Valuing pain and suffering caused by a car accident
Reasons for judgment were released yesterday in the decision of Kingston v. Warden. This case concerned the claim for damages of a 54 year old female plaintiff who was injured in a car accident which occurred four years prior to the trial. The injuries suffered by the plaintiff in that accident and the impact of those injuries on her is described in the reasons for judgment as follows:
 Before the accident the plaintiff was an active, fit person. While the defendant, Mr. Warden, characterized the accident as fairly minor, I accept the plaintiff’s perception of the accident as frightening to her. The plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries in addition to a worsening of headaches. Her neck pain continues to limit her activities, although the experts have said she can return to her usual activity level, bearing in mind she may not be able to snowboard or do other activities for a long or as vigorously as before the accident.
 The plaintiff underwent surgery to address pain and the appearance of her left breast, which conditions resulted from the accident. The plaintiff suffered a loss of self-esteem and increased her consumption of alcohol to cope with her pain, although I cannot find she has proven an addiction to alcohol stemming from the accident. I accept that the plaintiff has isolated herself from her formerly active social life and her relationship with her husband is not as close as it was before the accident.
The trial judge found that the plaintiff continued to suffer neck pain at the time of the accident and that while there may be some improvement with further treatment there was no evidence that the neck pain would ever go away. She also concluded that the plaintiff had increased headaches for a period of time, in addition to the breast injury.
After considering cases relied upon by plaintiff’s counsel with a range of damages awarded for pain and suffering from $85,000 – $125,000 and cases relied upon by defendant’s counsel with a range of damages from $60,000 – $80,000, the trial judge concluded that an award of $100,000 for pain and suffering was appropriate for the plaintiff’s case.