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Tag: Stull v. Cunningham

$85,000 Assessment for Permanent, Partially Disabling Soft Tissue Injuries

Adding to this site’s archived caselaw addressing soft tissue injuries, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Nanaimo Registry, assessing damages for such an injury with permanently partially disabling consequences.
In last week’s case (Stull v. Cunningham) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2009 collision.   Fault was admitted by the Defendant.  The collision was significant and the Plaintiff caused soft tissue injuries to the Plaintiff’s back and neck.  These continued to be symptomatic by the time of trial and were expected to continue in the future.  The Plaintiff worked as a tradesman and the injuries interfered with his physical abilities at work.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice MacKenzie provided the following reasons:
[91]         Having regard to the totality of the circumstances, I accept the evidence of the plaintiff that he still suffers reasonably moderate neck and back injuries and that this has affected, to a certain degree, his ability to do the same type of work around the house that he once enjoyed, that it has affected his recreational activities to a modest extent, and most significantly, his ability to perform at full capacity in his chosen occupation.
[92]         I accept that Mr. Stull is permanently partially disabled because of the injuries incurred in this accident and that his pain is constant and relatively significant. I find that the injuries he suffered in the accident have prevented him from doing all of the installation work he used to be able to do throughout his full work day.
[93]         I also accept the evidence of both Mr. and Mrs. Stull that the financial impact of the motor vehicle accident caused significant stress and disharmony in their marriage.
[94]         I also agree with counsel for the plaintiff that, by their very nature soft tissue injuries are not always manifested by objective signs. Complaints of soft tissue pain and headaches are subjective in nature. I do note, however, that Dr. Martin saw Mr. Stull in late May 2012 and noted “a mild decreased range of motion.” I accept Mr. Stull’s evidence with respect to the ongoing significance of these symptoms and find that they were caused by the accident and are not a result of normal wear and tear on a back that had been traumatized many years before.
[95]         Given the totality of the circumstances, I am satisfied a fair and reasonable assessment of non-pecuniary damages would be $85,000.