Awards for pain and suffering are not calculated but rather assessed. In British Columbia personal injury lawyers provide Judges with a range of reasonable awards based on caselaw precedent. The claimant in this chronic headache, neck, shoulder and low back pain case (Forder v. Linde,2014 BCSC 1600) was injured in a car accident when she was at a stop light on Lougheed Highway at the intersection of 105 Avenue in Maple Ridge. A pick-up truck failed to notice the claimant’s vehicle in time and crashed into the rear of her Mustang.
The claimant sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck and back and established that she has had ongoing chronic headaches and pain. She also suffered a mild concussion which resolved well before the trial.
Before this car accident she had sustained some workplace injuries and there was evidence of symptomatic degeneration in the cervical spine. She was also having difficulty reaching forward and was taking painkilling medication. In the long term, these matters were going to affect her future health and employment
However the Judge was satisfied the car accident caused her new injuries, in particular ongoing and debilitating chronic headaches, and it exacerbated her prior physical complaints. The ongoing complaints of neck, shoulder, and low back pain were also found to have become chronic.
The claimant was awarded over $800,000.00 in total, including her income loss, broken down as follows:
|Pain and Suffering:||$100,000|
|Past Lost Earning Capacity:||$145,577|
|Future Loss of Earning Capacity:||$325,000|
|Future Cost of Care:||$230,000|
|Out of Pocket Expenses:||$35,023.76|
ISSUE: Should pain and suffering awards be reduced to take into account prior injuries?