The guest post is written by ERIK MAGRAKEN
Reasons for judgement were published this week by BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) addressing fault and damages following a collision. In what is one of the lowest assessments of non-pecuniary damages I have seen the CRT awarded $1,500 for injuries which lasted several months.
In today’s case (Thandi v. Uggal) the Applicant was involved in a 2019 collision. The Respondent denied fault but was found liable for the crash.
The Applicant, who was self represented, gave evidence that he suffered various soft tissue injuries. These required 3 physiotherapy sessions and two doctors visits. The Applicant did not bring medico-legal evidence in support of his claim.
Tribunal Member Kristin Gardner accepted he was injured but awarded non-pecuniary damages at only $1,500. In doing so the Member cited a BC Provincial Court authority from 14 years ago, took the lowest end of the suggested range of applicable damages and did not adjust it for inflation. In reaching this assessment the following reasons were given:
36. Mr. Thandi claims $5,500 for pain and suffering. This figure is the applicable cap for a “minor injury” as defined in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act (IVA). The parties did not expressly agree whether Mr. Thandi’s injuries are “minor injuries” as defined in section 101 of the IVA. However, given Mr. Thandi’s claim does not exceed the applicable “minor injury cap”, I find that I do not need to determine whether the injuries are in fact “minor injuries”.
37. Mr. Thandi says that due to the Covid-19 pandemic he was unable to obtain his doctor’s records to support his claim. However, I note that Mr. Thandi did not request an extension of these CRT proceedings so that he could obtain this evidence. It is undisputed that Mr. Thandi attended 3 physiotherapy treatments and 2 visits to his doctor, with his last treatment in November 2019. Mr. Uggal submits that there is insufficient documentation to properly evaluate Mr. Thandi’s claim for pain and suffering. However, Mr. Uggal does not dispute that Mr. Thandi sustained injuries from the accident.
38. In Holt v. Hertzberg, 2006 BCPC 228 at paragraph 27, the court noted after reviewing the authorities, that non-pecuniary damages for relatively minor soft tissue injuries that resolve within a matter of months are often assessed in the range of $1,500 to $7,500, depending on the facts of the case. Given the limited evidence about Mr. Thandi’s injuries, on a judgment basis, I find that $1,500 is appropriate compensation for non-pecuniary (pain and suffering) damages.