A money award after a car accident or fall is meant to provide some solace to an innocent victim of personal injury. Some injuries are not amenable to treatment or complete recovery, such as chronic pain syndrome, and victims will have to suffer pain for the rest of their lives. In today’s ICBC case example we explore compensation for mild to moderate chronic pain.
Non‑pecuniary damages are awarded to compensate a claimant for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of amenities. In Stapley v. Hejslet, 2006 BCCA 34, Madam Justice Kirkpatrick explained the legal foundation of non‑pecuniary damages.
The claimant in this car accident injury case, ( Owen v. Peljhan,2017 BCSC 423) pointed to the guarded medical prognoses in arguing that the injuries she suffered as a result of her motor vehicle accident had a significant impact on her overall enjoyment of life.
The judge accepted that she continued to suffer from the chronic pain, principally in her neck and shoulders and that this has had a detrimental impact on her ability to her enjoyment of life. However the injuries were not debilitating, nor had she suffered any significant emotional trauma or serious marital discord.
The judge awarded $75,000 for her non‑pecuniary damages. The summary to the total award is as follows:
In summary, Ms. Owen is entitled to the following awards:
|Non‑pecuniary damages:||$ 75,000|
|Loss of past earning capacity:||$ 45,000|
|Loss of future earning capacity:||$130,000|
|Cost of future care||$ 20,000|
|Out of pocket expenses:||$ 5,000|