Personal Injury Blog

Plaintiff awarded $80,000 in non-pecuniary damages for “moderate” soft tissue injuries

In reasons for judgment released today, the court in Catling v. Poteryko, 2017 BCSC 311, awarded the plaintiff $80,000 in non-pecuniary damages for soft tissue injuries which persisted to the time of trial and the court described as ”moderate” .  The plaintiff in Catling was a 60-year-old plumber who operated his own small plumbing company, and who suffered soft-tissue injuries after a serious car accident in which his vehicle was broadsided by the defendant.  The plaintiff was able to continue working after the accident, though he did so in pain.  In finding the plaintiff entitled to $80,000 in non-pecuniary damages, Mr. Justice Thompson said as follows:

[20]        Mr. Catling has suffered the effects of moderate soft-tissue injuries. He has endured more pain than others would have in his efforts to carry on his work as he did before the MVA. He has lost the enjoyment and social contact he derived from golf. He used to use his ATV frequently and ski occasionally, but those pleasures are gone. Most significantly, Mr. Catling suffers the frustration of prematurely losing his leadership role in the family company that he and his wife built. His frustration has led to some friction in the family.

[21]        With his wife, Mr. Catling made the decisions for the company. With his long experience and intense interest in the business, he derived much pride and pleasure from his role at the centre of this successful enterprise. He was 56 years old at the time of the MVA, and I expect that he had nearly another decade ahead of him before he would reasonably think of turning the reins over to his sons. He is now a company employee, albeit a valuable one when it comes to estimating and acquiring lucrative water line work. But it was apparent when listening to the evidence of Mr. Catling and his family members that it does not sit well with Mr. Catling that he is unable to keep up on the physical side of the plumbing jobs.

[25]        I assess Mr. Catling’s non-pecuniary damages at $80,000.

The full decision can be found here: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/17/03/2017BCSC0311.htm