The question in this personal injury case was whether the claimant should be awarded the maximum amount for pain and suffering, reserved for catastrophic injury, or at something lower. On the evidence, the upper limit set by the Supreme Court of Canada, adjusted for inflation, was $351,000.
This limit now applies to all ICBC personal injury cases claiming pain and suffering in British Columbia, adjusted by the Consumer Price Index.
In this personal injury case the claimant suffered significant injuries as a front seat passenger and was ejected from the vehicle in the violent aftermath of the collision. The most serious of her injuries was permanent traumatic brain injury. Van v. Howlett, 2014 BCSC 1404. The ICBC claimant’s vehicle was travelling westbound on Broadway in Vancouver when they entered the intersection of Broadway and Main Street on a green light. The other vehicle entered the intersection against the red light, and ran into the driver’s side of claimants vehicle.
Her testimony at trial was slow and laborious due to her brain injury. Her life is now one of discomfort, frustration and anger. The defendants submitted that an award of $250,000 would be appropriate. However, on the evidence the judge had no difficulty concluding that the injuries suffered were catastrophic. Her outlook for the future was dismal and her days are now filled with pain and frustration. There is no possibility of recovery and she will experience a premature and accelerated descent into dementia, losing what little has been left to her.
In these circumstances the court concluded that the injury claimant was entitled to an award at the upper limit and assessed her non-pecuniary damages for pain and suffering at $351,000.
ICBC’s Rehabilitation Department was also obliged to work within the guidelines of ICBC’s no-fault medical benefits coverage (“Part VII benefits”), which provides for a limit of $150,000 per accident for medical and rehabilitation services.
The total personal injury award in this case was:
Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life: $351,000.00
Gross past loss of income $340,711.42- to be reduced to net
Future loss of income:$635,000.00
Future care costs: $2,351,353.73
Loss of housekeeping capacity:$82,681.00
In trust claim for husband: $275,000.00
Out of Pocket expenses: $75,362.50
For more information about how much money you should get for pain and suffering in an ICBC case watch our short video about how judges decided personal injury cases: