$20,000 Awarded for Mild Soft Tissue Injury in ICBC Injury Case

In the recent case of Wen v. Tsao (27 April 2012), Vancouver, M082970 (B.C.S.C.) Madam Justice Gerow awarded the plaintiff $20,000 in non-pecuniary damages (pain & suffering) after a three day trial for injuries sustained in a low-velocity motor vehicle accident in January 2007 in Richmond, B.C.  The plaintiff was represented at trial by Charles D. Jago (an associate at Simpson, Thomas & Associates).

Mild Soft Tissue Injury from Car Accident

The plaintiff was stopped at in intersection at the time of the accident.  The Defendants’ vehicle approached from behind.  The Defendant claimed that he was travelling between 5 to 10 km per hour when he applied his brakes.  He claimed that his vehicle skidded on icy pavement before hitting the rear end of the plaintiff’s vehicle.  Both drivers exited their vehicles to view the damage and exchanged information.  No emergency vehicles or police attended.  Following the accident, the plaintiff continued on his way.  However, within days of the accident, the plaintiff began to recognize symptoms of pain and stiffness in his neck and low back.  As a result, he went to visit his doctor three days after the accident and was diagnosed with a “whiplash” injury to his neck and low back.

The plaintiff was prescribed 24 physiotherapy sessions, followed by an active rehabilitation program at KARP Rehabilitation.  The plaintiff’s active rehabilitation program finished in November 2007.  The plaintiff’s condition improved as a result of the treatments.  The plaintiff, a hairdresser, lost no time off work.

The damage to the vehicles involved in the accident was limited.  ICBC estimated the cost of repairing the damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle, a Honda Civic, to be $870.15.  The cost of repairing the damage to the Defedants’ vehicle, a Honda Element, was estimated to be $286.58.  ICBC refused the plaintiff’s personal injury claim on the grounds that there could be no “compensible injury” because of the minor damage to the vehicles.

Justice Gerow held that it is not the law that a plaintiff cannot recover if the damage to the vehicles involved in the accident is minor.  She found that evidence showed that the plaintiff was injured in the accident.  In particular, she found that the plaintiff had sustained a “mild soft tissue injury” that resolved in ten months with “minor flare ups” thereafter.  The court also awarded $408.11 in damages for the plaintiff’s out of pocket expenses.  The plaintiff was awarded $11,000 in costs, under the fast track rule.

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