Pain and Suffering Awards for the Elderly

A personal injury award for pain and suffering is not reduced by a limited life expectancy and according to the Supreme Court of BC, advanced age should not be a factor either way in arriving at an appropriate award.

This personal injury arose from a car accident at the intersection of Inverness Street and West 41st Avenue in Vancouver.  The negligence of the Defendant was admitted and the only issues were the extent of the injuries suffered and the amount of damages available (Sequeira v. Higgins,2015 BCSC 1192).

The claimant was 81 years old when the car accident occurred. The judge found him to be extremely healthy for his age and he was able to manage all of his life without pain or difficulty before the accident.

The court found that the claimant suffered  headaches, back and hip injuries and pain, which continue to be experienced by the claimant from time to time and is exacerbated by walking and by standing for extended periods of time. Mostly soft tissue injury, the family doctor did not anticipate that the car accident would slow him down or interfere with any of his regular recreational or household activities in the long run.

In awarding the claimant the judge commented about his age in this way,

I do not feel comfortable relying on Olesik [Olesik v. Mackin, [1987] B.C.J. No. 299 (S.C.)] to reduce the non-pecuniary damages on the basis of Mr. Mathroo’s limited remaining life expectancy, as urged by Mr. Edge‑Partington’s counsel.  Its applicability on that issue has been questioned by other decisions of this Court. In Giles v. Attorney General of Canada, [1994] B.C.J. No. 3212 (S.C.) varied on other grounds (1996) 71 B.C.A.C. 319, Mr. Justice Fraser held that the principle described in Olesik and the golden years doctrine essentially balanced each other out, so that advanced age should not be a factor either way in arriving at an appropriate award.  This view was adopted more recently in Duifhuis v. Bloom, 2013 BCSC 1180.  (at para. 96)

    The total awarded to the claimant of $50,721.38 was made up as follows:

          (a)      Pain and Suffering – $45,000;

          (b)      future care costs – $1,200;  and

          (c)      Out of Pocket Expenses – $4,521.38.

Learn more about personal injury claims for the elderly

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

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