This personal injury case arose from a car accident which occurred at the intersection of 140th Street and 74th Avenue in Surrey when the other vehicle turned left into the path of the claimant’s vehicle. She was 58 year old at the time of the accident and sought compensation for pain and suffering, past income loss, future income loss, special damages and costs of future care.

Due to her worsening financial circumstances she expected that ICBC would give her some assistance. However, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, did not help her.

The judge found the claimant 20% at fault for the car accident as she was not keeping an adequate lookout as she approached the intersection and could have taken an evasive maneuver to avoid the collision or lessen the damage.  The defendant gave a statement to ICBC that was against his testimony.

In awarding this ICBC claimant $180,000 for pain, suffering, loss of amenities and loss of enjoyment of life the judge had this to say:

[446]  Taking into account the authorities cited by counsel, all of the Hejslet factors, and the particular circumstances of the plaintiff, including the persistence and severity of her chronic pain syndrome, major depressive disorder in partial remission, and the other injuries caused in this accident, I assess damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life in the amount of $180,000. I accept that the effects of the injuries in this case have deprived the plaintiff of a portion of her golden years and this factor must be taken into account in measuring her loss. The future is not clear. Overall, I am satisfied that a fair measure of her non-pecuniary damages taking into account the principles set out in Stapley and a10% reduction for contingencies  is $180,000.(Chavez-Salinas v. Tower,2017 BCSC 2068)

The claimant contended the pain and suffering should be assessed at $315,000 as she was on the cusp of her retirement years (the golden years) and was left functionally disabled, suffering constant pain, immobility, social isolation, and lacking in independence.

ICBC on the polar opposite contended the claimant had failed to prove any damages for pain and suffering. In the alternative, ICBC suggested that the range of damages could be between $25,000 and $50,000.

ICBC argued that the claim was extraordinarily overstated and any injuries were resolved within six to eight months and damages should not exceed $25,000. The court disagreed and awarded $180,000 for pain, suffering in this chronic pain syndrome case.

 In summary, the claimant was awarded 80% of the following damages:

Pain and Suffering: $180,000
Past Income Loss/Loss of Earning Capacity: $60,000 subject to s. 98 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act
Future Income/Impaired Earning Capacity: $35,000
Future Care Costs rounded: $90,000
In trust award for each of daughters ($15,000 each): $30,000
Out of Pocket Expenses: $6,000
Total: $401,000

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

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