Adding to this site’s archives of soft tissue injury non-pecuniary awards, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, dealing with a chronic ‘moderate’ low back injury.
In last week’s case (Schafer v. Whitely) the plaintiff was involved in a 2010 collision. Although liability was disputed the defendant was found fully at fault at trial. The plaintiff suffered various injuries which improved by the time of trial with the exception of a low back injury of moderate severity which continued to pose problems. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $70,000 Mr. Justice Halfyard provided the following reasons:
 There is no dispute about the nature of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the accident. She suffered minor injuries to her left knee and to her face, and experienced some headaches. These injuries, and the headaches, had resolved within a month or so after the accident.
 I find that the plaintiff sustained injury to the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal structures of her neck and lower back. The injury to these structures has caused pain in the plaintiff’s neck and low back. By the time of trial, the plaintiff’s neck pain symptoms had resolved, but she continues to experience pain in her low back on an intermittent basis.
 I find that the impact of the collision was violent and that the forces exerted on the plaintiff’s body were capable of causing, and did cause significant injury. Although the medical experts did not offer an opinion as to the severity of the injury, I find that the injury was at least moderate in severity…
 In my opinion, having regard to the facts I have found, a fair and reasonable amount of damages for non-pecuniary loss would be $70,000, and I order that the plaintiff be awarded that amount under this head of loss.