This Car accident brain injury award for an 18 year old passenger (Hermanson v. Durkee, 2014 BCSC 877) arose from a single vehicle accident on a forest road in British Columbia. The vehicle left the road  which resulting  in the ICBC claimant suffering a severe traumatic brain injury and ruptured spleen. Because of the location of the motor vehicle accident there was some delay before emergency services arrived at the scene. When the claimant was first assessed by them, he had a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3, which is the lowest level of consciousness on the scale of 3 to 15.
ICBC admitted liability for the car accident and, before attending court, there was settlement of the claims for pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses and past loss of income. In dispute at trial however were future loss of earnings, costs of future care, and the in-trust claims on behalf of the claimant’s mother and  girlfriend.
The traumatic brain injury was described by numerous experts and was not in dispute. A radiologist with a specialization in Neuroradiology  reported  as follows:

…There is severe axonal shear injury with grade I, grade II and grade III lesions noted. In total they number over 100. There is also more diffuse abnormal signal noted in the corpus callosum and periventricular brain indicating diffuse axonal shear injury. As well the ventricles and sulci are larger than on the previous examination and appear milder larger than expected for an 18-year-old male. These latter findings are likely on the combined basis of resolved brain edema at the time of the patient’s trauma as well as generalized early post traumatic cerebral atrophy.

 ICBC’s rehabilitation co-ordinator obtained the a neuropsychological opinion 6.5 months after the accident and  the test results clearly established a profound brain injury:

The results of the neuropsychological evaluation revealed a number of areas of higher cognitive function to be impaired. These include complex attention, processing speed, certain aspects of academic skills, verbal intellectual ability, verbal problem solving and reasoning, and learning/memory…

 The court had no hesitation in awarding this personal injury victim the following:
a)    $1,800,000 awarded for his loss of earning capacity;
b)    $650,000 awarded for the cost of future care; and
c)     $22,500 awarded for in-trust claims of mother and girlfriend.
Total personal injury award of $2,472,50 plus the amount settled for pain and suffering, special damages, and past income loss.
There was no question that this young claimant had established a real and substantial possibility of a loss of income in the future. The parties agreed the claimant was competitively unemployable at the time of trial.  The medical evidence  of the neuropsychologists, physiatrists and occupational therapists, identified the types of services that may be appropriate to address  his needs.
To learn more about diffuse axonal brain injury watch our short video by Neurosurgeon Dr. R.O. Holness:

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

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