In this low back personal injury case the claimant was driving southbound on Willingdon Avenue  in Burnaby, B.C. when he was struck on the driver’s side as he approached Maywood Street. At issue were claims for pain and suffering, past and future wage loss, and the cost of future care. A key issue was  whether an L1 vertebra fracture noted on an MRI taken four years after the car accident was caused by the accident (Singh v. Wu, 2015 BCSC 526).
ICBC had the claimant’s doctors complete a short form medical report, CL-19 medical form,  4 months after the car accident. The claimant reported that the cervical spine was improving and was not sore every day, but that there was little improvement to the lumbar spine, which continued to be sore daily, although not for the entire day.  ICBC conceded that the claimant suffered minor/mild soft tissue injuries which resulted in some neck and upper back pain which have now been resolved but do not accept that he suffered a low back injury.
Importantly, the judge accepted that on a balance of probabilities the compression fracture of his L1 vertebra was caused by the motor vehicle collision in question.
The claimant submitted that his injuries, including the fracture in his low back, warranted an award for pain and suffering of $100,000. His personal injury lawyer cited cases ranging from $75,000 to $110,000.  The lawyer for ICBC contended that the award for this head of damages should be $35,000.
The judge  accepted that  the claimant will continue to experience some periodic back pain which will impact on his mobility and overall well-being. With respect to the impact on his family, the judge accepted that his relationship with his son had suffered due to his injuries and that recreational activities had been curtailed, but, this was not entirely due to the results of the motor vehicle accident.  The judge also did not accept that his ability to perform housekeeping chores, such as the laundry, justified an award.
Having reviewed the cases provided, the judge awarded the claimant  $75,000 for pain and suffering.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

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