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$200,000 Pain and Suffering Award for Chronic Pain, Anxiety and Depression

This injury claimant was a front seat passenger travelling northbound on Highway 6, between the towns of New Denver and Playmor Junction in the Kootenay region of B.C. when the car went out of control nearing a corner, crossed the highway and came to rest in a ditch.  There were no other vehicles involved in this car accident which gave rise to an ICBC injury claim and personal injury litigation.

The boyfriend driver denied fault for losing control on the gravel shoulder but the judge found he failed to maintain control of his vehicle,  failed to exercise reasonable care and was negligent. The Supreme Court found as a result of the accident the ICBC claimant suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, bruising to her head, extensive facial bruising and injuries to her chest and other parts of her body, including her shoulder and neck area.  In the weeks immediately after the accident she suffered from the effects of the concussion and the pain from her soft tissue injuries.

In awarding this claimant, 19 years old at the time of injury, $200,000 for pain, suffering and loss if enjoyment of life ( non-pecuniary general damages) the judge commented,

[312] Ms. T sustained serious injuries in the accident.  As a young person moving into adulthood, her life was seriously thrown off-track, although for several years she did her best to forge ahead with her plans and toward her goal.  However, as a result of the injuries she suffered in the accident, she was left with debilitating chronic pain, together with an anxiety disorder and depression.  Each of these conditions aggravates the others, creating a vicious cycle.  Eventually, Ms. T was worn down and overwhelmed, and essentially gave up.  As a result of her injuries, Ms. T’s physical and emotional well-being have suffered significantly.  The effects of her injuries affected her ability to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse, a dream she was forced to abandon.  Her relationships have been seriously impaired, and she is socially isolated.  She has become dependent on narcotic medication, and even with that, her pain is uncontrolled.  Her enjoyment of life has been significantly diminished as compared to what it would have been but for the accident.  The prognosis for improvement in her physical and psychiatric symptoms is very guarded.  However, it is not hopeless.  There is some prospect that, with appropriate treatment, Ms. T will be able to better manage both her pain symptoms and her psychiatric issues, and improve the quality of her life and her functionality.

[313]  I conclude therefore that an appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages in this case is $200,000.(Turner v. Dionne,2017 BCSC 1905)

In total this 19 year old personal injury claimant was awarded $1.34 million: loss of future earning capacity in the sum of $950,000; loss of earning capacity to trial in the sum of $47,000 (net of taxes); Pain and suffering in the sum of $200,000; costs of future care in the sum of $145,489 plus her out of pocket expenses.

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

Tags: icbc case examples, Pain and Suffering

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