24 Jan Future Care Award for Plaintiff Injured in Motorcycle Accident
In Lewis v. Gibson, 2018 BCSC 1713, the Plaintiff was injured when a SUV in the lane beside him changed lanes into his motorcycle. He was knocked to the ground and the SUV crushed his left foot. He was trapped under his handlebars and slid on his right side on the pavement.
At trial more than 5 years later, the Plaintiff continued to suffer from his injuries. He claimed that he was entitled to the cost of future care.
The legal principles governing an award for cost of future care can be summarized as follows:
- there must be a medical justification for claims for cost of future care;
- the expense should not be a squandering of money. In considering any particular item of future care, the test is whether a reasonably minded person of ample means would incur the expense;
- the weight to be given to an opinion on future care will depend on the extent to which recommendations for things like psychological counseling and physiotherapy are supported by the evidence of experts within the relevant field of expertise; and
- awards for cost of future care must be reasonable, both in the sense of being medically required and in the sense of being costs that, on the evidence, the plaintiff will be likely to incur.
The Court’s task was to evaluate whether the claimed future care costs represented reasonable and medically justified means to improve injuries sustained. The Plaintiff claimed $126,426:
- The Court dealt with housekeeping costs separately, so that amount was deducted from the cost of future care.
- Physiotherapy and kinesiology for his shoulder injury were denied, as it was determined this injury was not due to the accident.
- With respect to medications, the cost for Abilify was deducted, as the Plaintiff had discontinued using it. The Plaintiff used Ativan and Zoplicone before the accident, albeit in smaller doses, so the Court allowed 50% of those costs claimed.
- The Plaintiff claimed the costs of psychological treatment for his depression and anxiety. The Court found the Plaintiff would not have required such counselling but for the accident and those costs were allowed.
In total, the Plaintiff was awarded $26,703.50 for his cost of future care.