Plaintiff awarded $75,000 in non-pecuniary damages for soft-tissue injuries

In reasons for judgment released on St. Patrick’s Day, the court in Owen v. Peljhan, 2017 BCSC 423, awarded a 42-year-old plaintiff $75,000 in non-pecuniary damages for soft-tissue injuries.  In giving reasons, Mr. Justice Gaul wrote as follows:

[46]        Ms. Owen asserts that the injuries she suffered as a result of her motor vehicle accident have had a significant impact on her overall enjoyment of life. She points to the fact that she is no longer employed in the financial investment industry; is no longer able to pursue her vigorous physical fitness routines; is no longer as socially active; and generally suffers from a lack of energy and drive that at time borders on exhaustion. As she explained in her testimony, “there’s a certain exhaustion, like my bones feel tired. And I know that’s a physical feeling, but it’s emotional too because I feel like I’m on the outside looking into my old life, if that makes sense?

[52]        In my opinion, the extent and gravity of the injuries suffered by Ms. Owen are not as significant as she claims. While Ms. Owen has not returned to the level of activity and enjoyment of life that she had prior to the accident, she has succeeded in returning to what by any reasonable yardstick would be considered a healthy and active lifestyle. Moreover, I am not convinced that the pain and discomfort from Ms. Owen’s accident injuries prohibited her from carrying on with her career goal of becoming a Certified Financial Planner. Having said all of this, I do accept that she continues to suffer from the chronic pain, principally in her neck and shoulders and that this has had a detrimental impact on her ability to her enjoyment of life.

[53]        In my respectful view, the case authorities submitted by counsel for Ms. Owen reflect fact patterns that are more aggravating than Ms. Owen’s. For example, unlike the circumstances in some of those cases, Ms. Owen’s injuries have not been debilitating, nor has she suffered any significant emotional trauma or serious marital discord.

[54]        In my opinion, an award of $75,000 would fairly compensate Ms. Owen for her non‑pecuniary damages.

The full decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/04/2017BCSC0423.htm