085452-scales-of-justice

Reasons for judgment were released this week in the case of Symons v. ICBC.  This case involved a claim by the plaintiff for damages that occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident that had happened on April 20, 2008.  The plaintiff was a 26 year old female at the time of the accident.  The injuries suffered by her and the effect of those injuries were described by the trial judge as follows:

[83]  The plaintiff suffered significant injuries in the motor vehicle accident of April 20, 2008 and has had a very difficult time since then.  She was only 26 years old when the accident happened and was confident and full of expectation for life.  She is presently 34 years old and faces an uncertain occupational future with some degree of pain and decreased function.

[84]  Specifically, the plaintiff’s injuries were facial bruising and contusion with continuing occasional pain and headaches, interscapular soft tissue injury with continuing intermittent pain, and disc protrusion at L5-S1 resulting in continuing pain that is intense at time and three surgeries with attendance difficulty.  She has post traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder.

[85]  The pain from the disc protrusion has been excruciating at times and resulted in a narcotic medication dependency that has only recently been overcome.  The plaintiff has been severely functionally disabled for long periods of time but has recently enjoyed a period of improvement following a third surgery that fused her spine, although the completion of fusion has not been declared.

[86]  There is no reasonable expectation of a recovery from the plaintiff’s present functional limitations.  Her prognosis remains guarded.

[87]  The plaintiff has suffered emotionally to the degree of diagnosed disorders.  She had previously been a determined and enthusiastic person but fell into a quagmire of anger, sadness, and dysfunction.  She is unable to carry on with most of her previous activities and has had to completely readjust her life.  She maintains an interest and love of horses, but not at the level that she previously enjoyed.  Regardless of her losses, the plaintiff’s indomitable spirit has helped her to look to the future with new plans involving lesser expectations of life.

[88]  The plaintiff has been unable to resume her typical recreational pursuits and has been hampered in the performance and timing of household tasks, particularly heavier work.

The Trial Judge took into consideration the cases referenced by both the lawyer for the plaintiff and the lawyer for ICBC in determining an appropriate award for pain and suffering and concluded that given the very serious nature of the plaintiff’s physical injuries with the requirement for three surgeries with resultant permanent disability and the diagnosed and continuing psychological damage, an award of $200,000 for non pecuniary damages was appropriate.