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Older Injury Claimants Still Entitled to Money for Pain and Suffering


July 29, 2010-  ICBC Injury claimants that are in their golden years often are already limited by a physical condition due to age.  However, it is inappropriate to discount an  award for pain and suffering due to a car accident simply because of the claimant’s age. 
In the case of Ha v. Fritzke  , still good law at the time of this post, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia affirmed a pain and suffering  damage judgment awarding a 69 year old woman $120,000.00. The facts of that case reveal that the claimant suffered serious injuries including traumatic brain damage and permanent vision loss in her right eye. The Honourable Madame Justice Huddart stated in the aforementioned decision,

“No legal principle requires a trial judge to determine an appropriate award of damages for a young person and then to discount the amount according to the claimant’s age or life expectancy. I agree with Madame Justice Southin that age and life experience are relevant factors to be considered by the trial judge in determining the amount for an appropriate damage award. Life expectancy may be of more significance when injuries are seemingly static.”

With respect to elderly claimants that already suffer from a disablility, again, there is no automatic reduction in what they can claim because of their disability. In Bracey (Public Trustee of) v. Jahnke, [1995] B.C.J. No. 1850 (S.C.), varied on other grounds (1997) 34 B.C.L.R. (3d) 191 (C.A.), Oliver J. captured the essence of the circumstance, with his observation that:

“To rob a disabled person of what little she has left is a monstrous injury, for that little she has is, for her, the whole of her life.” Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness

Issue:  Should elderly injury claimants received more money for pain and suffering because of their age?

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