Nurse nets 140k in damages for car accident related injuries
Ms. Guzman was a licensed practical nurse when she was involved in a car accident on April 26, 2011. She was t-boned by a driver that ran a red light. She was alone in her car and wearing her seatbelt at the time of her car accident. She was taken by the ambulance to the hospital and released a few hours later. Ms. Guzman testified at her trial that she suffered injuries to her neck, left upper shoulder, left elbow, right forearm, and both of her lower legs in the car accident. What was primarily in dispute was the accuracy ever complained of ongoing pain and discomfort and the extent to which the injuries have affected her ability to work.
At the time of the accident Ms. Guzman was 53 years old, single ended not have any dependents. She lived with her younger sister who is employed as a care worker. She enjoyed cooking, working, socializing with friends and various other social activities. She described that the car accident has had interfered with her work and personal life. She was off work after the car accident for approximately 10 months. She then returned on a gradual return to work program and resume full-time employment. She testified that although she return to full-time work she found that the work was much more difficult than it was prior to her car accident. She no longer had the energy to do many of the things she used to do both at and away from work. She attended rehabilitation therapy for several years until she reached the plateau. She remained anxious about driving and being involved in other car accidents.
Various of friends, coworkers and doctors testified in this case. Most testified that Ms. Guzman no longer display the same energy and enthusiasm for work and happiness for life as she did prior to the car accident.
Various doctors testified that there was a risk that Ms. Guzman would not be a will to continue in her capacity as a nurse for the balance of her work life. Some physicians agreed that it was too early to say definitely as the remained a chance of further improvement.
Recommendations were made that included ongoing physiotherapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture. Psychological counseling was also recommended.
Car Accident Injury Award
The court explained the purpose of non-pecuniary general damages in it’s decision. These damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff’s pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the car accident. The award, as the court explained, was to compensate the plaintiff for the damages they suffered up to the date of trial and for the damages will suffer into the future. There are factors to be considered when awarding non-pecuniary general damages such as (no-nexhaustively) the age of the plaintiff, the nature of the injury, severity and duration of the pain, the degree of disability, the impairment family, marital, and social relationships and loss of lifestyle. It is also influenced by the individual plaintiff’s personal experiences in dealing with injuries and their consequence. The judge in this case found that a fair and reasonable award of compensation for pain and suffering in this car accident case was $50,000.
The court also explored a past economic loss. Past economic loss is to compensate the plaintiff for what he or she actually lost as a result of the car accident. In this case, Ms.Guzman had to use time from her sick bank. The judge found that to only compensate her for the net amount of her sick bank time would result in deductions being taken from her twice – now and then later when she used them in the future. This is because when she does use replenish sick bank time, she will have income tax and other deductions taken from her by her employer and would only receive the net income amount. The judge awarded past wage loss in the amount of nearly $46,000.
The court also considered future wage loss and the loss of future earning capacity. A claim for future loss of earning capacity, as the court explained, raised two key questions. Number one, whether or not the plaintiff’s earning capacity had been impaired by his or her injuries caused in the car accident and number two, what compensation should be awarded for the financial harm that will accrue over time as a result. The essential task of the court is to compare the likelihood that the plaintiff’s future working life (that she would have had, had the accident not occurred) to the working life and losses that she may reasonably sustain as a result of the car accident. This is a matter of judgment based on the evidence and is not a pure mathematical calculation. The court noted that the appropriate means of assessment will vary from case to case. The judge found that the plaintiff had proven on a real and substantial possibility basis that her income capacity was impaired by the car accident and awarded her $20,000 in past losses.
The court also explored a claim for future care costs as a result of the car accident. Future care is compensation for the cost of care that somebody would incur in the future as a result of their car accident injuries. The court found that a fair and reasonable award for future care for rehabilitation as well as some counseling was $16,000.
The court also looked at special damages. In this case these were mainly out-of-pocket expenses. The court awarded $6500 to reimburse her for physiotherapy and massage paid out-of-pocket. In total, this car accident victim was awarded $130,000.
If you have been in a car accident you have rights. Unfortunately our Ontario car accident laws place strict timelines on various applications and processes that an injured victim can make. Please talk to one of our lawyers and learn what your rights of recovery may be if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident. We specialize in complex and critical personal injury law and would be pleased to explain your rights to you at no obligation.