04 Jul Hip Injury Following Rear-End Collision

In Erwin v. Buhler, 2017 BCSC 362, the Plaintiff injured his neck, back and hip following a rear-end collision in 2011.  The issue was whether or not the collision caused the pain in his right hip.  The Defendant argued the collision did not cause it because his family doctor’s records did not mention right hip pain.

The doctor’s records specifically mentioned complaints about pain in the Plaintiff’s neck, low back, left thigh and left leg, as well as left hip tenderness.  The Court accepted that the doctor may not have recorded all information he received from patients immediately and that he may have recorded some information later.  But since his records contained a lot of detail about the Plaintiff’s left hip and thigh, neck and low back, the Court considered it unlikely that the Plaintiff reported right hip pain at that appointment.  Instead, the Court found the first time the Plaintiff likely reported right hip pain to his doctor was approximately 9 ½ months following the collision.

The Plaintiff also went to a chiropractor.  The chiropractor’s notes did not mention right hip pain until eight months after the collision. The Court rejected the Plaintiff’s argument that the earlier notation of “low back” pain included hip pain.

One of the Defendant’s medical experts attributed the right hip pain to osteoarthritis, a gradual and progressive condition unrelated to the collision. The Plaintiff relied on the Defendant’s other medical expert, who supported a causal link because the Plaintiff told him that his right hip pain started right after the collision. The Court rejected this doctor’s opinion because it was based on an incorrect factual assumption.

In considering the medical evidence, the Court found that the right hip pain could have been caused by the collision if it started within a few days following the collision.  The Court decided that if the Plaintiff had extreme pain in his right hip at that time, his family doctor or chiropractor would have recorded it.  The Court inferred that the absence of clinical records regarding right hip pain accurately reflected that the Plaintiff did not have right hip pain at that time.

While the Court did not accept that the collision caused the Plaintiff’s right hip injury, the Court awarded him $40,000 in damages for pain and suffering relating to his other injuries.

Determining whether a collision caused an injury is legally and factually complex.   At Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota, we are very experienced in this regard.404