Plaintiff awarded $90,000 for future cost of massage and chiropractic treatments

In reasons for judgment released yesterday, the court in Kodelja v. Johal, 2017 BCSC 164, awarded a 40 year-old elementary school teacher $80,000 in non-pecuniary damages as well as $90,000 for the future cost of massage and chiropractic treatments.  The plaintiff in Kodelja suffered from chronic myofascial pain syndrome and post traumatic thoracic outlet syndrome after being injured in a motor vehicle accident, however these injuries had not caused her to miss any work in the four years leading up to trial.  The court also found that she was “capable of performing her duties at her school into the foreseeable future”, but nevertheless awarded $50,000 for future loss of earning capacity.  In giving judgment, Mr. Justice Masuhara wrote as follows:

[92]         Therefore, my summary of findings regarding the plaintiff’s injuries is: 

(a)            The Accident caused the plaintiff’s chronic myofascial pain syndrome and post traumatic thoracic outlet syndrome.  The pain is in her left neck, left shoulder and upper back.  She also has paresthesia in her left arm as a result of the thoracic outlet syndrome. 

(b)            The Accident caused the plaintiff to suffer headaches which continue.  The headache pain ranges from dull, to mild to severe.  She gets dull or mild headaches every other day and manages without medication.  She has more significant headaches once every two weeks.  They can be managed with Tylenol and Advil. 

...

(h)            The plaintiff has some physical limitations, however, she is able to carry out normal day-to-day activities including teaching, with the work support and prep time available to her, and home cleaning and cooking. 

(i)              The plaintiff is functional for basic handling, reaching, balance, stooping, lifting and carrying for amounts tested, sitting, standing and walking.  She is able to do housecleaning though has difficulty with heavier activities for which she requires some assistance. 

...

(k)            She is able to perform her teaching duties, including leading or assisting in after school student extra-curricular activities. 

...

[93]         With the above in mind, I turn to damages.

...

[102]     The ranges the parties rely on are not too far apart.  The assessment in this case, while guided by other cases, is tailored to the specifics of the present case.  My review of the cases handed up and my findings lead me to assess damages under this head at $80,000

...

[126]     For massage and chiropractic treatments, which are a key source of relief, I assess the amount at $90,000

The full text of the decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/01/2017BCSC0164.htm