Courts Do Not Share ICBC's Views About Low Velocity Impact Injuries
As discussed many times, the ‘low velocity impact‘ defence is not particularly compelling and is often judicially frowned upon. Certainly there is no legal principle which states that minimal impact forces result in no compensable injuries. This was demonstrated yet again in reasons for judgement released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In last week’s case (Sourisseau v. Peters) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2007 collision. Fault was admitted by the Defendant. The Defendant advanced the LVI Defence highlighting that the impact caused under $1,000 in repair costs to both vehicles and further that the impact was likely at speeds below 8 kmph. With this evidence in hand the Defendant argued that the plaintiff “sustained no compensable injury“.
Mr. Justice Greyell rejected this line of reasoning and found the Plaintiff was indeed injured in the low velocity impact and awarded $22,5000 for her non-pecuniary damages. In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
 While the significance of the damage sustained in a collision may be a factor with which the Insurance Corporation is concerned it is not a matter which necessarily has a direct relationship to the plaintiff’s injuries. The issue for determination is whether the plaintiff’s injuries were caused or contributed to by the accident, Gordon v. Palmer (1993), 78 B.C.L.R. (2d) 236 (BCSC); Boag v. Berna, 2003 BCSC 779.
 In this latter connection, the defendant called Mr. Goudie an engineer who testified the change of velocity at the time of the collision was probably less than 8 km/h.
 In my opinion, in the circumstances of this case, the change of velocity alone is of little significance. At the time of impact Ms. Sourisseau had her head turned sideways. The evidence clearly establishes she had had pre-existing difficulties with neck and back pain. It likely took very little by way of an impact to trigger a recurrence of that pain. The defendant called no medical evidence to suggest otherwise…
60] Accordingly, I find the plaintiff suffered pain and suffering from soft tissue injuries for approximately 14 months with the odd flare-up continuing thereafter until early 2010 when she testified she felt she had returned to her pre-accident status.
 After reviewing the authorities submitted by counsel I award the plaintiff $22,500 for non-pecuniary damages.