Jury Awards Our Client $290,400 After She Declined ICBC’s $115,000 Offer

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

Mussio Goodman has Successfully Won $290,400 for Our Client

We are pleased to announce that, after declining ICBC’s offer to settle for $115,000, our client proceeded to a two week jury trial resulting in an award of $290,400.

The primary issue in this case was “causation”. In April 2009, our client was rear-ended at a red light in New Westminster. ICBC deemed the impact “low velocity” due to the minimal damage to our client’s vehicle, the repairs for which were estimated at $400.

In the years leading up to the accident, our client was diagnosed with severe spondylosis, otherwise known as degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine. However, our client suffered minimal pain and neurological symptoms from her condition prior to the collision.

After the accident however, our client suffered a severe escalation in her symptoms, and eventually underwent an invasive surgical procedure called a decompression laminectomy of the cervical spine.

There were two competing arguments in this case. Ours relied on the “thin skull” principle, which essentially means “you take your victim as you find them”. We argued that our client was in a fragile state at the time of the accident; she was predisposed to a significant injury due to her pre-existing condition. While a healthy 18 year old could have very well walked away from the impact unscathed, in our client’s case, the collision was the tipping point that resulted in surgery and her ongoing disability.

ICBC, on the other hand, relied on the “crumbling skull” principle. The health of our client, they argued, was on a trajectory of decline prior to the accident, and it was only a matter of time before she needed the surgery in any event.

ICBC therefore argued that they should not be held responsible for our client’s pain and suffering, wage loss and treatment expenses since she was going to end up in the same disabled state regardless of the accident.

The trial involved twenty expert reports and almost two dozen witnesses, including several neurologists, neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons.

In the end, if the final award is any indication, the jury appeared to favour the evidence of our client, as well as that of the medical specialists testifying on her behalf. We are thrilled with the result and wish her all the best in her continuing recovery.

It should be noted that every case is different, and that past performance is no guarantee of future results. It should also be noted that very few injury claims require a resolution in a courtroom; in the vast majority of cases, we are able to negotiate a fair settlement with ICBC on behalf of our clients. However, in the event ICBC refuses to make a reasonable offer, we are always prepared to take the case to trial.