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RC v. TN 2022 BCSC 334

Judge awards $1.867 million despite pre-existing condition.

The reasons for the Judgement of The Honourable Madam Justice Wilkinson were given on March 34d, 2022 at Vancouver, BC.

The plaintiff, RC, seeks compensation for injuries he sustained in an Accident that occurred on May 26, 2018. The plaintiff was proceeding through a green light when the defendants’ vehicle went through a red light, colliding with the plaintiff’s vehicle. The damage was extensive and both vehicles were written off. The defendants have admitted liability. The plaintiff claims he suffered back, wrist, shoulder and neck pain, headaches and psychological injury. The defendants submit that any of the plaintiff’s current symptoms are caused by a pre-existing condition.

RC was 33 years old at the time of the Accident. He was a skilled floor installer, with an established business, serving primarily commercial developer clients. He had also renovated and sold residential properties and was in process of renovating a home at the time of the collision. He started his business in 2014 and by the time of the Accident the business gross revenue had significantly grown.

From 2016 until the sprint of 2018 RC worked 50 – 70 hours per week and, after getting home from work, he would start working on his renovations. RC enjoyed dirt bilking, boating and waterskiing as well as hiking, rock climbing and fishing. He would also go to the gym a couple of days a week, with a friend, around 5:00 a.m. and work out for an hour. The Plaintiff had a bulged disc in 2014 and 2015 that was painful in his back and down his leg. The pain interfered with sleeping and sitting. He was diagnosed with lumbar degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. He tried some treatments without success. Pain medications helped a little. On June 12, 2015, he received a cortisone shot and within a couple of days his back pain resolved. He was pain free for 2.5 years thereafter. He had another episode of back pain in 2018 when he picked up a heavy beam, but it resolved quickly with some chiropractic treatment.

Dr. Harpreet Sangha testified on behalf of the Plaintiff. Dr. Sangha opined that the plaintiff’s L4/5 had a site of vulnerability which the Accident rendered immediately symptomatic. Dr. Sangha opined that the plaintiff likely would have experienced periods of pain in the future regardless of the Accident. However, these future periods would likely not have functionally impaired him, consistent with his natural history.

The Court found that the facts demonstrate the Accident caused a new and consistent period of disability and limitation and that the defendants are therefore liable for the whole of the plaintiff’s damages. Madam Justice Wilkinson accepted that the Plaintiff was asymptomatic in the weeks prior to the Accident. His back flare ups did not restrict him in his flooring company, renovations and recreational pursuits at any time prior to the Accident. She went on to say, “The plaintiff went from getting tot he gym before 5 am for a workout, working like “two to three guys” during the day, and doing a couple hours of home renovations before bed, to taking pain pills every day, and focussing on the management side of his company. His positive outlook on his life changed to a regular feeling of being anxious…”

Summary; Non-percuniary damages $120,000; Past loss of earning capacity $189,900; Future loss of earning capacity $1,385,500; Cost of future care $68,297.50; special damages $102,978.38; Total *$1,866,675.88* Rounded up to $1,867,000.00

For further analysis and reporting of the decision please download the linked PDF.

The full Reasons of The Honourable Madam Justice Wilkinson can be found here.

If you would like to book an assessment with Dr. Harpreet Sangha, Physiatrist, please contact us.

Written by Stella Gowans, Paralegal