Court awards $175,000 in non-pecuniary damages for plaintiff with "Somatic Symptom Disorder"

Personal Injury Blog

In reasons for judgment released today, the court in Domil v. Cheung, 2017 BCSC 65, awarded $175,000 in non-pecuniary damages to a plaintiff diagnosed with “Somatic Symptom Disorder” whose condition had a “largely psychological basis” and was more akin to a “Conversion Disorder as opposed to a Chronic Pain Disorder”.  In giving judgment, Mr. Justice Skolrood wrote as follows:

[103]     The real issue for Ms. Domil…is her psychological condition. I agree with Dr. Janke’s assessment that Ms. Domil’s “preoccupation with symptoms and the development of unusual and non-physiological symptoms” are the principal barriers to her experiencing a higher degree of recovery. That is also the opinion of Dr. Anton.

[105]     That said, I agree with the defendants that Ms. Domil tended to describe herself as more disabled than she actually is based on her activities of daily life. On her own evidence and that of her husband, Ms. Domil now walks regularly, drives, goes to the gym and pool, organizes the children for school daily, attends church and attends a weekly Christian Life program. She is also back cooking and doing housework to the extent that Mr. Domil described as “getting back to normal.”

[117]     Considering the impacts of the accident on Ms. Domil, including the physical and emotional symptoms that she has experienced and will continue to experience…I find that an award of $175,000 for non-pecuniary damages is appropriate.

The full text of the decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/00/2017BCSC0065.htm