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Tag: Dolha v. Heft

BC Supreme Court Criticizes ICBC LVI Defence as having "no scientific justification"

As frequently discussed, the Low Velocity Impact (LVI) defence has been criticized many times by the BC Supreme Court.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating yet again that the LVI defence is not a recognized legal principle.
In today’s case (Dolha v. Heft) the Plaintiff was involved 2008 rear end collision.  Fault was admitted.  The Plaintiff suffered a “mild to moderate” whiplash injury which resolved in several months.  The Court awarded the Plaintiff $7,000 for non-pecuniary damages.  Prior to doing so the Court criticized the LVI Defence as having “no scientific justification“.  In assessing damages Madam Justice Bruce provided the following reasons:

[16] Based on the evidence led in this summary trial application, I find there is no reason to doubt the veracity of the plaintiff’s claims that she suffered pain in her neck and upper back, as well as headaches and dizziness, immediately following the accident and for a period of six to nine months thereafter. Moreover, there is no evidence to contradict Dr. Samaroo’s opinion that these symptoms arise from soft tissues injuries caused by the accident. There is no scientific justification for concluding that a low velocity collision is incapable of causing injuries. The minor nature of the collision is only one factor to consider when assessing the severity of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. While the medical evidence before the court is primarily based on the subjective complaints of the plaintiff, there is no evidence that the plaintiff’s symptoms continued beyond what would normally be expected for these types of soft tissue injuries. Thus the caution expressed in Butler and Price is not relevant on the facts of this case….

[19] Turning to the factors relevant to the assessment of non-pecuniary loss, it is apparent that the injuries suffered by the plaintiff were of a minor nature. While she experienced pain and required medication to alleviate this symptom, the plaintiff had full range of motion in her back and her neck throughout her convalescence. In addition, the symptoms experienced by the plaintiff were not sufficiently severe that she required passive modalities such as physiotherapy, massage therapy or chiropractic manipulation. The plaintiff last saw her doctor for pain due to accident-related injuries in late November 2008, some five months after the collision. The plaintiff’s injuries resolved entirely after a relatively short period of six to nine months. The headaches persisted for about a year; however, they decreased in intensity and severity over time. The plaintiff has no residual effects from the injuries. Lastly, the plaintiff’s lifestyle was only moderately impacted by the injuries. She was unable to run for a couple of months.

[20] The plaintiff suffered some emotional anxiety as a result of the accident and had sleep difficulties. The sleep problem resolved quickly and the increased anxiety was modest in severity and did not persist over a lengthy period of time.

[21] Lastly, the plaintiff is a relatively young woman who does not suffer from any particular emotional or physical condition that rendered or could have rendered the injuries she suffered more disabling.

[22] Having regard to the range of non-pecuniary damages awarded in the cases cited by the parties, and the particular circumstances of the plaintiff, I find an award of $7,000 is appropriate.