BC Supreme Court Awards $50,000 For Persistent Soft Tissue Injuries

The case of Smith v. Evashkevich, [2016] B.C.J. No. 1415, involves a 34 year old male Plaintiff who was injured in a rear end motor vehicle collision on June 8, 2010. Liability for the collision was accepted by the Defendant. The Plaintiff had been in two prior motor vehicle collisions from which he had recovered prior to the subject collision. The Plaintiff was awarded $50,000 in non-pecuniary damages for persistent soft tissue injuries to his neck, shoulders and back. Mr. Justice Steeves provided the following reasons for the award:

74 Considering the expert evidence summarized above with the evidence at trial, I conclude that the plaintiff continues to have complaints of pain and stiffness in his neck, shoulders and back as a result of the June 2010 accident. This is supported by medical findings of tenderness on palpation. The plaintiff, his family and close friends also describe the plaintiff’s discomfort with his neck and shoulders.

75 These have always been soft-tissue symptoms, albeit persistent ones. The plaintiff was prescribed with a muscle relaxant on July 5, 2010 for the accident injuries. After that he has used over the counter medication.

76 I note the comment of the defendant’s expert, Dr. Arthur, that he could find no objective findings on his examination but I also note his findings of restricted motion of the head and neck and “slight tenderness” to palpation over the right trapezius musculature. Whether this is an objective finding is a matter of debate but it is a finding of pain and limitation of movement consistent with the plaintiff’s complaints and the observations of others.

84 In summary the plaintiff continues to suffer from soft tissue injuries in the neck, shoulder and back that can be causally related to the 2010 accident. While there are flare-ups he manages the symptoms well and he does not miss work as a result of them. He does not golf or snowboard like he did before the accident and he is more withdrawn in his relationships. There is some general anxiety as a result of the chronic nature of the plaintiff’s symptoms but anything more is related to his feeling of being overwhelmed at work.

85 In these circumstances I conclude an award of $50,000 for non-pecuniary damages is appropriate.

115 The plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries from the June 8, 2010 motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of the defendant. Some of those injuries continue.

116 The plaintiff is entitled to the following damages:

(a) Non-pecuniary damages: $50,000

(b) Future income loss: $40,000

(c) Loss of housekeeping capacity: $3,000

(d) Cost of future care: $2,040

(e) Special damages: $2,600

Total: $97, 640

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