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Self Represented Litigant Awarded $30,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages for Neck and Back Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgment were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, awarding just under $50,000 in total damages for injuries and loss from a 1999 motor vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Foo v. Masardijian) the Plaintiff was involved in a rear-end crash on April 27, 1999.  Fault was admitted by the rear motorist.  The trial involved an assessment of damages.
The Plaintiff represented himself.  He was seeking “an award of one-half to one million dollars“.  He sought this figure apparently on the basis that his accident related injuries were ongoing by the time of trial.  This was rejected by the Court which held that some of the Plaintiff’s perceptions about his injuries were “completely mistaken“.
Madam Justice Baker had issues with respect to the Plaintiff’s reliability as a witness as he testified to a series of post accident events which were “sufficiently bizarre and inherently improbably to cast doubt on the accuracy of (the Plaintiff’s) perceptions.”
Ultimately Madam Justice Baker awarded the Plaintiff $18,000 for past loss of income and $30,000 for his non-pecuniary damages.  In justifying this figure the Court summarize the Plaintiff’s accident related injuries as follows:

54] Mr. Foo did experience pain and discomfort, particularly in the first 18 months following the accident and some intermittent neck and lower back pain after that time.  Although I am not persuaded that the disability perceived by Mr. Foo after September 2000 can fairly be attributed to the accident injuries, Mr. Foo did experience discomfort and some degree of disability for a period of about 18 months with some lingering intermittent symptoms after that time.

[55] It does not appear that Mr. Foo engaged in many recreational activities before the motor vehicle accident as he was working 7 days a week in his restaurant.  He did testify that driving long distances caused some discomfort and this applied to driving to Seattle on some Saturday afternoons to attend a Buddhist temple there.  Mr. Foo eventually began attending a temple in the Lower Mainland where he now volunteers at least one day a week as a cook.

[56] This case does have some unique aspects, as Mr. Foo has developed certain perceptions about his injuries and about certain treatment he has received that I am persuaded are completely mistaken.  I am not satisfied that the defendant can be held to be responsible for these mistaken perceptions and therefore include no compensation for the injuries or slights Mr. Foo believes were visited upon him by the defendant’s insurer.

[57] Considering all of the circumstances, I award Mr. Foo the sum of $30,000 for damages for pain, discomfort and loss of enjoyment of life.

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