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Tag: Triggering

$40,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Fractured Hand With “Triggering”

Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a chronic hand injury sustained in a motor vehicle collision.

In yesterday’s case (Sandher v. Binning) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2009 head-on collision on the Fraser Highway.  The Defendant admitted fault for the crash focussing the trial on the assessment of the Plaintiff’s damages.

The Plaintiff was a 35 year old construction labourer.  The collision caused closed fractures of his middle and ring finger metacarpals.

These went on to cause weakness and lack of grip in his right hand.  Eventually the Plaintiff developed triggering (causing the fingers to become stuck in the flexed position).  Surgery to treat this condition was not entirely successful.  This caused some restriction in the plaintiff’s vocational abilities.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $40,000 Madam Justice Fenlon provided the following reasons:

[21] Mr. Sandher experienced the pain of fractured bones, the inconvenience of a cast for several weeks, pain following tenoplasty surgery, ongoing hand pain and stiffness, and pain from soft tissue injuries. The soft tissue injuries largely resolved within six months of the accident with occasional flare-ups on heavy activity; I find for the following reasons that those flare ups and hand symptoms have had a relatively small impact on his day-to-day life, social activities and general enjoyment of life.

[22] In relation to the impact of the injuries on his recreational activities, the plaintiff claims that he is unable to lift weights, something the plaintiff said in his direct-examination that he did four to five times a week. However, in cross-examination, he conceded that before the accident he only lifted weights at most two to three times a week when he could find time after work. In addition, the plaintiff now has two young children, and he has less time and energy to spend at the gym, quite apart from the impact of his injuries.

[23] The other recreational activities the plaintiff claims have been affected by his injuries are walking and camping. Although Mr. Sandher continues to engage in those activities, he testified that he may walk and camp less often now than before the accident. Again, the plaintiff conceded that he does not have the same amount of time to do these activities because of his young family and the fact that he is often tired after returning from work.

[24] There was some evidence to suggest a loss of ability to do outdoor work. The plaintiff described helping his cousin Narendra Riar enclose an area below an upper level patio before the accident. That involved clearing weeds and leveling the area as well as lifting and carrying heavy paving stones, work Mr. Sandher did without difficulty. Mr. Riar and Mr. Sandher contrasted that occasion with his inability at the end of February or early March 2011 to help his cousin do similar work constructing a shed. Mr. Riar testified that the plaintiff had difficulty carrying the wood for the shed and was unable to use a hammer due to his hand injury. However, under cross-examination Mr. Sandher agreed that he had undergone tenoplasty surgery for his trigger finger only a week or two before trying to help Mr. Riar with the shed…

[27] Taking into account the differences between the plaintiff’s situation and the fact patterns in the cases relied on by the parties, I am of the view that the plaintiff should be awarded $40,000 in non-pecuniary damages…

[38] I find that the plaintiff has proved on a balance of probabilities that the injuries he sustained to his dominant hand, as well as the recurrent flare-ups of soft tissue injuries on heavy activity, have impaired his ability to work as a framer.