Judicial reasons for judgement were delivered on May 29, 2014 by the Honorable Mr. Justice Bernart in MacAulay v. Field 2014 BCSC 937. The trial was conducted by Tim Delaney of our office at LK Law - the case involved a 51 year old female plaintiff with pre-existing back and neck issues.
Insurance companies, like ICBC, tend to argue that your injuries are worth less because you already had an injured back or neck - they say it was a "pre-existing condition" or "pre-existing injury" and therefore the accident only mildly contributed to some pain. It the job of a good personal injury lawyer to highlight the difference between how the condition manifested before the accident and how it changed after. Not all cases are alike.
The Court disagreed with ICBC and applied the thin skull doctrine. The Court found the evidence to establish that the plaintiff had a pre-existing condition that was ‘activated’ by the result of the accident and therefore was entitled to an award not reduced because of the resulting long term debilitation.
The Court stated:
“the plaintiff was a physically active woman who enjoyed various athletic and recreational pursuits as a dominant aspect of her social life with family and friends. This enjoyment had been taken from her by the negligent act of the defendants.”
The injuries the plaintiff sustained were a significant loss of lifestyle, an impairment of relationships, daily discomfort, sleepless nights and painful flare-ups. The plaintiff was awarded $75,000 in non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering), $ 1,700 in Special Damages, and $10,000 for Future Care totaling a payout of $ 86,700.