Co v. Watson, 2010 BCSC 950
July 26, 2011- At the intersection of Hemlock and Broadway in Vancouver, Ms. Co who was a passenger was injured when another vehicle driven by Mr. Watson went through a red light and struck the passenger side of her vehicle. The injury claimant suffered soft tissue whiplash type injuries to her neck, shoulders low back and headaches.
The claimant missed 20 days from work and was found by the judge to have returned to her normal recreational and athletic activities within about one year of the accident. The Judge was unable to reach the conclusion that her condition was chronic nor could he conclude that there has been a severe and adverse affect on the leisure activities of the claimant. She was awarded $27,500 for her pain and suffering and $2,000.00 for her past income loss.
The judge was however satisfied that there is a real and substantial possibility for diminished earning capacity. While the claimant was able to return to her pre-accident employment without loss of average yearly income, it is only through an accommodating employer and work environment that she has yet to suffer a loss. The judge found that the personal injury claimant has lost the ability to take advantage of all job opportunities that might be open to her in the future, she is less marketable as an employee to potential employers as they will have to accommodate her physical needs and she is less valuable as a person capable of earning income in a competitive job market. She was awarded $35,000.00 for this possible future loss.
In all the judge awarded Ms. Co. the following:
(a) Pain and Suffering: $ 27,500.00
(b) Loss of capacity: $ 35,000.00
(c) Past wage loss: $ 2,000.00
(d) Out of Pocket Expenses: $ 500.00
TOTAL: $ 65,000.00
This case was considered by the court in an ICBC personal injury mitigation case I reviewed and is still good law at the time of this update. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness
Issue: At what point following an injury should the injury be called “chronic”?