Tag: TFC tear

$80,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for TFC Tear Reqiring Surgery

Adding to this site’s archives of non-pecuniary judgments for wrist injuries, reasons for judgment were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a TFC tear.
In this week’s case (Burtwell v. McCarrrey) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2009 rear end collision.  She sustained a TFC tear which required surgical intervention. In addition to this she suffered from various soft tissue injuries which continued to post problems at the time of trial.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $80,000 Madam Justice Fisher provided the following reasons:
[42]         I am satisfied that the plaintiff has proved that she suffered the following injuries as a result of the accident of January 20, 2009: (1) TFCC tear in the right wrist and aggravation of arthritis in the right CMC joint; (2) strain and tendonitis in the right shoulder; (3) soft tissue injuries to the neck and upper back; and (4) some depression and anxiety…
[51]         In summary, the TFCC tear caused considerable pain but was substantially resolved within 18 months of the accident, leaving an ongoing loss of strength and mild restriction in flexion; the CMC joint arthritis continues to be painful, will likely progress, and limits the use of the right hand; the shoulder injury also caused considerable pain for over three years, was significantly resolved by May 2012 and there is a good possibility for a more complete recovery by about January 2014 (four years post-accident); the neck and back pain resolved within four months and continues to flare up but will likely improve once Ms. Burtwell engages in a reconditioning program; and the depression is well controlled with medication and is likely to improve with additional counselling, after which medication may no longer be necessary…
[57]         It is always difficult to apply the facts of one case to another, as no two cases are really alike. In general, the awards at the $90,000 to $100,000 level were for injuries that had more serious long term effects than the injuries I have found Ms. Burtwell to have suffered, and the awards at the lower level were for similar injuries that had less impact. In my view, an appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages in this case, taking into account Ms. Burtwell’s pre-existing conditions, is $80,000.

$65,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For TFC Tear and Mechanical Back Pain

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a wrist and back injury sustained in a collision.
In last week’s case (Rutter v. Allen) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2006 collision.  The Defendants were found at fault for the rear-end crash which caused about $18,000 in damage to the Plaintiff’s vehicle.
The Plaintiff sustained a left wrist Triangular Fibrocartilage Tear (a tear to the cartilage at the base of the wrist joint) and soft tissue injuries to the low back.  The TFC tear required surgical correction.

The low back pain became chronic and continued to cause discomfort at the time of trial.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $65,000 Mr. Justice Joyce provided the following reasons:
[26] Mr. Rutter alleges that he sustained an injury to his wrist as a result of the accident, specifically an “ulnar carpal impaction with a tear of the triangular fibrocartilage”. In January 2010, Dr. Perey, an orthopaedic surgeon, operated on Mr. Rutter’s wrist to shorten the ulnar bone, which largely resolved the problem with the wrist, although Mr. Rutter testified that he still had occasional sharp pains in his wrist…
[40] In my view, there is a body of evidence, which I accept that supports the opinions of the medical experts. The evidence as a whole supports a finding, on balance, that the accident was the underlying cause of the problem and that but for this accident, Mr. Rutter would not have developed the wrist problem that was eventually corrected by surgery…

[52] Mr. Rutter has an underlying spondylolisthesis, which is a condition in which the vertebrae are out of proper position, but this was largely asymptomatic prior to the motor vehicle accident.

[53] I find that Mr. Rutter’s suffers chronic back pain that was caused by the accident of December 15, 2006. I find further that it is unlikely that he will return to his pre-accident level of activity, although it is likely that he can achieve some improvement with regular exercise, including core muscle strength training…

[65] Mr. Rutter led a very active life before the accident and was involved in a number of sports, particularly golf and running. His injuries, particularly the back injury, have led to a significant change in lifestyle for Mr. Rutter. Since the accident, Mr. Rutter has had to reduce his sporting activities substantially. He is also curtailed somewhat in his day-to-day activities, including assisting with housework and household maintenance. He has difficulty sleeping and, at times, is more irritable than he was before the accident. Fortunately, Mr. Rutter has been able to maintain his full-time employment despite his symptoms. I am satisfied that Mr. Rutter finds his life today more frustrating and less enjoyable than previously. Mr. Rutter suffers chronic back pain that is likely to continue well into the future, although Dr. le Nobel is of the opinion that if Mr. Rutter engages in an exercise regime that is developed and maintained with the assistance of a physiotherapist and kinesiologist some improvement in his symptoms is probable…

[77] In my view, the chronic low back pain which Mr. Rutter experiences has a more significant impact on his life and the prognosis for significant improvement is not as good as was the case inMawji and Perez. In my view, the authorities cited by Mr. Rutter are more representative of an appropriate range of non-pecuniary damages considering the nature and effect of his injuries. I assess non-pecuniary damages at $65,000.00.

$35,000 Pain and Suffering Awarded for Wrist and Soft Tissue Injuries

Written reasons for judgment were released today by Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein of the BC Supreme Court awarding a Plaintiff just over $60,000 for her losses and damages as a result of a 2005 BC Car Accident.
The Plaintiff was in her mid 20’s when she was involved in an intersection crash involving a left turning vehicle. The lawyer for the offending driver admitted liability (fault) for the accident leaving the issue of quantum of damages (value of the injuries) to be addressed at trial.
The Plaintiff suffered several injuries including soft tissue injuries to her neck and lower back. Her most significant injury was a fibro-cartilage tear of her right wrist and a possible scapholunate ligament injury as well.
The Plaintiff had 14 sessions of physiotherapy which created ‘some improvement’ of her neck injury. The Plaintiff had an MRI of her wrist which revealed a tear of the triangular fibro-cartilage complex (a “TFC tear”). The Plaintiff had a cortisone injection in her wrist which offered some temporary relief. Arthroscopic surgery was also recommended by an orthopaedic surgeon but the Plaintiff elected not to have this procedure done until her son was older.
The Plaintiff’s lawyers sought just over $150,000 in damages as a result of these injuries. The defence lawyers suggested numbers were significantly lower. Such a discrepancy is common in most ICBC injury claims that go to trial.
After hearing the evidence the court awarded damages as follows:

a) $35,000.00 for non-pecuniary damages;

b) $7,812.00 for past wage loss, subject to Part 7 and statutory deductions;

c) $486.99 for special damages;

d) $20,000.00 for diminishment of earning capacity; and

e) $1000.00 for cost of future care.

The court’s discussion relating to ‘diminshed earning capacity’ is worth reading for anyone advancing an ICBC injury claim concerned with future wage loss. In this case the Plaintiff was able to return to work for a period of time following the accident before leaving the workforce on maternity leave. By the time of trial the Plaintiff was retraining for a different profession. The court agreed with the defence lawyers point that this change of careers ‘is a natural progression for somebody (in the Plaintiff’s) position‘ and the court also put weight in the defence lawyer’s position that the Plaintiff ‘never worked a full year.’
The court cited one of the better known quotes from the BC Court of Appeal addressing ‘diminished earning capacity‘ which states:
Because it is impairment that is being redressed, even a plaintiff who is apparently going to be able to earn as much as he could have earned if not injured or who, with retraining, on the balance of probabilities will be able to do so, is entitled to some compensation for the impairment. He is entitled to it because for the rest of his life some occupations will be closed to him and it is impossible to say that over his working life the impairment will not harm his income earning ability.
The court concluded that only a ‘modest award‘ was appropriate for the Plaintiff’s diminished capacity and awarded $20,000 for this loss.
Do you have questions about an ICBC wrist injury claim or an ICBC claim involving ‘diminished earning capacity‘ (future wage loss)?  Do you need advice from an ICBC claims lawyer?  If so, click here to arrange your free consultation with Victoria ICBC Claims Lawyer Erik Magraken (Services provided for ICBC injury claims throughout BC!)

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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.

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