24 Mar The Effect of Two Back-to-Back Low Impact Accidents

When people are involved in more than one accident, the subsequent accident often aggravates the injuries sustained in the first accident.  That is what happened in Duda v. Sekhon, 2015 BCSC 2393, when the Plaintiff was involved in two accidents within two months.

In 2012 the Plaintiff was waiting at a red light when she was hit from behind by a taxi.  A couple of months later, the Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck. The Plaintiff’s injuries from the first accident were aggravated in the second accident, particularly those in her mid and low back.

After the first accident the Plaintiff had gradually started to improve, but following the second accident she had increased pain in her shoulders and back, and increased headaches, making her recovery much slower. At the trial three years later, the Plaintiff had only recovered 75% from her injuries.

A rehabilitation specialist stated that at the time of the second accident the Plaintiff had only partially recovered from the effects of the first accident. His opinion was that as a result of the first accident, she was probably more susceptible to injury at the time of the second accident.  Conversely, ICBC argued that because neither accident involved significant motor vehicle damage, the Plaintiff’s injuries were disproportionate to the cause.

The Judge dismissed ICBC’s submission and stated that it has been clearly established in Canadian law that minimal motor vehicle damage is “not the yardstick with which to measure the extent of injuries” and that a low velocity impact cannot be directly correlated with a lack of compensable injury.

The Judge awarded the Plaintiff the following damages:

Non-pecuniary damages                                              $80,000.00

Past loss of income and past loss of capacity        $20,000.00

Future loss of earning capacity                                   $75,000.00

Cost of future care                                                          $1,600.00

Special damages (agreed)                                            $6,545.45

TOTAL                                                                                   $183,145.45

Although ICBC may take the position that no injuries can be suffered as a result of a low velocity impact, their position has no basis in medical or legal principles.  Even relatively minor accidents can have a large impact on a body, particularly one that is already healing and therefore more susceptible to injury.  At Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota, we understand that.  Our team of lawyers has extensive experience dealing with multiple-accident cases.