Blog Post

Chronic Pain entitles Car Accident Victim to receive Injury Compensation

Posted by Kotak Law Office on July 04, 2018
Posted under Car Accidents

Many accident victims who are injured in a motor vehicle accident endure serious and prolonged pain that reduces their quality of life for many years, even after their initial injury appears to have healed.  Debilitating chronic pain is well recognized in the medical community as a significant symptom of many forms of injury and illness.   And, in addition to the physical pain and reduced function associated with chronic pain, sufferers also often struggle with ongoing sleep disturbances, tiredness, depression and anxiety.  Not surprisingly, this combination of symptoms can substantially impact a person’s joy in life and their ability to function at work, home and in social situations.

Persons who were injured in a motor vehicle accident and for whom chronic pain is a resulting symptom are entitled to seek damages for their financial and non-monetary losses.  In a 2018 civil action, Mousseau v. Morrison, an injured woman sued the defendant driver and owner after she was injured in a motor vehicle accident. The collision happened while the plaintiff was a passenger in her daughter’s vehicle and was rear-ended by the defendants’ vehicle while stopped at an intersection.  As a result of the accident, the plaintiff immediately suffered pain in her shoulders, back and neck, as well as headaches.   

The injured woman attended physiotherapy and returned to work on a modified work plan after four weeks, and for some time believed her symptoms were improving.  However, about 6 months after the accident and without having experienced any other trauma, she awoke in agony.  She was initially diagnosed with several conditions, including fibromyalgia, whiplash associated disorder, sprain and strain of the sacroiliac joint, and subluxation complex (vertebral) of the cervical, thoracic and lumber regions.

In a further diagnosis by a neurologist specializing in pain treatment, the plaintiff was diagnosed with chronic neck, lower back and shoulder pain that travels down her arms ‘suggestive of a neuropathic pain component’.  At the trial, the doctor emphasized that chronic pain is a recognized medical issue.  He described the plaintiff’s pain as moderate to severe and as significantly impacting her life: the plaintiff’s reduced function substantially effected her ability to work, particularly over the long term, and she was unable to perform the essential tasks of her normal job after being injured. She was no longer able lift heavy objects, perform overhead work, or work beyond 20 hours a week. The doctor gave the opinion that her constant pain is a permanent serious impairment resulting from the injuries she suffered in the car accident.

The defendants admitted to liability for the accident, but the trial went forward to decide damages.  On the basis of the evidence, the jury awarded the plaintiff $212,350 in damages, as well as almost $3000 in chiropractic expenses not covered by insurance.  The awarded damages included $100,000 for non-pecuniary damages (for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life), $42,900 for future care costs, $46,550 for past and future cost of housekeeping and home maintenance, $10,500 for past loss of income, and $12,400 for future loss of income. 

The defendants challenged the plaintiff’s entitlement to damages on the basis of the threshold requirements set out in Ontario’s Insurance Act.  The Act states that a condition must constitute “a permanent, serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function” in order to qualify for non-pecuniary/general damages from a motor vehicle accident.  On this question, the judge ruled that the plaintiff’s chronic pain satisfied all of the threshold requirements and accordingly, she was entitled to the jury’s judgement on damages. 

On the question of whether her pain was permanent, except for the defendants’ medical expert testimony, all medical evidence indicated that her chronic pain did not fully resolve despite her participation in recommended treatment and her pain will likely continue indefinitely. Further, the plaintiff’s pain effected an important function because it negatively impacted her entire way of life, with respect to daily living activities, leisure activities, and particularly her former employment. Finally, the judge found that the plaintiff’s injury was serious in terms of its substantial effect on the plaintiff’s employability. 

If you were hurt in an accident and are suffering from chronic pain, you may be entitled to damages against a negligent party responsible for causing your injury.  If you are covered under a disability insurance plan, you may also be eligible for long-term disability benefits.  Call a knowledgeable chronic pain lawyer at Kotak Personal Injury/Disability Law to find out about your legal right to compensation.

We understand that being denied disability benefits can be frustrating and devastating. Your time to fight your disability insurance company is limited. Please do not delay in calling long term disability lawyer. We have successfully sued numerous disability insurance companies including: Manulife, Sunlife, Desjardins, Great West Life, Blue Cross, AIG, SSQ, RBC, Industrial Alliance and more.
Call your trusted long term disability lawyers at 1-888-GOKOTAK or (416) 816-1500. Our consultation is free and we don't get paid until you do. We can meet you at our offices, at a coffee shop, your home or a local court house. We represent disabled people throughout Ontario including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Georgetown, Orangeville, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, St.Catharine's, Niagara Falls, Stoney Creek, Kitchener/Waterloo, Cambridge, London, Windsor. Markham, Pickering, Oshawa, Peterborough, Keswick, Kingston Ottawa and other locations.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to supply general information to the public. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, as laws change quickly, the reader should always ensure the accuracy and applicability of such information with respect to their particular case. The information contained in this article cannot replace a thorough and complete review of the reader's situation by competent legal counsel who has had an opportunity to review all of the facts.
Posted under Car Accidents
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