$20,000 Awarded For Soft Tissue Injury to Neck and Back in ICBC Injury Case

In the recently published case of Sun v. Sukhan, 2012 BCSC 365, Madam Justice Maisonville awarded the plaintiff $20,000 in damages for soft tissue injuries to his neck and back sustained in a car accident. The accident happened on Halloween night. The plaintiff was stopped at an intersection when he was rear-ended.

Soft Tissue Injury in ICBC Case

The plaintiff was a 31 year old IT specialist. His recovery was slow and he required a prolonged period of physiotherapy. With respect to the plaintiff’s recovery from his injuries, the court said the following:

[17] In conclusion, while the plaintiff deposed he still suffers pain on occasion necessitating physiotherapy treatments, he is now largely recovered from his neck and back injuries which lasted approximately one year and nine months The numbness to his left arm and left leg had completely resolved by eight to ten months after the accident with the help of physiotherapy…Recovery from his injuries continued slowly, but by July 23, 2011 he was completely recovered according to Dr. Tsang’s writing on that day. While there is no further medical reports, he still occasionally seeks chiropractic treatments from Dr. Chan and occasionally has flare-ups, including September and November of 2011.

Court Comments on Damages

In awarding the above amount, the court said the following:
[55] In all of the circumstances, I find while the plaintiff’s injuries had largely resolved within one year and nine months, he has some ongoing complaints of pain, coupled with his inability to perform certain activities as a consequence of his fear of causing flare-ups to his lower back such as carrying heavy objects.

[56] Taking evidence as a whole, I find that the plaintiff has, on a balance of probability, proved he was injured

from this accident for one year and nine months and that he presently has some minor complaints on occasion relating to his lower back and neck, but that these are not preventing the plaintiff from enjoying his pre-accident state of health and activity level.

Injuries from Low Velocity Accident

The plaintiff’s vehicle suffered minor damage in the accident. However, Justice Maisonville affirmed that minor damage does not, in and of itself, prove that there was no injury or bar recovery of damages for injuries occurring as a result of those injuries:

[23] From the pictures that were put in evidence on the summary trial, the vehicle appeared to have sustained only minor damage,but again that does not mean that the plaintiff did not suffer genuine injuries, nor is it the case that with soft tissue injuries there is always a physical presentation that can be seen or felt. The pain 
remains real to the victim of the accident, and his credibility is not an issue on this application.

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