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$50,000 Pain and Suffering for Moderate Soft Tissue Injury and Fractured Sternum

Reasons for judgement were released today awarding a Plaintiff just over $100,000 in compensation for injuries sustained in a 2005 Vernon car accident including $50,000 for non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering).
The accident occurred when the Defendant pulled out of an alleyway and struck the Plaintiff’s vehicle. The crash was significant causing the Plaintiff’s 1999 Honda Civic extensive damage.
Mr. Justice Barrow summarized the Plaintiff’s injuries as follows:
I am satisfied that the plaintiff sustained a moderate soft tissue injury to her back in the motor vehicle accident. Both Dr. Coghlan and Dr. Smart diagnosed her injury as such. Further, she sustained a fracture to her sternum. That fracture likely disrupted the soft tissues in the area of her sternum as her body compensated for the boney injury. Those injuries resulted in her being entirely unable to perform the physical labours associated with the operation of the family farm for approximately six months and continued to substantially impair that ability until the farm was sold in the summer of 2006. I am satisfied that they continue to limit her function today in the sense that she is unable to lift her grandchildren and she experiences difficulty in doing other activities that she formerly enjoyed, including keeping her house, tending to her garden and sleeping. As to the future, these limitations will likely continue although they will be moderate. I am also satisfied that she would benefit from a program of physical strengthening. While I understand her reluctance to attend a gym, that would be of benefit to her. It is not the defendant’s responsibility if she chooses not to follow her physician’s advice in that regard.
In finding that $50,000 was fair for Pain and Suffering Justice Barrow noted that “(the Plaintiff) was unable to return to farming, an occupation which was a source of enjoyment and fulfillment to her. She has suffered a loss of independence in that she is unable to keep her house to the standard that she formerly had and is forced to rely on her children to do that for her”

Moving Down to Small Claims Court

So you are injured in a BC car accident and start an ICBC claim. ICBC makes an inadequate settlement offer for your pain and suffering and you start a lawsuit in BC Supreme Court. Then, your injuries take a turn for the better and you realize your claim can adequately be dealt with more efficiently in Small Claims Court. Can you apply to move your claim down? Absolutely!
Section 15 of the Supreme Court Act allows for such an application. Specifically, s. 15 reads as follows:

Transfer to Provincial Court

15 A judge or master may transfer proceedings to the Provincial Court of British Columbia if

(a) the proceedings are within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court under the Small Claims Act,

(b) a party to the proceedings applies to the judge or master, or all parties to the proceedings agree to the transfer, and

(c) the judge or master considers it appropriate to do so.

Both Supreme Court and Small Claims Court have their own strengths and weaknesses as forums for advancing ICBC injury claims. The decision of which court to sue in is not always an easy one and it is a good idea to get a free consultation with an ICBC claims lawyer before deciding how to proceed. It is reassuring, however, to know that after you start in Supreme Court you can bring an application to transfer the proceeding to the lower court.
Today, reasons for judgement were released allowing just such an applicaiotn that is worth reviewing for anyone involved in an ICBC Supreme Court claim that is considering moving down to the Provincial Court.

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
Erik’s Philosophy

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