Court Awards $85,000 For Annular Tear

In Peers v. Bodkin Leasing Corporation, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident when he was involved in a rear end collision, and consequently brought an ICBC claim for damages for pain and suffering, as well as other heads of damages, such as diminished earning capacity, and the cost of future care. Liability was admitted by the Defendant. The Plaintiff suffered an annular tear, which prevented him from continuing to work in his own profession, and which had a profound effect on his life. By the time of trial, he had suffered from the injury for three years, with the pain ongoing. The Court awarded him $85,000 for pain and suffering.


[45]        Dr. Kokan was of the view that the shocks experienced by Mr. Peers this past spring indicated an annular tear as a result of the accident that may be progressing into a herniated disk.  That could lead to neurological changes including numbness to his lower extremities and even weakness with loss of bowel and bladder control.  Mr. Peers would likely need surgery which could reduce but not necessarily eliminate the pain.


[53]        I am satisfied that Mr. Peers made a determined effort not to let the pain interfere with the work he loved, but it eventually proved too much for him, and he was force to quit.  It may be that the shocks should be further investigated, and that Mr. Peers should not be as frightened of the potential for disk herniation as Dr. Kokan suggests.  Nevertheless, I accept that pain from the accident was the eventual cause of Mr. Peers’ inability to continue to work as a boom boat operator and at physical jobs in general.


[59]        Mr. Peers must cope with a life that is very different from the one he led previously, and at the age of 53, he is unlikely to return to the activities he loved, even at a reduced level.  He has lost the ability to rely on his great strength and agility, which sustained his confidence and self-esteem, and although he can still participate in some activities, he is simply not the person he was.  He has tried, since the accident, to stay in the working world which defined him, and to remain active and replace the sports he loved and excelled at with others that he could at least participate in.  Since he quit work in March of this year when his symptoms became too much to handle and moved to Powell River, he describes a life which is reclusive and lonely.


[60]        However, the future is not, in my view, completely bleak.  While testifying, Mr. Peers displayed stoicism and a sense of humour, underneath his evident uncertainty about the turn his life has taken.  Having only recently quit work, he is obviously still coming to terms with the need to find a different lifestyle to fulfil himself.  He has a number of concerned friends and family members who worry about him and want to assist him in improving his life and increasing his social contacts.  He has moved away from his long time home in the Gibsons/Roberts Creek area, but now lives near his son and grandchild.  This should provide him with opportunities to join in community activities if he will avail himself of them.



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