01 Dec Pain and Suffering – Damages for Soft Tissue Injuries

In January, 2011, a 40 year old Plaintiff was driving her father’s Pontiac Grand Am motor vehicle when the Defendant, unable to stop at a stop sign due to icy road conditions, collided with her motor vehicle.  The Plaintiff was injured and she sought compensation for pain and suffering, past wage loss, loss of future earning capacity, special damages and cost of future care.

The case was heard in court in 2015 (Zaluski v. Verth, 2015 BCSC 1902).  At trial, the Plaintiff asked for damages for pain and suffering in the range of $110,000 – $130,000.  The Defendant asked the court to limit damages to between $20,000-$35,000.

The Court noted that the Plaintiff was a poor historian, evasive and combative in her evidence, gave confusing evidence regarding pre-collision neck and back pain, gave inconsistent evidence at trial and her examination for discovery, and was evasive about why she quit her job. The Court did not accept there was any significant period of disability and felt that the Plaintiff exaggerated the severity and duration of her physical symptoms.

In the end, the Court found the Plaintiff suffered a mild soft tissue injury affecting her shoulders and back, as well as a somatic symptom disorder, anxiety and depression.  The Court came to that conclusion after considering various factors such as the Plaintiff’s age, injury, severity and duration of pain, disability, loss or impairment of life, impairment of relationships, impairment of physical and mental abilities, loss of lifestyle and stoicism.  The Court awarded her $50,000 for pain and suffering.