Category: Hip Injuries

Plaintiff Requiring Three Hip Replacement Surgeries Awarded $175,000.00 In Non-Pecuniary Damages

In Carmichael v. Kwon, the Plaintiff was injured in two motor vehicle collisions, and brought ICBC claims for both. The actions were consolidated for trial purposes, and liability for both accidents was admitted on behalf of the Defendants by ICBC’S lawyer.

 

The first accident was the more serious one, with the Plaintiff sustaining soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, shoulders, ankle, knees, and wrist. The most serious injury suffered by the Plaintiff was to her hip, which was later diagnosed as a torn labrum causing inflammation and early degeneration. It was determined by the Court that the Plaintiff would need three hip replacement surgeries.

 

The effects of the Plaintiff’s injuries had serious consequences on her life, both physically and emotionally. The Court heard that her physical limitations would affect her enjoyment of recreational activities and participation in child care, and further that her emotional suffering impacted on her relationship with her fiance. In addition, her mental and physical health would impact on her sense of self-worth and career potential.

 

The Plaintiff missed more than a year of work, and was also prevented from being able to participate in physical activities with her son and fiance. By the time of trial, which was over three years after the first accident and about one year after the second accident, the Plaintiff still suffered from chronic pain in other areas besides her hip. The Court, however, noted that the worst of her issues at the time of trial was the deterioration of her right hip, which would restrict her ability to walk until such time that she had her first hip replacement surgery.

 

The Court was also impressed with the Plaintiff for being able to return to full-time employment, although she did still have to be accommodated by her employer in certain respects, by being relieved from duties such as carrying and lifting. The Court also noted that the Plaintiff experienced pain while she worked, and worked at a job which was not in her chosen field.

 

The Court would award $175,000.00 to the Plaintiff for non-pecuniary damages.

 

[120] She was 23 years of age at the time of the MVA. She is now 27 years of age and in her child bearing years. I accept that it is her intention to have two additional children. I also accept that the first hip replacement will occur within five to ten years, which I find means that she will likely have further children during a time when the hip has further deteriorated, increasing her level of pain and decreasing her mobility. She will likely require a mobility aid, as well as pain medication. The seriousness of her hip condition will profoundly affect her ability to enjoy this important period of a woman’s life by impinging on her physical ability to participate in activities with her children until after the first hip replacement. That is not to say that she won’t be able to be a wonderful mother, but rather it will affect the level of care she can provide and type of activities she can enjoy with her children.

 

[121] Once she has had the first hip replacement, I accept the evidence of Dr. Duncan that the plaintiff will not have the pain symptoms caused by the torn labrum and deterioration of her hip for a period of approximately twenty to twenty-five years and the limitations on her mobility will in the meantime be substantially alleviated. She will be able to be active again until the period leading up to and immediately following the next hip replacement. That said, I also accept the evidence of Dr. Jaworski that it is likely she will continue to have some residual pain associated with her chronic pain disorder. I find that while an exercise program, weight loss and cognitive therapy are likely to have a positive effect on her symptoms, the psychological component of chronic pain disorder militate against her feeling totally pain free after the first hip surgery. Further, as noted above, her need for two further hip surgeries and the associated recovery time will disrupt the course of her life.

 

[123] I agree with the defendants that the most problematic of her current issues is the gradual deterioration of her right hip. I find that it restricts her ability to walk, stand, and sleep comfortably and, as noted above, will continue to do so until her first hip replacement. I observe that the pain and fatigue she has experienced on a recent trip to Disneyland caused her to use a wheelchair for periods as she was not able to keep up with family members. I accept that she cannot perform the normal household duties in the same extent she did in the past, although she does perform such duties.

Plaintiff Awarded $67,500 In Non-Pecuniary Damages After Suffering Fractured Hip On Bus

In Wong v. South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, the Plaintiff was an 81 year old lady who was injured on a bus when the bus driver abruptly pulled into traffic before the Plaintiff had the chance to be seated, causing her to fall. The bus driver then slammed on the brakes. The Plaintiff suffered a fractured hip in the accident, and subsequently brought an ICBC claim for damages for pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses, and cost of future care. The trial was approximately three and a half years after the accident, and the Plaintiff still required the use of a cane. The Court awarded $90,000 for pain and suffering, which was reduced to $67,500, as the Court found the Plaintiff to be 25% contributorily negligent for the fall.

 

[48] Dr. Horlick is an expert orthopedic surgeon. He prepared a report which summarized the injury and noted that he would not anticipate “… that Mrs. Wong would require more extensive assistance with her mobility needs or with basic activities of daily living as a direct consequence of her right hip fracture or residua of same.”

[49] At the time of the fall Ms. Wong was in good health. She lived a very active life and was able to walk without aids, swim two to three times per week, and shop for groceries and other necessities. She travelled frequently and in the words of her son, Samson Wong was “sociable”, “a very busy lady” and had “lots of friends”.

[50] It is clear from all of the evidence including the evidence of Samson Wong, that the impact of the fall was significant. Samson Wong indicated that his care for his mother had increased “about ten times more than before” and that the impact had not just impacted her physically, but mentally. She can no longer travel independently and walks with a cane.