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Tag: radius fracture

$80,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Fractured Wrist With Residual Complicaitons

Adding to this site’s archived database addressing damages for wrist injuries, reasons for judgement were released this week by BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with a wrist fracture following a cyclist collision.
In this week’s case (Jang v. Ritchie) the Plaintiff was walking along a trail when the Defendant “was cycling along the same trail travelling in the same direction as Mr. and Mrs. Jang. Mr. Ritchie lost control of his bicycle and drove into Mr. Jang striking him in the back“.  The Defendant was found fully at fault for the collision.  The Plaintiff broke his wrist which required immediate surgical attention and went on to cause long term limitations.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $80,000 Madam Justice Fenlon provided the following reasons:
[5]             I also find that Mr. Ritchie’s negligence caused Mr. Jang’s injuries. The injuries were fully described in the medical opinion of Dr. Melvin Serink, an orthopaedic surgeon. Dr. Serink stated in his opinion:
… [Mr. Jang] suffered a comminuted fracture involving his left distal radius and ulna. He subsequently was treated with a closed reduction and a Hoffman external fixator. Postoperatively he developed Sudeck’s dystrophy with generalized pain and swelling related to his wrist and PIP joints of his left hand. As a result of his injury, he has been left with permanent soft tissue contractures involving the PIP joints of the fingers involving his left hand. He also has been left with complaints of pain and weakness related to his left wrist associated with generalized stiffness. … [Mr. Jang] is aware of stiffness associated with loss of extension and flexion. As a result of his Sudeck’s he does have decreased power and dexterity related to the fingers of his left hand. …
His range of motion shows loss of extension and flexion by approximately 50% percent. Supination is decreased by approximately 20%. His power grip is significantly decreased secondary to generalized pain related to the PIP joints.
X-rays of his left wrist from January of this year [2012] [show] the complete loss of the space involving the radiocarpal joint. The un-united ulnar styloid is evident. The early osteophyte formation involving the distal radial styloid is also evident.
I have paraphrased slightly to insert Mr. Jang’s name and so on.
[6]             I accept Dr. Serink’s uncontradicted opinion in this case. His observations are consistent with Mr. Jang’s testimony and my own observations of Mr. Jang’s left hand, which is fixed in a somewhat claw-like position. I also find that Mr. Jang’s condition is permanent. The progressive nature of the injury-induced arthritis in his hand will, if anything, increase Mr. Jang’s symptoms as time goes by. Dr. Serink examined Mr. Jang and provided the following opinion in this regard:
As a result of the destruction of the articular cartilage involved in his original fracture, he has developed significant post-traumatic degenerative arthritis. The soft tissue contracture which occurs as a result of the Sudeck’s dystrophy will be permanent. As a result, he will be left with complaints of pain, weakness and generalized stiffness. These complaints will not significantly improve with rest, time or further physiotherapy. At the present time [Mr. Jang] is well motivated and is using Tylenol on a p.r.n. basis for pain control….
[11]         Mr. Jang was in a cast for three months and underwent extensive physiotherapy. Despite that, he continues to have constant pain. He described the pain as eight on a scale of 10. He gets shooting pains on activity. Mr. Jang manages the pain by using Tylenol 3 and heat and by massaging his hand.
[12]         Mrs. Jang touchingly described her husband of 30 years as “hard on the outside, but soft on the inside, a nice man”. She and her daughter, Angela, both described the difficulties they have observed Mr. Jang having now with even simple tasks such as opening a jar.
[13]         Counsel for Mr. Jang took me to a number of cases with somewhat similar facts including Paras v. Muirhead (1996), 71 B.C.A.C. 17; Ferguson v. All-Can Express Ltd., [1988] B.C.J. No. 78 (S.C.); Jackson v. Jeffries, 2012 BCSC 814; Lowe v. Larue, [1998] A.J. No. 1465 (Q.B.); and Kumlea v. Chaytors (1993), 76 B.C.L.R. (2d) 337 (C.A.). Counsel submits non-pecuniary damages in the range of $60,000 to $85,000 would be appropriate.
[14]         While the cases provided to me are helpful, they are not, of course, determinative. Each case must be decided on its own facts. The cases referred to me include some differences such as plaintiffs who are younger or plaintiffs with soft tissue injuries as well as a wrist injury. In many of the cases, the injuries the plaintiffs experienced were not as severe as the injury experienced by Mr. Jang.
[15]         Having considered all of the cases and the particular facts of this case, I am satisfied an award of $80,000 is appropriate for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

$85,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Wrist Fracture With Post Traumatic Arthritis

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a fractured wrist which resulted in post traumatic arthritis and permanent dysfunction.
In last week’s case the Plaintiff was struck by the Defendant’s vehicle as she was crossing the street.  Fault for the crash was admitted.  The Plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of her distal radius which required surgery.

The injury resulted in post traumatic arthritis developing which interfered with its function and was expected to cause limitations on a permanent basis.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 the Court highlighted the following medical evidence addressing prognsois and provided the following reasons:
[9] In his May 15 report, Dr. Somani states as follows:


It is my opinion that the Plaintiff has plateaued with respect to function.  She continues to have discomfort of the right wrist. Clinical examination has demonstrated reduced range of motion and reduced grip strength. Recent x-rays have confirmed probable premature osteoarthritis which may be progressive.

The Plaintiff has impairment in the abilities to self-care, housecleaning, laundry, complex meal preparation and transportation as outlined by the occupational therapy assessment.

The Plaintiff will continue to require support services which may include cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, laundry and transportation.

The Plaintiff may require specialized bracing for her right wrist and possibly an orthopedic opinion should her osteoarthritis progress in the future.

The Plaintiff will continue to require analgesia for pain management and regular assessments of her home with respect of safety features including handrails etc….

[22] On March 8, 2010, the Plaintiff was an active, independent woman of 76 clearly taking great pleasure in her life.  After her injury, she was not able to look after herself and took a long while to even get back to walking.  Now she is left with a right hand of limited use because of pain, arthritis and de-conditioning, a fear of walking on her own and significant loss of function such that she can no longer cook as she once did, or do the heavier housework.  She continues to have pain and suffering and her enjoyment of life is markedly diminished.  For that loss, I award her general damages of $85,000.