$60,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages for Moderate, Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries
Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for soft tissue injuries caused by multiple collisions.
In last week’s case (Tait v. Dumansky) the Plaintiff was involved in three consecutive collisions. Ultimately the various Defendants admitted liability or were found liable at trial. The 42 year old Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck, shoulder and back in the collisions. These injuries remained symptomatic at the time of trial and were expected to continue in the future. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $60,000 Madam Justice Gerow provided the following reasons:
 In this case, all of the medical evidence is that Mr. Tait has suffered a moderate soft tissue injuries to his neck, shoulder and back. Although Mr. Tait’s symptoms have not completely resolved, and he still experiences flare-ups when he overexerts himself physically, the consensus amongst the medical experts is that Mr. Tait will likely have further improvement.
 Dr. Arthur, the defendants’ expert, opined on March 17, 2010, that Mr. Tait is partially disabled at this point, but should be able to get back to full duty and full hours. At trial, Dr. Arthur said he was of the opinion at that time that Mr. Tait should have been able to get back to full time duties in two to four months after he examined him if he carried out an active rehabilitation program. In cross-examination he explained that did not mean Mr. Tait would not have ongoing complaints after two to four months.
 Dr. Birch, Mr. Tait’s family doctor, provided an expert report and testified. In his report of July 25, 2011, Dr. Birch diagnosed Mr. Tait with muscle tension headaches and neck, shoulder, upper, mid and low back sprain and strain with significant muscle spasm. The injuries were caused by the 2007 accident and aggravated by the accidents in 2009 and 2010. As of July 23, 2011, Mr. Tait was noted to be tender to palpation in both shoulders, upper, mid and low back bilaterally with some intermittent pain radiating down his right leg. The range of motion in Mr. Tait’s neck and low back were both moderately restricted in all directions. Although Dr. Birch expected some further improvement of Mr. Tait’s symptoms, his prognosis for full recovery is poor because of the number of injuries impacting the same area…
 In my view, the evidence establishes that Mr. Tait is suffering from ongoing symptoms of headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain as a result of the motor vehicle accidents. The evidence is that there has been ongoing improvement, with occasional flare-ups due to physical exertion, and that there should be additional improvement…
 Having considered the extent of the injuries, the fact that the symptoms are ongoing for four years with some improvement but with periods of exacerbation, the fact that the prognosis for full recovery is somewhat guarded, as well as the authorities I was provided, I am of the view that the appropriate award for non?pecuniary damages is $60,000.