Reasons for judgment were released this morning in the case of Wolford v. Shlakoff.  This case concerned the claim of the female plaintiff for damages for injuries that she suffered in a motor vehicle accident on June 30, 2014.  Liability was admitted with the only question for trial being the amount of damages that the plaintiff was entitled to.  The trial judge provided a great summary of what a plaintiff has to prove following a car accident and how damages are assessed.  In describing the law on causation, the trial judge said as follows:

[91]  Ms. Wolford must show on a balance of probabilities that but for the Accident her injuries and losses would not have occurred.  She need not show that the Accident was the sole cause of her injuries and losses, only that there is a substantial causal connection between them…

[92]  A tortfeasor takes her victim as she finds her.  A pre-existing vulnerability should not in itself reduce the defendant’s liability…This is the co-called “thin skull” rule.  The plaintiff’s burden is met if the Accident is found to have caused a pre-existing condition to become activated or aggravated…

[93]  On the other hand, the defendant need not compensate the plaintiff for any debilitating effects of a pre-existing condition which the plaintiff would have experienced anyway – this is the so-called “crumbling skull” rule…

[94]  In a thin skull situation, the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition has not manifested, or in other words is not active or symptomatic prior to the event in question.  In a crumbling skull situation the plaintiff has a pre-existing condition which is active, or likely to become active.  The pre-existing condition “does not have to be manifest or disabling at the time of the tort to be within the ambit of the crumbling skull rule”, there need only be “a measurable risk that the degenerative changes would have become symptomatic without the accident”…

[95]  A plaintiff may only be compensated to the extent that the defendant’s conduct worsened her condition, not for all of her pre-existing medical problems…

[96]  Moreover, the impact of an independent intervening event must be taken into account in the same manner as pre-existing conditions…

[97]  If the unrelated event would have impacted the plaintiff’s original position adversely, the “net loss” attributable to the accident at issue will not be as great and damages will be reduce proportionately.

The above quotation summarizes the law that is typically argues in any ICBC case.  There is generally an issue of causation, what harm or damages has the at fault driver caused?  That question is determined by taking into consideration the law as outlined above.