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Tag: Mr. Justice Baird

$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for "Moderate, Substantially Resolved" Soft Tissue Injuries

Adding to this site’s case-law archives dealing with ICBC soft tissue injury cases, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for a moderate soft tissue injury.
In this week’s case (Aubin v. Ball) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2009 collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff suffered a moderate soft tissue injury that was “substantially recovered” by the time of trial.   She continue to have some symptoms, however, and these were expected to be “here to stay“.  Despite finding that the Plaintiff  “is likely exaggerating her present difficulties to some degree” the court concluded the Plaintiff had genuine ongoing symptoms.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 Mr. Justice Baird provided the following reasons:
[105]     I think it is clear, on all of the evidence, that the plaintiff suffered moderate soft tissue injuries in the September 2009 accident and that these negatively affected her life in a variety of ways for quite some time.
[106]     There is also little doubt that her injuries have substantially resolved, to the extent that her present difficulties may be succinctly stated to be a Grade II whiplash associated disorder to her cervical spine and upper back (right side), and a lumbosacral sprain injury involving the lower lumbar spine and right sacroiliac region, with muscular pain in her right buttock and right hip region.
[107]     In most important ways, I was impressed by the plaintiff as a witness. She struck me as an intelligent and articulate person who, for the most part, had followed the directions of her caregivers and medical advisers and made creditable efforts to get over her injuries and return to her former lifestyle…
[117]     With some reluctance I find that Ms. Aubin is likely exaggerating her present difficulties to some degree. On the basis of everything I have heard from her and others, I conclude that she is doing so unconsciously without any active intention to mislead.
[118]     However I have no reason to reject the proposition, seemingly concurred in by all the witnesses, expert or otherwise, that Ms. Aubin continues to suffer from back pain related to the accident, and that this condition, in the words of Dr. Njalsson may be “here to stay”…
[129]     In recognition of the fact that Ms. Aubin was not as active in approaching recovery as she could have been, but without penalizing her for not being as robust as some plaintiffs, a just, fair and reasonable award in this case is $75,000. The defendant must take his victim as he finds her, and in this case, the accident caused a young woman who was on track in pursuing her ambitions and goals to go off course and lose some very good years of her life. This is no trivial matter.

Appeal of Criminal Conviction Deemed Sufficient Reason to Adjourn Personal Injury Trial

Interesting reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, addressing an adjournment of a personal injury trial when collateral criminal proceedings were ongoing.
In last week’s case (Gillespie v. Pompeo) the Defendant police officer shot and injured the Plaintiff.  The police officer was charged and convicted of aggravated assault.  He appealed the conviction.  Before the appeal was disposed of the Plaintiff’s injury claim was scheduled for trial.  The Defendant applied to adjourn the trial until the criminal matter was disposed of.  In finding this appropriate Mr. Justice Baird provided the following reasons:
[11]         Section 71 of the Evidence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.124, provides that a conviction that is not subject to appeal, or from which no appeal is taken, may be admitted as evidence on a civil trial as proof that the convicted person committed the offence…
[15]         Defendant’s counsel submitted that the presently scheduled civil trial in June will involve a second full trial on precisely the same evidence and issues as those already given a comprehensive airing on the criminal trial in Provincial Court. The same witnesses will be called on the issue of liability and the same defence of justification under section 25 of the Criminal Code will be advanced.
[16]         Defendant’s counsel has conceded, quite properly, that there can be no civil trial on the question of liability if the conviction stands and all appeals are abandoned or exhausted…
[19]         As things stand, the defendant has been criminally convicted of aggravated assault. There can be no assumption at this stage that a civil trial will yield a different or more accurate result. If the conviction is upheld it will be the end of the matter for the purposes of liability, and a civil trial conducted in the interval will have been a colossal waste of judicial resources and the time, money and effort of the parties and witnesses alike. Finally, dual proceedings on the same issues and facts give rise to the spectre of inconsistent verdicts, an eventuality to be avoided in the interests of maintaining the credibility of the judicial process.
[20]         For these reasons I conclude that an adjournment of the civil trial is in the best interests of justice.

$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Chronic Shoulder Soft Tissue Injury

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for a chronic shoulder soft tissue injury.
In this week’s case (Jorgensen v. Coonce) the Plaintiff was injured in 2009 when the vehicle in which he was a passenger left the roadway and collided with some trees.  The defendant admitted fault.
The Plaintiff suffered a soft tissue injury to his shoulder which remained symptomatic at the time of trial and was expected to pose continued difficulties in the future.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Mr. Justice Baird provided the following reasons:
[90]         In short, I conclude that the plaintiff suffers from chronic pain from a soft tissue injury in the area of his right shoulder sustained in the May 2009 accident. This injury is not related to the physical or functional deficits that the plaintiff continued to experience as a result of the April 2006 accident for which, as I have noted, the present defendant is not liable.
[91]         The May 2009 injury has impacted the quality of the plaintiff’s life in material measure. He has been unable to pursue his sporting and recreational activities. Worse still, his relationship with his children has suffered because of his physical limitations. He has also been affected, not only in his enjoyment of work, but in his capacity to perform his work adequately, and on all of the evidence I consider it possible that this reduced capacity played a role in his dismissal from long-term, secure, well-paying employment in the paving business…
[106]     Having due regard to the often cited factors articulated in Stapley v. Hejslet, 2006 BCCA 34 at paragraph 46 and the observations of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Lindal v. Lindal, [1981] 2 SCR 629 at p. 637, and employing a discount in light of my findings respecting the plaintiffs pre-existing injury or condition for which the present defendant is not responsible, I have decided that an appropriate award for general damages in this case is $60,000

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