$95,000 Non-Pecuniary Award For Focal Disc Protrusion At L4-L5

In Ng v. Sarkaria, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident when struck by a vehicle that turned left in front of him. The Defendant admitted liability. The Plaintiff brought an ICBC for damages for pain and suffering, as well as other heads of damages, such as income loss, diminished earning capacity, and cost of future care. The Plaintiff suffered neck pain and knee pain, which had resolved, however he had a large focal disc protrusion at L4-L5, and he had required a partial discectomy. The trial occurred 4 1/2 years after the accident, and the Plaintiff was awarded $95,000 for pain and suffering. He did not suffer from chronic pain.

 

[40]           He did not describe his current limitations in terms of pain.  Rather, he says that he is reluctant to push himself because he does not want to trigger a relapse.  He experienced a recurrence of significant pain in August 2011, as a result of which he took two weeks off of work.  He says that he tries to limit the amount of lifting he does, including the lifting of his young daughter, in order to avoid initiating another bout of limiting pain.  He is very cautious about his activities.

 

[41]            His lifestyle has changed significantly as a result of his injuries.  Previously he did not have to be cautious.  Now, he limits his activities in all aspects of his life; his work, his leisure and his activities with his young family.  He is, however, able to carry out most of the activities he was formerly able to do.  The limitation he has suffered is that he cannot do as much as he was able to do in the past.  He does not take on the yard work he used to do alone but looks to friends and family for assistance.  He does not play the occasional game of basketball that he used to play.  He does maintain a light weightlifting and exercise routine which he finds helpful.  He actively participates in activities with his young daughter.

 

[43]             In summary, Mr. Ng has been left with a limitation in the amount of activities he can do.  He has also suffered some restriction in the nature of the activities he can do because he is focused on staying healthy.  He is determined to continue his work as a TFR.  He is not disabled by pain and there is no suggestion that he suffers from chronic pain.  Rather, he has episodic pain when he overexerts himself…

 

[46]            I have found the decisions referred to by the plaintiff to be helpful to my decision.  Of course, each assessment depends on the unique facts of the case.  Here, Mr. Ng’s injury was significant; however, he has had a very positive result from the surgery.  He continues to be able to do all of the activities of his job.  His income has increased to a level greater than it was before the accident.  He must be careful to avoid excessive stress on his back and must carefully balance his work and home life.  However, when I compare his situation to that of the plaintiffs in the cases he relies upon, he is in a better position because he does not experience ongoing chronic pain and is able to continue to carry out most of the activities he could before the accident.  However, I must also take into account the possibility that he will not be able to continue to perform at his current level as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident.  There is a possibility that his pain and restriction of activities will increase in the future.

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