Valuing psychiatric injury and proving post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is an evidentiary challenge. This PTSD injury claim reviews several cases in which PTSD was established.
This case involved a 55 year old truck driver injured in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 1 near Chilliwack, BC. Having found the other driver 100% at fault the court focused on valuing the personal injury claim. This ICBC injury claimant presented his case in Supreme Court after he was refused disability benefits from ICBC, WCB, and his employers’ disability insurer.
He suffered injury to his left arm, shoulder, neck, back and headaches. Most significantly, we was found to have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, vertigo, decreased sex drive and vision problems arising as a result of his injuries. Payment of future treatment by ICBC was uncertain. The chiropractor therefore could not recommend treatment because he was uncertain as to the involvement of ICBC funding.
The claimant sought compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life in the range of $150,000 to $200,000. The defendant argued an award between $70,000 to $95,000 was more appropriate.
The cases referred to by the personal injury lawyer representing the claimant were as follows:
a. $200,000 – Chowdhry v. Burnaby (City of), 2008 BCSC 1337 – The injuries, both physical and psychiatric were described as similar to those in the case at bar but likely even more serious.
b. $200,000 – Felix v. Hearne Estate, 2011 BCSC 1236 – The 44 year old claimant was involved in an accident in which her car rolled over resulting in the death of her boyfriend. The physical injuries suffered were more significant than those suffered by the claimant she was not able to return to work and lived off disability, was irritable, enjoyed few activities and suffered from lasting PTSD.
c. $180,000 – Ali v. Padam, 2017 BCSC 1849 – This is a case where the physical injuries appear to have been greater than with those of the claimant , the plaintiff requiring back surgery to relieve pain. Psychological injuries left the plaintiff with a major depressive disorder, chronic pain and PTSD with significant affect to her life activities. The prognosis for substantial recovery was poor.
d. $180,000 – Sebaa v. Ricci, 2015 BCSC 1492 – This 33 year old plaintiff suffered more serious and immediate physical injuries. The plaintiff suffered from PTSD, anxiety, depressive disorder, and chronic pain disorder which affected all portions of her life in a debilitating fashion. She beat her pre-trial offer to ICBC and was awarded double costs.
e. $150,000 – Senner v. GE Canada Leasing Services Company, 2017 BCSC 1939 – The plaintiff suffered a recurrence of PTSD, previously having suffered from work related incidents. He suffered chronic pain in his neck and back similar to the claimant.
The defence authorities for the award of pain and suffering were:
a. $110,000 – Taba v. North Shore Taxi (1966) Ltd., 2016 BCSC 1989 – In this case, the physical injuries suffered were similar to those of the claimant, moderate soft tissue injury to the neck and back, and headaches.
b. $80,000 – Park v. Targonski, 2015 BCSC 555 – The injuries, both physical and in particular psychiatric, were substantially less severe in this case compared to those of the claiamant and the judge was clear that he found the plaintiff had over-presented her injuries in Park. There was finding of PTSD and the accident in that case was a simple “rear-ender”.
c. $95,000 – Dabu v. Schwab, 2016 BCSC 613 – In that case, the defence expert psychiatrist which found some symptoms of PTSD but not enough to merit a diagnosis of that disorder. The plaintiff did not need any active psychiatric intervention and had been able to continue to work full time.
In awarding $175,000 the Judge described the effects of the PTSD on the claimant’s lifestyle as dramatic. His personality had changed substantially since the car accident and there was a profound affect on his domestic relationships and his work as a long-haul truck driver. Also, the physical injuries and symptoms suffered in his back, shoulder and neck were significant and recovery slow.(Godbout v. Notter,2018 BCSC 1043)
The 10% reduction of his pain and suffering for failure to mitigate did not consider Park v. Targonski,2017 BCCA 134. However, we may not see this case in the Court of Appeal given the reduction in the award is $17,500.00.
The total personal injury award:
|Pain and Suffering
|157,500 (175,000 less 10% for failure to mitigate)
|Past Wage Loss
|Future Lost Earnings
|Future Care Costs
|Loss of Housekeeping Capacity
|Out of Pocket Expenses
Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.