Court awards plaintiff $90,000 in non-pecuniary damages for soft-tissue injuries and headaches

In reasons for judgment released today, the court in Willett v. Rose, 2017 BCSC 627, awarded the plaintiff $90,000 in non-pecuniary damages for soft-tissue injuries and headaches that resulted from a motor vehicle collission.  The plaintiff in Willett was a 51-year-old realtor who had a longstanding pre-accident history of migraines.  In making the award, Mr. Justice Smith wrote as follows:

[1]             The plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident near Prince George, British Columbia on February 16, 2010. Seven years later, the plaintiff says she continues to suffer from neck pain and stiffness that in turn leads to debilitating migraine headaches. The defendant says the plaintiff had a long history of migraines before the accident and returned to her pre-accident condition within a few months. The defendant also says the plaintiff was partly responsible for the accident.

[20]         The plaintiff says she still has limited mobility and discomfort in her neck, although she can have pain free periods lasting up to a week or two. But when she has neck pain she says the pain will spread across the left side of her head or to a band across the forehead. She says she still gets headaches two or three times a month. These last a day or two if they do not develop into full migraines; but the migraines, which are more frequent than her “normal” headaches, can last up to five days. When she has a migraine, she says she needs to go to bed in a dark room with cold compresses and is sensitive to light, touch, sounds and smells.

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[22]         The plaintiff, who is now 51, has a pre-accident history of migraines going back to her early teens. She says these were always associated with her menstrual periods and stopped when she went into menopause in 2012. She says the present migraines are both more severe and more frequent.

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[45]         It has now been seven years since the accident. The plaintiff still experiences neck pain and stiffness as a result of the soft tissue injuries to her neck. More importantly, the neck pain is a contributing factor to serious, sometimes temporarily disabling migraines that significantly interfere with both work and recreational activities and reduce her quality of life. No improvement is anticipated in the future.

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[48]         Considering all of the evidence and the authorities cited to me, I award non‑pecuniary damages of $90,000.

The full decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/06/2017BCSC0627.htm