Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Plaintiff Awarded Over $800,000 for Chronic Pain and Headaches Following Crash

In Forder v. Linde 2014 BCSC 1600, the plaintiff, Ms. Forder, suffered chronic pain and  headaches causing a major depressive disorder, following a rear end motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff was awarded over $800,000 as follows:

General Damages:                        $100,000

Past Lost Earning Capacity:          $145,577

Future Loss of Earning Capacity:  $325,000

Future Cost of Care:                      $230,000

Special Damages:                         $35,023.76

TOTAL:                                          $835,600.76

At the time of the incident, the plaintiff was a 47 year-old special education assistant, who also regularly carried out respite care for families with special needs children. 

The motor vehicle accident left the plaintiff suffering chronic pain and headaches and effectively ended her work as a special education assistant. The award reflects the Court’s view that based on expert evidence demonstrating the potential for rehabilitative success following a multidisciplinary pain program, it is not unreasonable to expect that Ms. Forder may acquire more respite care clients in the long term.

795     Mr. Struthers extrapolation of future earnings for Ms. Forder if she never worked again was $447,336, and if I make an allowance for lost respite care (on my basis of $5,000 per year) that is an approximate amount of $57,360 per year or lost future earnings of $502,036.
796     However, Dr.'s Wild, Anderson, Underwood and O'Shaughnessy all spoke favourably of utilizing a multidisciplinary pain clinic to assist Ms. Forder resolving her anxiety and depression over her chronic pain and headaches.

801     Ms. Forder was basically bed ridden for some 18 months. Equally, clearly as one sifts through the reports and sees the improvement after 18 months and the plain need for Ms. Forder to become more active but at the same time have appropriate medical care without the worry of a lawsuit impinging on her life, there is in my view a reasonable medical likelihood of Ms. Forder being capable of sedentary employment. She has continued with one of her respite care clients. It is not unreasonable to forecast that Ms. Forder, with her skills and empathy for special needs children will be able in the long term to acquire some more clients.This potential was also reflected in the award for future cost of care, to account for costs related to multidisciplinary pain care and management. 
805     I had some difficulty with the defendant's position when they were in agreement that there was a need for a multidisciplinary pain clinic, ongoing home assistance, but only for some two years, payment for Botox treatment even perhaps to age 75 ($53,000), the need for cognitive behavioural treatment, and not the ten sessions that were purportedly done with Dr. M. Anderson, but with 30 sessions recommended by Dr. S. Anderson ($5,250).
806     And given the need for medication and psychological intervention for the major depressive disorder based on Dr. O'Shaughnessy and Dr. Wild's opinion, the defendant's suggestion of future cost of care be limited to $35,000 - $45,000 does not fall within their own parameters.
808     In my view, the pain clinic, the medications (reduced as plaintiff's counsel suggested for the Gabapentin to $5,540); psychological assessment; CBT; ongoing psychological assistance; occupational therapy; physiotherapy; water therapy; allowance for homemaking and pool/gym membership; Nordic poles; yoga, kinesiology; home aids; and vocational assessment are all appropriate.
809     In the long term, some of these modalities may prove useful, some may not, and I conclude that $230,000 is an appropriate award.

A.C. Richard Parsons and Nicholas Peterson of Collette Parsons Harris acted for the Plaintiff. 

The trial Judge's full reasons can be viewed at the link provided above.

posted by Collette Parsons at


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