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$35,000 Awarded for Minor Injuries 70% Resolved in a Year in ICBC Case

In the recently reported case of Cariglino v. Okuda, 2011 BCSC 1492, Mr. Justice McKinnon awarded $35,000 in non-pecuniary damages to a plaintiff who suffered personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident in August 2008. The plaintiff sustained multiple soft tissue injuries in the accident, including injuries to her neck and right hip. The plaintiff also suffered from “ice pick” headaches and dizziness. The plaintiff’s family doctor, who provided the only expert opinion relied on at trial, stated that the plaintiff’s injuries would resolve within two years. Justice McKinnon said the following in respect of the award:


[39] The medical opinion has the plaintiff at 70% of full recovery one year post-collision. I accept that thereafter she continued to have some difficulty which continues to date but that she should, with continued therapy, soon be fully recovered.


[40] I set $35,000 as a reasonable amount for non-pecuniary damages.
The court also awarded the plaintiff $2,500 for massage and physiotherapy treatments required for her further rehabilitation and recovery. On that point, he said the following:


[46] I am persuaded that she should receive an award for future care costs. The medical opinion is that she would recover completely if she received massage and physiotherapy treatments. While I was not given any specific time frame there is evidence with respect to these costs and sufficient evidence to infer a reasonable period of time. I award $2,500 under this heading.


Expert Evidence Required to Support LVI Argument in ICBC Case


Justice McKinnon rejected ICBC’s argument that the plaintiff’s injury claims were “improbable” given the minor nature of the accident, as no expert evidence was called to support it. On that point, he stated that without opinion evidence he was “unable to accept the bald proposition that minor damage equals minor injury”.

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