19 Jan Depression Following a Car Accident

In the case of Beaton v. Perkes, 2016 BCSC 2276, the Plaintiff’s vehicle was rear-ended when she was stopped at a red light. Liability was admitted by the Defendants.

The case was relatively straightforward because the medical experts and legal counsel were able to agree on the nature, severity and prognosis for most of the injuries the Plaintiff suffered. She had been diagnosed with soft tissue injuries to her neck and upper and mid-back, cervicogenic headaches and serious disruptions to her sleep. There was also agreement that these injuries were caused by the accident. The single area of dispute between the parties was whether the depressive disorder the Plaintiff suffered from was a result of the accident.

The Judge noted that the Plaintiff had, without any question, suffered from serious low mood issues since the accident. That evidence was uncontradicted and was apparent in multiple forms. Although the Plaintiff had been on antidepressants a decade earlier, she had not taken antidepressants for a number of years prior to the accident. She described herself as “happy” prior to the accident and witnesses called by the Plaintiff confirmed this. In her doctor’s opinion, the Plaintiff’s depression was most likely due to the personal and recreational impact the injuries had on her.

Based on the whole of this evidence, the Judge was satisfied that Plaintiff struggled with serious and persistent low mood, and that the difficulties with her mood were caused by the accident. The Judge noted that the impact of the Plaintiff’s injuries on her activities, work and family relations had been pervasive. Although she continued to work, she struggled to get through a shift and it was apparent she was in pain. She used to be an avid reader but after the accident she found it hard to concentrate and read much less. She was less able to garden and do activities with her grandson.

Importantly, her sense of self was diminished. She was a person who placed significant importance on her self-sufficiency, and she felt less useful and less confident. This was important because the Defendant’s main argument was that the Plaintiff continued to do the things that she did in the past, so her general damages should be comparatively modest. The Judge did not agree with the Defendant.  He awarded the Plaintiff $110,000 for her non-pecuniary losses.

Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota has the expertise to ensure you are fairly compensated if your depression or anxiety is caused by your motor vehicle accident.

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