21 Apr Low Velocity Impact Collision

Have you been injured in a motor vehicle collision described as “low velocity”?  If so, it is important to understand the court’s view of low velocity collisions.  It can be quite different than the insurance company’s policy.

In Dabu v. Schwab, 2016 BCSC 613, the Plaintiff was 54 year old health care aide.  She had immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 1990.  She lived with her husband and two children.  After the collision, the Plaintiff missed work and suffered neck, back and shoulder pain.  She also suffered psychological problems.  Although she returned to full-time work, she had limitations and it negatively impacted her home life because she needed more time to rest and recover from the demands of her work.

The Defendant argued that the Plaintiff was entitled to minimal recovery because she was injured in a low velocity collision.  The Court rejected this argument:

[29]         Finally, it is well-established that minimal vehicle damage is not the “yardstick” to measure the extent of a plaintiff’s injuries. That may be the philosophy of insurance carriers but it has no application in court and no medical basis. The presence and extent of injuries are determined on the basis of evidence rather than extraneous theories.

The Court awarded the Plaintiff damages totalling $305,629.50, which included:

  • pain and suffering ($95,000),
  • the full value of her missed work ($64,000 gross),
  • future loss of earning capacity based on a 20% decrease in her future earnings ($89,698),
  • future cost of care ($40,817),
  • past and future housekeeping services ($12,500), and
  • past treatment expenses ($3,614.50).

If you are injured in a collision and ICBC suggests it was a low velocity impact so you are not entitled to damages or are only entitled to nominal damages, you should contact Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota and obtain legal advice.