$40,000 Awarded for Strain of Sacroiliac Joint & Ongoing Lingering Low Back Pain

In the recently reported case of Madsen v. Bekker, 2012 BCSC 112, following a seven day trial, Mr. Justice Truscott awarded $40,000 in non-pecuniary damages (pain & suffering) to a plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident in November 2006. The plaintiff was diagnosed with having sustained a left sacroiliac joint strain in the accident.

 

Left Sacroiliac Joint Strain in Accident Case

 

The plaintiff sought an award of $90,000 at trial for non-pecuniary damages and argued that the accident had adversely affected his future income earning capacity. However, the court heard evidence from the plaintiff’s supervisor that in 2008 the plaintiff was able to perform all the duties of a golf course greens-keeper, including physically demanding work.

 

In making the award for non-pecuniary damages, Justice Truscott said the following:

 

[159] I am prepared to accept some present minor low back injury related to a strain of the left sacroiliac joint causing mild pain at times of prolonged lifting, bending or crouching but I also do not consider that this pain has been disabling to any of the plaintiff’s activities at all.

 

[167] I am prepared to accept that the plaintiff’s complaints have continued for over four years, but at a mild level, and I consider an appropriate award of non-pecuniary damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life should be in the amount of $40,000.

 

Damages for MRIs and visit to Psychologist Rejected in Accident Case

 

Following the accident, the plaintiff had three MRIs taken for his shoulder, left spine and neck because he “felt the need to be assured that he hadn’t hurt himself more seriously before he began physiotherapy.” The MRIs were not “medically indicated”. The plaintiff also visited a psychologist, but this had not been recommended by his doctor. The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim for special damages for these services saying the following:

 

[192] I decline to award anything for the three MRIs because the plaintiff decided to do these on his own, when Dr. Hobson told him that they were not medically indicated. In the circumstances there is no evidentiary basis for such an award.

 

[193] Similarly with respect to the visit the plaintiff made to a psychologist, no physician for the plaintiff recommended this and there is no evidence that would support any basis for this claim. The plaintiff was referred there by his own lawyers and not by a doctor.

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