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Vancouver ICBC Accident Chronic Pain Injury

Our Vancouver ICBC Accident Chronic Pain Injury lawyers routinely deal with victims injured in motor vehicle accidents who suffer long lasting injuries. Chronic Pain is one of the most difficult and debilitating injuries our ICBC car accident claim lawyers deal with.

It’s critical you hire a lawyer familiar with these painful car accident injuries so you get the highest possible settlement or court award. Our Vancouver ICBC Accident Chronic Pain Injury can be reached for a free initial consolation at 604-602-9000 and we also act across BC with 5 offices located in downtown Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Kelowna and Dawson Creek/ Fort St John.

What Is Chronic Pain and How Do I Get Justice?

WebMD summarizes chronic pain as follows:

  • Mild to severe pain that does not go away
  • Pain that may be described as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical
  • Feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness

Pain is not a symptom that exists alone. Other problems associated with pain include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest
  • Weakened immune system
  • Changes in mood including hopelessness, fear, depression, irritability, anxiety, and stress
  • Disability

What Damages Will I get For the Pain and Suffering?

The recent Supreme Court decision of Giczi v. Kandola awarded $120,000 for chronic pain and suffering  to a Plaintiff who suffered significant chronic pain after her car accident that dislodged her breast implant, ruined her singing voice and robbed her of  physical ability.

The court reviewed the leading authorities on Vancouver ICBC Accident Chronic Pain Injury:

 [119]     In Morlan v. Barrett, 2012 BCCA 66, the Court of Appeal upheld a trial award for damages for chronic pain.  In the process, Frankel J.A. reviewed some of the relevant trial level authorities.  I refer to his discussion at length because it touches on some of the cases referred to by counsel in argument.  Frankel J.A. said (at paras. 66-71):

In advancing their respective arguments, the parties rely on a number of awards made by trial judges as comparators; all arise from motor vehicle accidents.  The appellants say the awards they cite demonstrate that $125,000.00 is well above the range for a person similarly situate to Ms. Morlan.  On the other hand, Ms. Morlan says that the awards that she cites demonstrate that while $125,000.00 may be a generous award, it is not inordinately high.

The awards relied on by the appellants are:

(a)        Simon v. Piercey, 2001 BCSC 679: 61-year-old plaintiff suffering from chronic myofascial pain syndrome; reasonable prospect condition would improve over time: $40,000.00;

(b)        Iliopoulous v. Abbinante, 2008 BCSC 336: 45-year-old plaintiff suffering from chronic pain that affected her work, leisure activities, and general enjoyment of life; poor prospects of improvement: $50,000.00; and

(c)        Bjarnson v. Parks, 2009 BCSC 48: 28-year-old plaintiff sustaining soft tissue injuries; gradually able to return to her athletic pursuits, at time of trial symptoms had improved significantly; still susceptible to flare-ups: $35,000.00.

For her part, Ms. Morlan relied on the following awards:

(a)        Hoff v. Joncas (1996), 55 B.C.L.R. (3d) 10 (S.C.), aff’d (1997), 43 B.C.L.R. (3d) 203 (C.A.): 53-year-old plaintiff suffering from chronic pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorder; bleak future, would never be pain free: $100,000.00;

(b)        Shapiro v. Dailey, 2010 BCSC 770: 23-year-old plaintiff suffering from headaches, chronic pain disorder, myofascial pain, fibromyalgia, depressive symptoms, mood disorders and associated cognitive disorders; injuries having ongoing affect [sic] on personal life and ability to work: $110,000.00; and

(c)        Eccleston v. Dresen, 2009 BCSC 332: 43-year-old plaintiff sustaining soft tissue injury which developed into debilitating chronic pain that was expected to diminish, but not disappear, over the next five years; $120,000.00 reduced by 10% because of plaintiff’s predisposition to depression and related somatoform pain conditions.

Ms. Morlan also relies on Courdin v. Meyers, 2005 BCCA 91, 37 B.C.L.R. (4th) 222. In that case, a 39-year-old plaintiff sustained minor soft tissue injuries in a motor vehicle accident.  A year and a half later she was diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome which had crippling effects on her life.  Her prognosis was “very guarded”.  A jury awarded non-pecuniary damages of $1 million. Subject to the defendants’ right to appeal, the parties agreed to reduce that award to $292,823.00 in order to comply with the then rough upper limit. On appeal, this Court, keeping in mind that defendants had chosen to have the matter tried by a jury, reduced the award to $200,000.00.

Returning to the case at bar, it is clear that prior to the accidents Ms. Morlan was a hard-working, motivated individual who applied a high level of energy in all aspects of her life. She had a long association with the labour union movement and derived much satisfaction from her job with the B.C. Fed, a job she can no longer perform. The accidents robbed her of her energy and left her unable to do much of what she did before. She now suffers from chronic pain and relies on medication to help get through each day.

Although $125,000.00 is a generous award, it cannot, having regard to recent awards in similar cases, be said to be so excessive as to warrant appellate intervention.

[120]     In the instant case, the subject accident caused the plaintiff injuries, including: soft tissue injuries to her neck, jaw, and upper back which caused her chronic pain, functional thoracic outlet syndrome, and damage to her breast implant necessitating surgery months later.  The plaintiff’s injuries have resulted in symptoms that are significantly worse than her pre-accident condition and have affected her ability to cope and function.

[121]     I find the plaintiff suffers from a chronic pain condition which was caused by the subject accident.  Not only is the condition painful in the neck, arm and jaw, but the accident dislodged a breast implant requiring further surgery and a painful period of recovery. The chronic pain condition has also had a negative impact on the plaintiff’s relationship with her partner and the intimacy that the couple enjoyed. 

[122]     In addition, the accident has also caused difficulty in the plaintiff’s singing from muscles spasms as a result of her injury.   I find the accident’s effect on the plaintiff’s ability to sing has been profound, given the importance of singing to the plaintiff throughout her life.  The expert evidence of Ms. Davies and Dr. Morrison convinces me that her voice is impaired.  I think that this is a significant factor apart from its effect on her income earning capacity.

[123]     In all the circumstances, I find that the appropriate award of general damages is $120,000. 

If you suffer a Vancouver ICBC Accident Chronic Pain Injury call us immediately so we can get you the most comprehensive medical treatment to help you heal while we focus with you on a strategy to ensure you receive the fairest possible damages award. Call us now at 604-602-9000.

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