05 May Causation in Personal Injury Cases

To obtain an award of damages in a personal injury case, one must prove the collision caused the alleged injuries.  In legal terms, this refers to “causation”.

Causation was a key issue in Kodelja v. Johal, 2017 BCSC 164.  The Plaintiff alleged that she suffered various injuries, including headache, neck pain, shoulder pain, left arm numbness and hip/groin pain following a motor vehicle collision.

In considering causation, the Court noted that medical evidence from both the Plaintiff and the Defendant supported that the Plaintiff suffered a soft tissue injury and diagnosed a chronic myofascial pain syndrome.  Both sides also diagnosed thoracic outlet syndrome but the medical experts disagreed regarding the cause of this injury.

The Plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Salvian, was of the opinion that the motor vehicle collision caused it.  ICBC’s expert, Dr. Heran, was of the opinion that it occurred “secondary” to a spontaneous worsening in Mexico.  The Court rejected Dr. Heran’s opinion and was not persuaded by his opinion that “some unknown event caused the symptoms in Mexico”. Overall, the Court accepted that the Plaintiff’s thoracic outlet syndrome caused her left arm numbness and related to the collision.  In other words, the Plaintiff established causation.