26 Jan Compensation for Chronic Pain Caused by Bus Accident

In Dhaliwal v. Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp., 2015 BCSC 2147, the Plaintiff was injured when the Greyhound bus he was on was involved in an accident.  The Defendants admitted fault for the accident and the Court assessed damages.

The Plaintiff was a 61 year old mill worker from Mackenzie, B.C.  Prior to the collision, he was healthy and active.  After the collision, he alleged various injuries including those to his face, neck, shoulders, back, legs, headaches, dizziness, head injury, and mood changes.  He was unable to return to work.

ICBC, on behalf of the Defendants, argued that the Plaintiff’s injuries were minor and fully resolved.  They also argued that there was no objective evidence of ongoing injury.

The Court noted that the absence of objective signs or injuries did not mean that the Plaintiff was not suffering from chronic pain; it only required the Court to exercise greater care and caution to assess the complaints of injury.  In this case, the Court found the Plaintiff’s complaints of ongoing injuries believable.  The Court relied on the Plaintiff’s expert evidence that he suffered from complex chronic pain, which had no objective signs to assist doctors to determine whether or not the diagnosis was accurate.  In reviewing the expert evidence, the Court rejected ICBC’s expert medical evidence because their expert admitted he was not a specialist in complex chronic pain.

ICBC also argued that the Plaintiff lacked credibility because there were inconsistencies in his evidence, his doctor’s notes, and his examination for discovery testimony.  Despite this, the Court still considered the Plaintiff a credible witness.  The Court found the inconsistencies related to various factors, such as the Plaintiff’s lack of education and difficulty in expressing himself.  The Court also considered that 7½ years had elapsed since the collision, and the Plaintiff had good days and bad days, which was consistent with chronic pain.  In addition, the Plaintiff’s doctors did not have issues with the inconsistencies affecting their assessment of the Plaintiff’s credibility.

The Court also rejected ICBC’s video surveillance arguments.  The Court found it did not show the Plaintiff doing anything he said he could not do.

Overall, the Court believed the Plaintiff continued to suffer chronic pain and assessed his damages as follows:

Non-Pecuniary Damages$85,000
Past Income Lossnet income loss (based on a gross loss of $646,058)
   Future Loss of Income Earning Capacity$184,844
Future Cost of Care$24,243
Special Damages$20,428