$175,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for Brain Injury Leading to Early Onset Dementia

Source: Erik Magraken: BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver REgistry, assessing damages for a traumatic brain injury.

In today’s case (Weaver v. Pollock) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2010 collision that the Defendants accepted responsibility for.  The Plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury and ultimately was diagnosed with early onset dementia linked to this injury.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $175,000 Mr. Justice Burnyeat provided the following reasons:

[100]     I am satisfied that it is now established that mild traumatic brain injury or subdural haematoma can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, or an increased risk of dementia.

[101]     In his December 1, 2010 statement to ICBC, Mr. Weaver indicated that he had lost consciousness after the Collision. In his report, Dr. O’Shaughnessy assumes that Mr. Weaver lost consciousness but does not indicate how he arrived at that conclusion. On the other hand but without attribution, the notes of Dr. Burtt and Ms. Hubbard indicate no loss of consciousness.

[102]     I find that Mr. Weaver has proven on a balance of probabilities that he was unconscious for more than a several seconds as a result of the Collision. In this regard, I am satisfied that what Ms. Cotton observed when she came to the side of his truck is accurate and that Mr. Weaver was “kind of like waking”. I am satisfied that what Ms. Cotton observed was Mr. Weaver regaining consciousness.

[103]     Even if I am found to be incorrect in arriving at the conclusion that Mr. Weaver lost consciousness for a short period, I am satisfied that he did suffer a traumatic brain injury. In this regard, I adopt the indicia set out by Dr. Kiraly that a traumatically induced psychological disruption of brain function (a traumatic brain injury) can be manifested by “at least one” of any period of loss of consciousness, of loss of memory for events immediately before or after the Collison, and of alteration in mental state at the time of the Collision. I find that Mr. Weave manifested all three of those factors.

[104]     Taking into account the age of Mr. Weaver, I give very little weight to the decisions in Nahal, Goguen, and Watkins relied upon by the Defendants. I find that the decision in Wong, supra, most closely represents the facts presented by the effects of the collision on Mr. Weaver even though there was finding in Wong that the accident accelerated the onset of dementia. Here, I could find that there was no pre-disposition to dementia so that an award of non-pecuniary damages here should take that into account but not the advanced age of Ms. Wong.

[105]     Taking into account the increased risk factors in the future as set out in the opinion of Dr. Kiraly, the severity and duration of the pain at the back of his head, his shoulder and his chest, the impairment of his life, the impairment of his mental abilities, the loss of his lifestyle, the failure of his memory and ability to concentrate, the susceptibility and greater risk associated with Stage Four dementia, the impairment of his social, occupational, recreational function, and his age, I am satisfied that an assessment of non-pecuniary damages of $175,000 should be made.

Opioid addiction costs employers $2.6B a year for care (U.S.)

A new report shows large employers spent $2.6 billion to treat opioid addiction and overdoses in 2016, an eightfold increase since 2004. More than half went to treat employees’ children.

The analysis released Thursday, April 5, 2018 by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds such spending cost companies and workers about $26 per enrollee in 2016.

Employers have been limiting insurance coverage of opioids because of concerns about addiction. The report finds spending on opioid prescriptions falling 27 per cent from a peak in 2009.

Researchers analyzed insurance claims from employers with more than 1,000 workers. Most are self-insured, meaning they assume the financial risk.

Workers share the costs. Steve Wojcik of the National Business Group on Health says for every $5 increase, employers typically cover $4 and pass $1 to workers.

California Judge: Coffee needs cancer warnings

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that California law requires coffee companies to carry a cancer warning label.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said in a proposed decision Wednesday, March 28, 2018 that Starbucks and other coffee companies failed to show the threat from a chemical compound produced in the coffee roasting process was insignificant.

A non-profit group had sued coffee roasters, distributors and retailers under a state law that requires warnings on a wide range of chemicals that can cause cancer. One is acrylamide, a carcinogen present in coffee.

The coffee industry had claimed the chemical was present at harmless levels and should be exempt from the law because it results naturally from the cooking process to make the beans flavourful.

Proposed California judicial decisions can be reversed but are reversed rarely.

Health Canada warns about dangerous USB chargers as 1.5 million units recalled

Health Canada is warning it has discovered numerous unsafe USB chargers during a national assessment of products on the market and a recall has been issued affecting more than 1.5 million units.

The federal agency has released a list of more than two dozen chargers that “pose an unacceptable risk of electric shock and fire.”

Consumers are advised to stop using the products immediately and either return them or throw them away.

Health Canada recommends consumers check that electrical products have a recognized certification mark before making a purchase.

The certification symbol should be on the product itself and not just the packaging.

Food Allergy Canada posts warning about mocking scene in film ‘Peter Rabbit’

By Sheryl Ubelacker

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TORONTO _ Food Allergy Canada is warning movie-goers about a scene in “Peter Rabbit,” which has created an online backlash for appearing to mock people at risk for the potentially life-threatening condition anaphylaxis.

In the film, based on the popular children’s book by Beatrix Potter and released on the weekend, the character Tom McGregor must use an EpiPen after Peter Rabbit and his furry comrades pelt him with blackberries _ a fruit to which he has a severe allergy.

“Any time you take a serious medical condition and it become the butt of any jokes or it’s not taken seriously, it can be quite difficult and concerning for people,” Beatrice Povolo, a spokeswoman for Food Allergy Canada, said Monday.

Food allergies are a serious public health condition that affect almost 485,000 children in Canada and millions more worldwide, she said.

“And when it is portrayed in this type of fashion, it provides an impression that it’s not as serious as it is, and unfortunately it can be a life-threatening condition for some people.”

The movie’s creators and Sony Pictures, the studio behind them, issued a joint statement Sunday apologizing for being insensitive in their portrayal, saying that “food allergies are a serious issue” and the film “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries, “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.”

On Monday, Food Allergy Canada posted a warning about the movie to its social media followers.

“Please be advised there is a reported scene in this children’s movie where a character is knowingly given his allergen, resulting in an anaphylactic reaction, requiring the use of his epinephrine auto-injector. Sony Pictures has since apologized for the scene,” the post reads.

“If you are considering seeing this film with your children, please talk to them beforehand and again following the movie. Any inappropriate depiction of food allergy highlights the need for greater awareness and education in the wider community. We will continue to work toward raising awareness and education regarding the seriousness of food allergy and to encourage respectful and informed dialogues about food allergy.”

The U.S. charity group Kids with Food Allergies has also posted a warning about the scene on its Facebook page, prompting some on Twitter to start using the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

The group said that allergy jokes are harmful to their community and that making light of the condition “encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously.”

Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, wrote an open letter to the studio asking for the opportunity to educate the company and the film’s cast on the realities of food allergies and urged the studio to “examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience.”

Quebec health insurance cards are getting a makeover

Claire Loewen · CBC News

Get ready for a new look, Quebecers — on your health insurance card, that is.

For the first time in more than 40 years, the Quebec health insurance board (RAMQ) has changed the design of its health card.

The new cards are inspired by Quebec driver’s licence, RAMQ says, complete with a black-and-white I.D. photo and lighter background colours.

The card, nicknamed the “carte-soleil,” will retain its distinctive sun, although you will have to look harder to spot it.

Starting on Jan. 24, the new cards will be distributed gradually through renewals, replacements of lost, stolen or damaged cards, or the issuance of a first card.

The RAMQ card features images that only appear under ultraviolet light. (RAMQ)

Quebecers with cards bearing the old design needn’t worry — the current cards will be valid until they expire.

Some new security features on the RAMQ card include:

  • Ink that changes colour depending on angle and light.
  • Tactile engravings.
  • Images visible only under ultraviolet light.

Last July, RAMQ announced it would be using the services of Quebec’s public automobile insurance agency, the SAAQ, to produce its cards by 2018.

This way, cards will be delivered more quickly: optimizing service by avoiding duplication of equipment and sharing expertise are among the rationale.

Originally, RAMQ was producing 2.3 million cards every year, but the demand for cards is expected to drop in half by 2018 as medicare cards will become valid for eight years instead of four.

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