$80,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages Award For Lumbar Disc Injury

In Doho v Melnikova, the Plaintiff was injured in two motor vehicle accidents.  The key issues were the Plaintiff’s loss of opportunity to earn past income, and diminished earning capacity.  ICBC’S lawyer claimed the Plaintiff failed to mitigate, and that the injuries sustained by the Plaintiff were not as serious as what the Plaintiff claimed. The Plaintiff was awarded $80,000 for a lumbar disc injury that he had suffered from for four and a half years by the time of the trial, and which condition was permanent. The Court commented that :


[38]               The first accident caused a significant injury to Mr. Doho’s lower back. He sustained a disk hernia at the L4-5 level of his spine. That hernia impinged on his spinal nerves and caused him severe pain for the first three or four months after the accident. He also suffered from headaches and a sore neck. Those latter symptoms resolved by three months after the accident. Mr. Doho’s leg pains dissipated by approximately four months after the accident, but he was left with ongoing low back discomfort. His pain is increased by lifting, playing sports such as golf, standing or sitting for lengthy periods of time. Because surgery is not an option at this point, I have concluded that Mr. Doho’s condition is permanent.


[39]               I find that Mr. Doho’s non-pecuniary damages arising out of the November 2006 accident should be assessed at $80,000.


 [40]           The second accident caused Mr. Doho to suffer a significant increase in his pain. The acute phase of that increase lasted about two days, and was resolved within a week. After that, Mr.Doho’s pain and limitation of function returned to its pre-second-accident level. I assess his non-pecuniary damages arising out of the March 2009 accident at $5,000.

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