Tag: Rothenbusch v. Van Boeyen

$30,000 Awarded for Moderate, Lingering Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, awarding a Plaintiff damages as a result of injuries and losses from a motor vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Rothenbusch v. Van Boeyen) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2 vehicle intersection collision in Mission, BC in 2007.  The Plaintiff was making a left hand turn when his vehicle collided with the on-coming defendant.  The Court found the Plaintiff 30% at fault for failing to yield to the Defendant’s right of way and the Defendant 70% at fault for speeding, failing to keep a proper lookout and failing to take proper evasive maneuvers when he had the opportunity to do so.
The Plaintiff claimed compensation for various injuries although the Court found the Plaintiff failed to prove that some of his more serious injuries were caused by the crash.  Ultimately Madam Justice Ker found the collision caused various soft tissue injuries which did not fully recovery.  The Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) were assessed at $30,000.  In arriving at this amount Madam Justice Ker provided the following reasons:
[180] Mr. Rothenbusch was almost 81 years of age at the time of the accident.  Although retired from hog farming, Mr. Rothenbusch remained active in the community, curling two or three times a week and engaging in volunteer pastoral work at a senior’s lodge and visiting people in the hospital. He also helped a friend at a berry farm by planting and pruning throughout the year and in picking berries during the summer season. In addition to being a hog farmer, Mr. Rothenbusch worked in construction and as a plumber and continued to do his own home repairs and helped others in this area….

242] In the end, the totality of the evidence supports the conclusion Mr. Rothenbusch sustained moderate soft tissue injuries to his neck, lumbar spine, left scapula and left ribs as well as cuts to his face as a result of the accident. The evidence further supports the conclusion that the major disabilities from the injuries were largely resolved by the end of December 2007. However, Mr. Rothenbusch continues to experience intermittent neck and shoulder pain as a result of the injuries from the accident, and he is still restricted in his range of motion for his neck and shoulder. These continuing symptoms have, in part, impacted on his ability to return to all his pre-accident activities….

[255] Mr. Rothenbusch continues to experience intermittent pain in his neck and continues to have difficulties with his shoulder. He is not able to engage in some of the home repair, plumbing activities or berry picking activities he enjoyed prior to the accident.

[256] Although Mr. Rothenbusch may not be as active as a younger plaintiff, it is important to bear in mind that as one advances in life, activities and pleasures sometimes become more limited. In that respect, impairment of the limited activities and pleasures which an individual can engage in becomes more serious: Williams at para. 17.

[257] Having regard to all the circumstances and taking what guidance I can from the authorities provided by counsel, I assess Mr. Rothenbusch’s non-pecuniary damages at $30,000.

In addition to the above, the decision is worth reviewing for the Court’s thorough discussion of “in-trust” claims (claims where plaintiff’s seek compensation on behalf of others who have provided them assistance with their accident related disabilities) which are set out in paragraphs 260-290 of the judgement.

ICBC Injury Claims and Your Driving History

When you are involved in a suit for damages in an ICBC injury claim can you access the opposing parties driving history?  Reasons for judgement were recently brought to my attention making just such an order.
In the recent case (Rothenbusch v. Van Boeyen) the Plaintiff claimed damages against the Defendant.  Liability (fault for the car crash) was at issue.  During the examination for discovery the Plaintiff’s lawyer asked the Defendant how many speeding tickets he had.  He could not recall exactly and indicated “one or two“.   The lawyer then asked for him to produce his driving history and he refused.
In the application for production of the Defendant’s driving history Master Caldwell of the BC Supreme Court held that “(the Defendant) was unable to provide an actual firm answer (as to how many speeding tickets he had)…The defence says that the driving pattern is not particularly relevant, unlike defence requests for previous medical records and that type of thing.  She indicates that this is a highly invasive application with respect to the privacy of the Defendant, and that unlike a plaintiff who opens their life up to investigation when they commence an action, the same cannot be said of the defence.  I am not really satisfied that that is necessarily the case, particularly in a situation where liability is at issue as it is here.  I am satisfied based on the questions asked and answered  and the form of the answers contained in the discovery transcript, that this record as sought may be producible.”
Despite ordering production of this record the Court went on to note that the same may not be admissible at trial.  Specifically Master Caldwell held that “Whether or not (the driving record) is relevant and passes the test of admissibility of trial will be up to the trial judge…I will order that the Defendant provide a copy of his driving record for a period of three years prior to the …accident”.

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
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