In some injury claims the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, may deny the claim based on the minimal car damage and low estimated speed of impact. However, the Court in BC has said many a time that damage to a vehicle is not a matter which is necessarily related to the claimant’s injuries.
In this ICBC low velocity impact injury case(Sourisseau v. Peters,2012 BCSC 1163) ICBC hired an engineer who testified the change of velocity at the time of the collision was probably less than 8 km/h and the impact caused minor damage to both vehicles. The claimant was a passenger travelling in a westbound direction on East Gorge Road and the car had stopped at the stop light at the intersection of Jutland Street when it was struck from the rear. As described on a ICBC “Low Velocity Impact Claim” the front bumper licence plate was deformed and there was some minor paint scuffing on the bumper cover.
In determining the appropriate compensation for the injury the Judge was quick to point out at paragraph 54:
While the significance of the damage sustained in a collision may be a factor with which the Insurance Corporation is concerned it is not a matter which necessarily has a direct relationship to the plaintiff’s injuries. The issue for determination is whether the plaintiff’s injuries were caused or contributed to by the accident, Gordon v. Palmer (1993), 78 B.C.L.R. (2d) 236 (BCSC); Boag v. Berna, 2003 BCSC 779.
The court found that the change of velocity alone was of little significance. At the time of impact the claimant had her head turned sideways. The evidence clearly established she had pre-existing difficulties with neck and back pain. It likely took very little by way of an impact to trigger a recurrence of that pain.
The judge determined that the claimant suffered pain and suffering from soft tissue injuries for approximately 14 months with the odd flare-up continuing thereafter for a number of months when she testified she felt she had returned to her pre-accident status. After reviewing the authorities submitted by the lawyers the court awarded the claimant $22,500 for her pain and suffering.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness B.A. LL.B.