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Tag: Fifi v. Robinson

$42,000 non-pecuniary assessment for "somewhat exaggerated" soft tissue injuries

Reasons for judgment released last week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, assessing damages for lingering soft tissue injuries caused by a motor vehicle collision
In last week’s case (Fifi v. Robinson) the plaintiff was injured in a 2008 crash.   Fault for the collision was admitted focusing the trial on an assessment of the plaintiff’s damages.
The plaintiff alleged that she suffered from significant soft tissue injuries.   She sought global damages between $271,000 and $396,000.  The court found aspects of the plaintiffs case problematic and further found that she ‘somewhat exaggerated’ her complaints.  Despite this Mr. Justice Verhoeven found that the plaintiff did suffer some injuries which were lingering to the time of trial.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages  $42,000 the court provided the following reasons for judgment:
[116]     I accept that at the time of her testimony at trial, in January 2012, in excess of three years post accident, she was still suffering from soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, shoulders, arms and hands resulting from the accident.  She has headaches but these are infrequent and of relatively short duration.  Her major ongoing complaint is of pain.  She is not at risk of developing degenerative arthritis or disc disease in future arising from the accident injuries. There is no evidence that the accident injuries will result in any long-term consequences to her health.
[117]     In view of my conclusion that her complaints are somewhat exaggerated, it is difficult to assess the true extent and degree of the plaintiff’s ongoing pain and disability resulting from the accident injuries.  What is clear to me is that they are not as significant as the plaintiff has stated.  It is also clear that other than for the first two to three weeks post-accident, her injuries have never been seriously disabling.  I note her testimony that her injuries had improved by the time she returned to work at Levan in January 2009 and had improved further when she worked at 5ive West in the fall of 2010.  I find that her injuries have gradually been improving with time…
[125]     I find that the residual effects of the plaintiff’s injuries will likely continue for one or two years from the time of trial, but will continue to diminish further with the passage of time, and with appropriate treatment such as active rehabilitation and exercise.  Following this period, any residual complaints will not be significant…
131]     Upon consideration of the whole of the evidence, in my view the sum of $42,000 represents a fit and proper amount of compensation for the plaintiff’s non pecuniary loss…