Quantum Case Summary of Stevenson v. Thompson

By September 22, 2017Articles

In the recent decision of Stevenson v. Thompson [2017] ABQB 51, the Court awarded the Plaintiff Stevenson $75,000.00 in general damages (whereby the damage award was reduced by 20% for the Plaintiff’s failure to mitigate).

On August 12, 2008, the Plaintiff suffered the following injuries when a vehicle collided with her parked car (para 1, para 293) in which she was seated (para 333):

  1. Chronic regional myofascial pain;
  2. Cervicogenic headaches;
  3. Chronic mechanical low back pain

The Court concluded that the collision caused the Plaintiff to experience (para 410):

  1. Headaches;
  2. Stiffness and pain in her neck, back, shoulders and arm;
  3. A global loss of range of motion;
  4. Difficulties with extension;
  5. Muscle spasms;

The Plaintiff’s health care providers diagnosed her with a sprain / strain of the lumbar, cervical and thoracic spine. There was consensus among the medical professionals that she suffered a WAD II whiplash injury. It was anticipated that her whiplash injuries would resolve with the passage of time.

While her improvement was steady, it was slow and fragile. Her function was pain limited. She continued to experience stress together with minor slips and falls. Her anxiety, stress, and thyroid conditions together with ongoing physical aggravations from various sources amplified her pain levels (para 410).

Of note, the Plaintiff had experienced several accidents prior to the index August 12, 2008 collision:

Date Description Reference
December 2004 A snowmobile accident where the Plaintfif suffered lower back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, tingling in her legs and headaches Para 11
December 2006 A minor motor vehicle collision when the plaintiff was an occupant of one of the 2 vehicles involved. The Plaintiff suffered a whiplash injury Para 2
June 2008 The Plaintiff was forced to enter her home through a kitchen window as she forgot her house keys. She slipped upon entering the floor. The Plaintiff complained of neck stiffness, headache, left wrist pain, nausea, sleeplessness, vision problems, numbness in her right hip, bruising in her forearms and weakness in her left hand. Para 17

However, the Court found that the Plaintiff did not have significant pre-existing injuries of chronic pain (para 417).

After the Plaintiff’s August 12, 2008 collision, the Plaintiff also experienced the following incidents:

Date Description Reference
January 22, 2013 Slip and fall incident on ice that was not a severe accident according to her testimony Para 32
November 5, 2013 Fall on her stairs resulting in increased pain; Para 35
February 14, 2014 Motor vehicle collision that resulted in pain at her left sacral base whereby the pain resolved within 1-2 days Para 34
November 13, 2014 Motor vehicle collision where she received a concussion and soreness in her neck and back area; Para 36
January 29, 2016 A slip and fall on ice Para 33

Although the Court agreed with the Defendant’s submissions that the Plaintiff’s self-reports of pain were exaggerated (para 349, 424), the Court still found the Plaintiff’s testimony credible (para 390).

Ultimately, the Court awarded the Plaintiff $75,000.00 in general damages (para 426) before reducing the award by 20% for failing to mitigate (para 426-430).

The Court also declined to make a finding of loss of earning capacity.

If you have been injured in an accident, the Lawyers at Kubitz and Company would be pleased to discuss the claims that are available to you. Please feel free to call 403-250-7100 to speak with us.

Article by Peter Trieu, a personal injury lawyer in Calgary, Alberta.