$180,000 awarded to PTSD victim for her pain & suffering— judge rejects ICBC’s psychiatrist’s opinion

Ms. Jossy was in an accident in 2011. It resulted in ankle surgeries, neck, shoulder & back pain & disabling psychological injuries. She had struggled with her mental health before her mva as she had experienced severe emotional & physical childhood trauma. However she had greatly improved before her accident. After it, these problems worsened to the point that she was hospitalized in 2014.

ICBC hired Dr. Milanese, a psychiatrist. He assessed Ms. J., prepared a report & testified at her trial. He downplayed her condition & stated that:

  • her mental health symptoms were mild;
  • her post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) would resolve in the next few months & was due to her childhood trauma, not her mva;
  • the probability of her recovering was excellent.

Mr. Justice Skolrood on June 7, 2016 issued his reasons for judgment. He stated that:

  •  Ms. J’s treating psychiatrist said Ms. J’s prognosis was poor,
  • ICBC’s psychiatrist was very optimistic, and
  • the prognosis of the psychiatrist hired by Ms. J’s lawyer fell somewhere in the middle.

The judge agreed with the latter psychiatrist that Ms. J is likely to experience symptoms & require counselling for the next 3 to 5 years. He made an award of $180,000 for Ms. J’s “pain & suffering” for both her physical & psychological injuries.

This is a very substantial award for pain & suffering. An exceedingly important factor in an award is what the judge concludes the future will be for the injured claimant. This is based, to a large extent, on which expert medical opinion he accepts. A very important role of a lawyer for a seriously injured person is to hire exceedingly qualified & credible experts whose opinions are very likely to be accepted by a judge or jury.

Judges make awards for pain & suffering based on the specific circumstances of each individual claimant. Clearly Mr. Justice Skolrood accepted that Ms. J had very significant physical & psychological injuries with long-term consequences.

See Jossy v Johnson, 2016 BCSC 1023