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Surrey ICBC Lawyers Explain Pain and Suffering

Our clients frequently ask us: “How much is my ICBC claim worth?”  Our Surrey ICBC Personal Injury lawyers like the straight forward explanation of pain and suffering damage awards in the recent Supreme Court ICBC motor vehicle accident decision of Westfield v. Lindstrom.

If you have been injured we will meet with you at our offices for FREE. If you are too injured to come to  our office we will come to meet with you at the hospital or in your home. Our Surrey ICBC Lawyers Explain Pain and Suffering awards and are also available to answer any other questions you might have. Call us now at 604-576-5400. You can also send us an email or call us from anywhere in British Columbia toll free at 1.877.602.9900.

ICBC claims can sometimes be complicated for anyone who is not familiar with the different types of claims and damages available to them. Damages, of course, refers to the money compensation you are entitled to receive as a result of your injuries or some other loss resulting from an accident. Pain and Suffering is only one type of injury or loss that can lead to you receiving “money damages.”

Other types include Loss of Enjoyment of Life, Loss of Past Income, Loss of Future Income, Loss of Earning Potential,  Cost of Future Care, Loss of Housekeeping Capacity, “In Trust” damages to friends and family, Special Damages, and other miscellaneous damages to cover your legal costs, financial management fees, etc. Not only can our Surrey ICBC lawyers explain pain and suffering, we have also provided a full explanation of these other types of damages in some of our other Blog posts.

The Court in Westfield summarized the law of damages generally before dealing specifically with damages for pain and suffering:


A.  Introduction

[59]         In Dhaliwal v. Tomelden, 2010 BCSC 612, Russell J. stated:

[148]    The role that damages plays is to place the plaintiff, as much as possible, in his original position. It is not the obligation of the defendant to put the plaintiff in a better condition than he was in. As noted in Athey v. Leonati, [1996] 3 S.C.R. 458 at 473-474, 140 D.L.R. (4th) 235, per Mr. Justice Major:

The defendant is liable for the injuries caused, even if they are extreme, but need not compensate the plaintiff for any debilitating effects of the pre-existing condition which the plaintiff would have experienced anyway. The defendant is liable for the additional damage but not for the pre-existing damage. … Likewise, if there is a measurable risk that the pre-existing condition would have detrimentally affected the plaintiff in the future, regardless of the defendant’s negligence, then this can be taken into account in reducing the overall award. … This is consistent with the general rule that the plaintiff must be returned to the position he would have been in, with all of its attendant risks and shortcomings, and not a better position.

[149]    Also, as noted by the Court of Appeal in T.W.N.A. v. Canada (Ministry of Indian Affairs), 2003 BCCA 670 at para. 28:

[28]. …. a pre-existing condition, whether it is quiescent or active, is part of the plaintiff’s original position.

The Court goes on, at para. 48, to say:

[48]. …. Whether manifest or not, a weakness inherent in a plaintiff that might realistically cause or contribute to the loss claimed regardless of the tort is relevant to the assessment of damages. It is a contingency that should be accounted for in the award. Moreover, such a contingency does not have to be proven to a certainty. Rather, it should be given weight according to its relative likelihood.

As was stated by Holmes J. in Rozendaal v. Landingin at paras. 77 and 78:

[77]      Non-pecuniary damages try to compensate a plaintiff for the pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life associated with the injury.  These damages are not restitution, which is impossible for a non-pecuniary loss, but attempt to make up through money for a loss which cannot be replaced in any direct way.  They provide “substitute pleasures and amenities to make the life of the injured person more bearable”: Milina v. Bartsch (1985), 49 B.C.L.R. (2d) 33 at 97 (S.C.), McLachlin J. (as she then was).

[78]      A court assessing non-pecuniary damages must consider the individual situation of the plaintiff, and the extent to which money can provide solace: Milina at para. 262.

Our skilled lawyers are available to meet with you FOR FREE to discuss your case and to let you know how much money you might be able to get for your ICBC claims. If you are injured do not delay in getting top personal injury lawyer advice. Call us now at 604-576-5400 in Surrey or toll free across BC at 877-602-9900. You can also use our convenient online form.

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