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Tag: moderate soft tissue injury cases

$70,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic "Moderate" Soft Tissue Injuries

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:
[179]     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.
[180]     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.
[181]     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…
[197]     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.

$30,000 Pain and Suffering Awarded for Mild/Moderate Soft Tissue Injuries

In a judgement released today by BC Supreme Court, Madame Justice MacKenzie awarded a total of $30,900 plus wage loss in compensation as a result of a September, 2005 rear-end accident which occurred in Langley, BC.
The Plaintiff was a 55 year old woman. Prior to the accident she suffered from back pain, particularly she had osteoarthritic changes affecting all of her lumbar discs.
ICBC, on behalf of the Defendant, called evidence trying to paint the picture of a minor accident. ICBC called vehicle estimators who gave evidence that the vehicles basically sustained minimal damage. The purpose of this is to cast doubt on the ability of a minor accident to cause injury. The theory is basically that if the vehicle damage is not significant the injuries must not be significant. This tactic is often used by ICBC defence lawyers as a result of ICBC’s Low Velocity Impact (LVI) policy.
After hearing all the evidence the court found that the Plaintiff’s pre-existing condition did not impair her previous activities, that the accident caused mild to moderate soft tissue injuries, that these injuries have resolved somewhat by the time of trial and that there was no evidence of a minor permanent partial disability as a result of her accident related injuries. In other words, she should get better.
The court was not persuaded that a substantial possibility existed that the injuries would result in a diminished earning capacity. The court concluded that “In my opinion, with exercise and motivation, the Plaintiff will return to her condition before the accident”. In the end the court awarded $30,000 for non-pecuniary damages (Pain and Suffering), $400 for special damages (out of pocket accident related expenses), compensation for lost past income, and $500 for future care to permit the Plaintiff to pay for a 6 month gym membership with some supervision with a personal trainer.