance of probability, proved he was injured from this accident for one year and nine months and that he presently has some minor complaints on occasion relating to his lower back and neck, but that these are not preventing the plaintiff from enjoying his pre-accident state of health and activity level.

[57] I award the following:  Non-pecuniary  damages: $20,000

For more on this topic you can click here to access my archived posts addressing ICBC’s Low Velocity Impact Policy.

bc injury law, Madam Justice Maisonville, Sun v. Sukham