July 4, 2011- In this maximum injury claim for pain and suffering (Bransford v. Yilmazcan, 2010 BCCA 271)despite The Jury awarding a claimant $385,000.00 for pain and suffering and the Trial Judge reducing the amount to $327,350.00, the Court of Appeal intervened to reduce the award even further, to $225,000.00. It seems unfair that a claimant can receive a hard fought award from a Jury only to have Judges of our Court seemingly ignore the award and replace it with their own assessment. If, at the end of the day, Judges are going to decide how much money a claimant should get, why do we allow civil jury trials? However, the Court of Appeal rationalized their decision by reference to the sensible case of Boyd v. Harris:
“ … appellate courts have a responsibility to moderate clearly anomalous awards in order to promote a reasonable degree of fairness and uniformity in the treatment of similarly-situated plaintiffs. As well, outlier awards, if not adjusted, could lead to a perception that the judicial system operates like a lottery and to a consequent undermining of public confidence in the courts.”
Since this case was released and up until the time of this post this case has been referred to by the Supreme Court of BC two times(Taraviras v. Lovig and Bouchard v. Brown Bros. Motor Lease Canada Ltd.) in relation to claims for pain and suffering and is still good law.
Posted By Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B
Issue: Should jury trials be allowed in personal injury cases?