What do the best serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver recommend to maximize your personal injury settlement?
Vancouver car accident claims involving serious injuries are often extremely complex. The best serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver know that a personal injury case is particularly complicated when the victim of the accident had other injuries prior to the accident. In such cases, the court will almost always rely on opinions of medical experts to assess key issues such as the long-term impacts of the “new injuries” to the victim and his/her family, and—more difficult still—how to factor the “old injuries” (or underlying conditions) into the equation. Our serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver know that preexisting injuries are often focused upon by defence lawyers at ICBC.
Serious Injuries with Underlying Conditions: Why Do You Need the Best Serious Personal Injury Lawyers in Vancouver to Maximize Your Car Accident Claim?
MacLean Law’s Vancouver serious injury lawyers have extensive experience handling serious ICBC car accident injuries resulting from car accidents, including brain injuries, paralysis, chronic pain and spinal cord injuries. Our top-rated serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver have also established excellent working relationships with the best medical experts available. We will hire the expert that is best suited to your particular needs so you heal as fully and quickly as possible and to have these experts help you maximize your money damages claim with the strongest expert evidence possible.
Our serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver provide today’s summary of a recent case called, Beardwood v. Sheppard, where the Supreme Court did a detailed analysis on the assessment of non-pecuniary damages resulting from a car accident when it was complicated by underlying degenerative conditions. This case illustrates how underlying conditions can diminish one’s claim even if he or she suffered severe injuries. Our serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver note the problem in this case was that the doctors’ opinions did not favour the victim’s claims on causation and quantum..
Jian Kang, our Mandarin speaking articled student supports and assists our serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver and he provides today’s blog article:
- On April 13, 2012, Mr. Beardwood was injured in a serious motor vehicle accident, where each vehicle involved was a total loss. The driver of the other vehicle admitted 100% liability.
- Mr. Beardwood was 36 at the time of the car accident. Prior to the accident, he was in good physical health and condition prior to the MVA. He played volleyball, skied, biked and ran several times a week. However, within a few days of the MVA, Mr. Beardwood’s neck, right shoulder and back were extremely painful. He had shooting pains down his arms. Several of his fingers became numb and his hands were weak and clumsy. His right shoulder popped in and out of its socket on a regular basis.
- Mr. Beardwood has worked in the window glazing and installation industry since 2002; but after the car accident, he found it almost impossible to concentrate on working with the pain in his neck and shoulder.
- In June 2013, on a doctor’s advice, Mr. Beardwood underwent neck surgery which involved the removal of a disc, the fusion of a vertebra and the insertion of a plate. His recuperation from the surgery was lengthy. The surgery did not decrease his pain symptoms.
- Mr. Beardwood underwent another surgery in June 2014, this time on his right shoulder. His arm was in a sling for approximately two months. Although that surgery had some success—Mr. Beardwood testified in court that his shoulder “no longer pops out of its socket”, he nevertheless continued to experience severe pain in the front and back of his shoulder.
- In January 2015, the plaintiff underwent neck surgery for the second time.
- Finally, it is worth noting that Mr. Beardwood sustained a lower back injury in 2009 while working which resulted in him receiving Workers Compensation Benefits of $11,450. He was off work for approximately six months. Not surprisingly, this injury proved to be a crucial weapon in the ICBC defence lawyers’ arsenal to diminish Mr. Beardwood’s claim for the new car accident.
- The court did a thorough analysis, balancing the severe pain and injuries that Mr. Beardwood had suffered after the car accident against the residual impact of his old injury, which, according to a legal principle called the “crumbling skull” principle, should not form part of his claim.
The Court’s Analysis for Damages for Pain and Suffering
The BC Supreme Court started with the impact Mr. Beardman experienced after the car accident.
 The plaintiff is 40 years old. The nature of his injuries caused by the MVA is described above. The severity and duration of the pain the plaintiff has suffered as a result are also set out above. He underwent three significant and lengthy surgeries. His convalescence from the surgeries was prolonged. He went from a happy, forward-thinking person with a reasonable potential to succeed with his own glazing business, to an emotionally devastated and pain-ridden individual who finds it very difficult to function on a daily basis. The plaintiff is frustrated by his inability to function as he did prior to the MVA. He has become severely depressed and now suffers as well from sexual dysfunction, stress and relationship distress. He is struggling with pain from his injuries and is managing his daily life poorly. He is no longer the “happy-go-lucky” person he was before the MVA. His lifestyle has been negatively affected.  In addition, the plaintiff’s tolerance for and ability to lift, climb and engage in repetitive movement involving his arms and shoulders is limited. He continues to avoid work and other activities that involve those types of movements. It is possible that his pain and restriction of activities will increase in the future.
Regarding the residual impact of Mr. Beardman’s old injuries from the 2009 accident on the new one for which he claimed in this case, the court stated the following:
 Counsel for the plaintiff submits that non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $200,000 would be appropriate. He relies on the following decisions which involve circumstances similar to those in this case:  Counsel for the defendant submits that non-pecuniary damages of $150,000 are appropriate in this case, less a deduction of 33% for the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition, for a total award of $100,500.
 I agree with defendant’s counsel that the plaintiff’s underlying pre-existing degenerative condition was such that there was a measurable risk of injury to his neck regardless of the MVA. Moreover, it is likely that he would have developed neurological problems in his neck at some time in the future which would likely have become significantly limiting within 8 to 15 years and eventually have required medical treatment and medications similar to those he required after the MVA. Each case depends on its own particular facts and circumstances. After considering all of the evidence, the submissions of counsel and the case authorities, I find that an appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages in this case is $200,000. However, that amount must be reduced by 40% to reflect the measurable risk that the plaintiff’s pre-existing degenerative spinal condition would likely have detrimentally affected him in the future.
The serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver want you to know ultimately, the court awarded Mr. Beardman $120,000 for his pain and suffering as a result of the car accident.
The above case demonstrates just how complex a car accident claim can be, especially when the victim of the accident suffered serious injuries. It also showcases how ICBC’s defence lawyers can—and often will—dig into your history of past injuries and then use whatever they find against you in court to cut your claim.
The Vancouver Serious Personal Injury Lawyers at MacLean Law Are Here to Help You
When you suffered serious injuries from a car accident, make sure to hire the one of the best serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver to protect your claim against ICBC’s many tactics. They are experts defending cases- shouldn’t you be represented just as capably?
MacLean Law’s top-rated serious personal injury lawyers in Vancouver have extensive experience in car accident claims involving serious injuries. We know how to deal with ICBC and their tactics. We can maximize your claim. Take advantage of a free consultation with us by calling our toll-free line: 1 877 602 9900, or by visiting one of our four offices across B.C. ( located conveniently in Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna and Fort St. John.)