Chronic Pain may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit

One of the more damaging afflictions a person can suffer from is chronic pain. The idea of waking up in pain day after day is difficult to contemplate, and the reality can result in lasting physical and psychological effects. On columnist Yolanda Smith describes some of those impacts:

A reduction in quality of life is one of the most pressing worries for individuals that suffer from chronic pain. The pain can have an impact on the daily life of patients and inhibit them from partaking in activities as they usually would. In turn, this can have an effect on the psychological health of patients as they deal with the changes that this can bring.

It is common for patients to feel frustrated or angry, particularly when they are unable to partake in normal daily activities as usual. This can also stem into their social life and they may have difficulty creating and maintaining relationships with their loved ones.

In some cases, chronic pain may be a consideration in personal injury lawsuits. Law firms like Toronto’s Neinstein and Associates have experience considering the impact of chronic pain on the claims of a plaintiff. For instance, if a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the existence of chronic pain resulting from those injuries would be a consideration in assessing the amount compensation owed to the plaintiff.

A recent judgement in the British Columbia Supreme Court involved assessing the damages for partially disabling chronic pain. looked at some of the key factors in the decision:

The Plaintiff sustained soft tissue injuries which resulted in chronic symptoms. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Madam Justice Koenigsberg provided the following reasons:

[40]         Mr. Swieczko suffered significant soft tissue injuries as a result of the accident.  The clear medical evidence from the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. G.M. McKensie, is that Mr. Swieczko’s soft tissue injuries are now chronic and permanent, presenting as moderate to severe pain in the neck, mid-back and lower back with persistent flare-ups as a result of overtime work, attempts at physically interacting with his growing one-year-old daughter and attempts to reintegrate previously enjoyed recreational activities.  His prognosis is poor.  Dr. McKensie testified that while there are some positive prognostic indicators, such as the likelihood that his function will improve with an appropriate pain/activity program; these are outweighed by the negative indicators, such as length of time Mr. Swieczko has experienced pain and the fact that his body has become sensitized to it.

[45]         It must be recognized that this state of affairs is costing Mr. Swieczko psychologically.  He is far less able to socialize and enjoy family get-togethers – or physical activity that he enjoyed before the Accident.  Thus, Mr. Swieczko is struggling with frustration and emotional despondency from time to time as he contemplates the immediate future, wherein he may not be able to be an active participant in his daughter’s physical recreational life.  It was clear from Mr. Swieczko’s evidence that he was taken aback by receiving his poor prognosis in relation to living relatively pain-free and being able to do what he did before.  In particular, he had ambitions of participating in such physical activities as karate with his daughter as she matures.  He is now very unlikely to be able to do this…

The most significant factor in this case making the assessment of general damages suggested by the plaintiff more appropriate than that suggested by the defendant is the severity and chronicity of pain, which combines with Mr. Swieczko’s increasing emotional struggle over the impairments to his family, marital and social relationships.  Adding to this is Mr. Swieczko’s stoicism, which, in this case, has meant he has and continues to work longer and harder to achieve his career goals, but at a significant cost in pain and resort to strong medications.

[52]         I assess his non-pecuniary damages at $90,000.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and are now suffering from chronic pain, your best bet is to contact a personal injury law firm like Toronto’s Neinstein & Associates to help you assess the validity of a potential lawsuit.

The issue of chronic pain has been investigated by journalists, doctors and lawyers like Neinstein and Associates alike, and is well covered on YouTube. Check out a quick video below around the difficulties of living with chronic pain.