Written by Ms. Jacqueline A. Small, B.A. LL.B
In this personal injury case the ICBC injury claimant was rear-ended while stopped for traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver (Verjee v. Dunbrak 2019 BCSC 1696).
At trial, the injury claimant argued that the motor vehicle accident caused her to suffer from ongoing chronic pain in her neck, shoulders, mid back and low back which in turn caused her to suffer from depression and somatic symptom disorder. Several years after the collision, she developed severe osteoarthritis in her knee which contributed to her overall chronic pain and disability. The medical experts were all in agreement that the knee pain was not caused by the motor vehicle accident.
The claimant’s injuries impacted her day to day life and several witnesses testified that she changed dramatically after the accident from being a strong and dynamic member of her community who raised her daughter on her own and succeeded in her career to someone who was withdrawn, anxious and avoiding many of the things that she previously enjoyed.
At trial, ICBC argued that the injury claimant had a long history of neck and upper back pain despite the fact that there was no evidence of this. ICBC also argued that the chronic pain and psychological conditions were related to her knee arthritis as opposed to her motor vehicle accident injuries. On this basis, ICBC urged the trial judge to only compensate her for 8-9 months of symptoms.
The trial judge did not agree with ICBC and concluded that the motor vehicle accident was the cause of the chronic pain, depression and somatic symptom disorder and awarded $150,000.00 in non-pecuniary damages for pain and suffering.