Pain and suffering Court awards in BC
personal injury accidents - sample cases
How have courts valued pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life as "compensation" awarded
in Personal Injury Cases in 2014 - Sample Summaries
by: Rose Keith, BA JD, Vancouver BC personal injury lawyer - first published 2014.01
In each edition of According to Rose Newsletter by Rose keith JD, at RoseKeith.bc.ca
we summarize the courts decisions on
awards for pain and suffering or "non-pecuniary"
damages in personal injury
cases. The general principle behind
awards of damages is that they are
made to compensate a plaintiff for the
pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of
life that they suffer as a result of the
injury. The award is meant to put to
the plaintiff in the position that they
would have been in if they had not
been injured in the accident. A primary
consideration is how the injury has
changed the person's life.
of the person's life and health prior to
the injury is a central part of the assessment.
Our courts also strive for consistency
among awards; therefore, an
understanding of what has been
awarded in past similar cases informs
an assessment of what is likely to be
awarded in the future.
Sample Awards in 2014
Loft v. Nat, 2014 BCCA 108
of Appeal confirmed an award of
$40,000 made to a 46 year old plaintiff
who had suffered soft tissue injuries to
his neck, back and shoulders in an October
2007 motor vehicle accident. At
the time of trial five years after the accident,
the trial judge found that he had
largely recovered two years after the
Pan v. Shihunda, 2014 BCSC 504
year old plaintiff was injured in two
motor vehicle accidents occurring approximately
18 months apart. The trial
judge found that the evidence established
that the accidents aggravated his
pre accident low back and shoulder
pain and that he continued to suffer
from low back and shoulder pain that
was greater in degree than it was prior
to the accidents.
Because his back
problems were symptomatic prior to
the accident the judge found that there
was a 25 percent chance that the plaintiff's
pre-existing conditions would
have interfered with his life to the same
degree had neither accident occurred,
warranting a 25 deduction in the award
of damages. Given this the judge
awarded $40,000 for pain and suffering.
The trial occurred five years after
the first accident.
Lawson v. Kirk, 2014 BCSC 461 .
year old plaintiff suffered a neck and
back soft tissue injury in a motor vehicle
accident which occurred four years
prior to the trial.
At the time of trial
she was continuing to experience
symptoms associated with that injury.
She was awarded $45,000 for pain and
Klim v. Purdy, 2014 BCSC 578
- the 53
year old plaintiff suffered neck and left
shoulder pain as well as headaches following
a motor vehicle accident in
2010. The trial judge found that for the
first two years after the accident, the
plaintiff had neck and shoulder pain
and severe headaches almost daily and
for the first two months following the
accident his pre existing low back injury
was aggravated. At trial, the plaintiffs
symptoms had improved but had
not resolved and were not expected to
in the future.
The evidence established
that his symptoms were chronic and
his injuries were a permanent disability.
The effect of the chronic symptoms
and permanent disability were found
by the trial judge to be substantial. An
award of $65,000 for pain and suffering
Parhar v. Dawe, 2014 BCSC 580
year old male plaintiff was awarded
$85,000 for pain and suffering for injuries
sustained in a motor vehicle accident
which occurred six years prior to
trial. At the time of trial it was found
that he clearly had ongoing problems
with his neck, left shoulder, lower back
and leg and the evidence established
that he would likely continue to suffer
pain and be restricted in his physical
abilities into the future. The trial judge
found that there was a high likelihood
that, notwithstanding the recommendations
made for continued treatment,
there would be no significant recovery
in his lower back, neck and right shoulder
Lewis v. Scheer, 2014 BCSC 573
- the 48
year old female plaintiff was awarded
$70,000 for pain and suffering for injuries
she suffered in a 2010 motor vehicle
accident. The injuries were soft tissue
in nature and involved her back,
shoulders and neck and left her with
chronic pain and headaches. The medical
evidence established that she would
be left with ongoing pain although it
may diminish if she followed recommended
treatment. Her injuries and
pain were found to affect and would
continue to affect her enjoyment of life,
family and social relationships and lifestyle.
Mosimann v. Guliker, 2014 BCSC 492
The 55 year old female plaintiff was
injured in three motor vehicle accidents
occurring over the course of five years.
At the trial to assess damages for all
three accidents she was awarded
$120,000 for pain and suffering. The
trial judge found that her main problems
continued to be post traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD), pain and sensitivity in
her nose which she had fractured in the
first accident, as well as constant pain
in her neck, left thoracic spine and
shoulder blade area and left shoulder.
The nose fracture was treated surgically.
The trial judge concluded that there
was potential for improvement in the
post traumatic stress symptoms.
D.(J.) v. Chandra, 2014 BCSC 466
$100,000 for pain and suffering was
awarded to a female plaintiff who was
17 years old and in grade 12 at the time
of a first motor vehicle accident and in
fourth year university at the time of the
second accident. The trial judge found
that as a result of the injuries suffered
in the accidents the plaintiff went from
being extremely athletic and competitive,
involved in many activities to one
where she had to give up many activities
and limit her involvement in many
more. She was more socially restricted
and suffered from low mood. She had
constant pain and had trouble sleeping
Michael v. Bayfield, 2014 BCSC 1602 .
29 year old male was injured in a motor
vehicle accident in September 2009.
Following the accident he experienced
low back pain, neck pain and headaches.
At the time of the trial almost
five years later the judge found that his
main complaint was constant low
grade neck pain, associated with headaches
which would become severe approximately
twice per month. $65,000
for pain and suffering was awarded.
Kuras v. Repo, 2014 BCSC 1634 .
female plaintiff was 31 years old when
she was injured in a rear end motor
vehicle accident which occurred 4 years
prior to trial. The motor vehicle accident
resulted in neck and back pain as
well as headaches. She was awarded
$80,000 for her pain, suffering and loss
of enjoyment of life. The judge found
that she was now restricted in her enjoyment
of many aspects of her daily
life, and would likely continue to be
constrained by her symptoms, which
intruded with varying frequency and
intensity. In addition, she could no
longer engage in activities: running,
long-distance cycling, and hiking .
which she relied on for her emotional
well-being and which were key elements
of her family life.
Article author: Rose Keith, LLB, former President of the B.C. Trial Lawyers Association (www.tlabc.org, and is well known Vancouver personal injury lawyer. See www.rosekeith.bc.ca - first published 2014 - republished in BCpersonalinjury.org
Rose Keith, JD
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Rose Keith - published in www.bcpersonalinjury.org
see also Rose's article on Motorbike Insurance in BC
read article Survivors guide to ICBC: Understanding basic procedures, rights & obligations when dealing with ICBC
See also article Intro. to damages compensation from personal injury by Vancouver lawyer Bruce Lemer
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