In the 1st car accident, the injured claimant sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck and back with pain radiating into her hip and legs that were aggravated by the 2nd car accident and the 3rd car accident. She also suffered from headaches and thoracic outlet syndrome in one arm. In addition to her physical injuries, her mood was adversely affected by the Accidents which caused increased tension in her marriage and with her friends and family.
Following the car accidents, the injured claimant was able to continue her studies along with employment as a receptionist and swim coach. She was not, however, able to fully return to lifeguarding because of her chronic pain and the more intense demands of that position.
The injured claimant was physically active in a number of recreational activities before the collisions. As a result of her injuries, her life outside of work changed dramatically due to the thoracic outlet syndrome and chronic pain. The medical evidence indicated that it was unlikely that she would be able to lifeguard or do long distance swim lap work again, although it was possible that she would be able to return to hiking and to skiing. The trial judge noted that this had a substantial impact on the injured claimant as she obtained a great deal of her identity from her high level sporting capacity.
In awarding $110,000 for pain and suffering, the trial judge found that the injured claimant’s condition had largely plateaued and that her chronic pain condition is likely permanent, although with a reasonable prospect for some increased functioning into the future.