$170,000 non-pecuniary damages for chronic pain / psychological injury

The Plaintiff in today’s decision Noftle v. Bartosch, 2018 BCSC 766 was awarded $1,194,410 for injuries sustained in a collision which significantly impacted her life.

This case is an example of how chronic pain can lead to psychological injury that can significantly impact one’s life. In this case specifically, the Plaintiff was once considered to be a remarkably positive and active individual and had “boundless energy”, committed to raising her 4 children, devoted to her family, and being an active member of the community.  She was 42 years of age when the collision occurred and considered to be at the very “prime of her life.”  Every aspect of her life changed post collision.

The Plaintiff in this case suffered the following injuries:

  1. neck;
  2. collarbone;
  3. left shoulder;
  4. right shoulder (from splinting in reaction to left shoulder pain);
  5. including her left back.

She suffered from chronic pain which also impacted her mentally, the symptoms of which included fluctuating moods, insomnia, fatigue, frustration, memory and cognitive difficulties.

The medical evidence was deemed convincing, and confirmed that the Plaintiff would have little improvement, if at all. The injuries sustained by the Plaintiff in this collision impacted her ability to seek employment, impacted her ability to remain active, which was a major part of her life, nor volunteer at her church, her mood has altered and a loss of identity also flowed from her multiple limitations.

The summary of damages awarded:

Summary of Damages Awarded
Non-Pecuniary Damages 170,000
Loss of Past Income Capacity 95,000
Loss of Future Earning Capacity 650,000
Cost of Future Care 169,317
Special Damages 2,213
Loss of Pension Benefits 107,000
Misc. Expenses 880
Total 1,194,410

This case was well presented, but most importantly, the Plaintiff and the collateral witnesses were all deemed credible by the Court.

The Court stated:

Mrs. Noftle’s credibility is not in question. I accept her testimony and those of the several credible collateral witnesses who testified with respect to her pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and enjoyment of the amenities of life, and on her limitations and the effects on her relationships with her family and friends. Every aspect of Mrs. Noftle’s pre-accident life has been significantly negatively impacted by the accident. For what she has experienced to date and likely will in future, I award $170,000 for non-pecuniary damages, inclusive of $15,000 for loss of housekeeping capacity.

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