Back, Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
Legal and Practical Advice for Accident Survivors With Spinal Cord Injuries
Survivors of the most severe injuries — including spinal cord injuries — will face hard challenges adjusting to life with a permanent disability. At Murphy Battista LLP, our lawyers are committed to helping spinal cord injury victims obtain the financial resources, rehabilitative treatment and practical advice necessary to deal with current and continuing problems. Contact us for a free consultation about the range of our services for victims of paralysis or quadriplegia following a spinal cord injury.
The legal team at Murphy Battista works closely with accident victims and their medical treatment providers to ensure that all injuries are properly diagnosed and treated, that appropriate rehabilitative services are available, and that adaptive technologies for in-home living assistance and mobility are well suited to each client’s needs.
We also work to secure payment for treatment of peripheral injuries and medical conditions experienced during an extended stay in a rehab hospital or at home. These range from bed sores and bladder infections to serious problems with neuropathic pain, autonomic dysreflexia and the emotional problems that many people encounter during the adjustment to paralysis.
We monitor the payment of ICBC benefits to make sure that the treatment and rehabilitation benefits available under Part 7 are not diverted toward reimbursing the Medical Service Plan for primary medical care.
At Murphy Battista, our client service goes beyond focusing on a client’s immediate and apparent physical injuries. We make sure that the effects, such as chronic pain, reduced mobility and psychological impacts, are also acknowledged and that appropriate strategies (e.g., pain management, mobility supports and counseling) are put in place as part of an overall treatment plan. With nearly 30 years of experience in complex injury claims, our lawyers understand the importance of effective and early rehabilitation, and the need for long-term financial planning.
BC Lawyers for Catastrophic Spine Injury Claims
We act for clients who suffered spinal cord injuries in car accidents, falls, accidents at work or medical negligence. For additional information about the range of services we offer victims of spinal cord injuries, contact Murphy Battista.
Disclaimer: The outcome of every legal proceeding will vary according to the facts and unique circumstances in each individual case. References to successful case results where the lawyers at Murphy Battista LLP have acted for clients are not necessarily a guarantee or indicative of future results.
J. Scott Stanley and Tara Chandler represented the Plaintiff who sustained a spinal cord injury when she was struck by a recreation vehicle on private land. The defendant denied liability, claimed the Plaintiff and/or her spouse were at fault. The trial judge found the defendant 100% liable and assessed damages at $5,369,670 with liberty to make submissions on further heads of damages including adaptive housing, which was an item that was to be awarded to the Plaintiff.
John Cameron acted for JC who sustained injuries to her neck, back and shoulders as well as chronic pain and depression arising from a motor vehicle accident. A dedicated and professional executive assistant, JC tried to continue working with her injuries. However she struggled and was only able to do so with the help of a very accommodating employer. In time she could not continue and in addition to losing her position as an executive assistant she also was not able to pursue her other passions which included dancing and acting in television and motion pictures.
One of the main issues at trial was assessing a fair amount for JC for her injuries and chronic pain. There was also the issue of fair compensation for JC in relation to how her injuries would affect her in the workforce going forward. In the end, the Court accepted Mr. Cameron’s arguments in support of fair compensation for the dramatic changes in JC’s life, health, activities and work abilities after the accident.
The Court ultimately awarded JC over $500,000 in compensation, including damages for loss of earning capacity. The eventual Court award was more than three times the amount of compensation which ICBC had offered prior to the trial.
Read the full decision here.
Matthew Van Nostrand acted for the plaintiff in this case involving a plaintiff suffering from a soft tissue neck injury. The main issue involved a foregone work opportunity that was lost due to the plaintiff’s motor vehicle accident. The court awarded damages in the amount of $95,984.
Andrew Brine and Irina Kordic represented Ms. Beaudoin who sustained a neck fracture, multiple soft tissue injuries and psychological injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Ms. Beaudoin’s ability to work was the main issue at trial. Although she had gone back to work shortly after the accident, she did so while heavily medicated and in constant pain. She stopped working altogether about a year before trial. The court accepted the arguments of Mr. Brine and Ms. Kordic that Ms. Beaudoin was completely disabled and awarded $650,000 for her loss of capacity to work. Ms. Beaudoin’s total award at trial was over $1,000,000 which was more than three times what she was offered to settle before trial.
Keri Grenier and Matthew Van Nostrand acted for the plaintiff in this case involving the impact of injuries caused in two separate rear-end collisions. In the first accident, Ms. Pinkney hit her head and lost consciousness for a short time and was treated for injuries to her neck, back, and thumb. The second accident was less severe, aggravating the initial injuries and setting back the progress she had been making in her recovery. The main issue at trial was the impact of Ms. Pinkney’s injuries on her ability to work in the family business. Although the business grew after the accidents (causing ICBC to argue that there was no loss), Ms. Pinkney’s involvement diminished, meaning that the business was less profitable than it would have been had Ms. Pinkney not been injured. The court ultimately found that Ms. Pinkney’s ability to earn income was impacted, and awarded $442,600 in damages.
John Cameron acted for FM who sustained injuries to his neck, shoulders and back as well as migraine headaches after a motor vehicle accident. He had been forced to miss work for several months and when he came back to work he was no longer suitable for his previous demanding physical position. He needed powerful pain killers and at times Botox injections for headaches and epidural injections to manage his pain. Eventually he needed to change jobs.
One of the main issues at trial was quantifying the losses to FM in relation to how his injuries might affect his future in the workforce as he had many years left to work. The judge accepted Mr. Cameron’s arguments in support of fair compensation for the fact that FM would be precluded from the type of physical work he used to perform due to his injuries. The Court ultimately awarded FM over $300,000 in compensation, including damages for loss of earning capacity. The Court award was much more than the compensation which ICBC had offered before trial.
John Cameron and Kevin Hyde represented AT who suffered multiple injuries in a car accident, including a persistent lower back pain and SI joint dysfunction. Many aspects of her life were affected as a result of her injuries, including her ability to work full-time. The court accepted the arguments of Mr. Cameron and Mr. Hyde that AT deserved compensation for her injuries as well as for the impact of her injuries on her employment. She was also awarded compensation to allow for future therapy. In total, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Hyde obtained an award of just over $280,000 for AT, an amount more than five times higher than the amount ICBC offered before trial.
John Cameron worked with Veronica Medved and Kevin Hyde as counsel for a 42 year old Romanian immigrant to Canada who sustained injuries to his back in a motor vehicle collision that occurred on August 15, 2013. After immigrating to Canada, the Plaintiff began working as a cleaner at a metal fabrication shop. He enjoyed his work with the Company and was praised for his work ethic. Following the Collision, the Plaintiff was unable to continue to do the physical work associated with his position and the Company had to let him go. At the time of trial, the Plaintiff was working as a casual support worker at a care home. His back continued to bother him at work and limited his employment opportunities. At trial, the Plaintiff was awarded compensation for his injuries and losses in the amount of $604,962, plus costs and disbursements. The written reasons included damages of $70,000 for pain and suffering, $117,000 for past loss of earning capacity, $16,175 for future care, and $400,000 for loss of earning capacity.
Keri Grenier acted for a worker who suffered multiple injuries while working in the laundry department of the Kelowna General Hospital when he was lifted off the ground and crushed by a laundry machine. Despite his significant injuries, the worker was denied part of his WorkSafeBC claim on the basis that his injuries were initially found be unrelated to the accident. Keri requested a review of the decision denying his neck injury, among other things. The Review Division denied the review. Keri successfully appealed on behalf of her client to the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT) which confirmed that the worker’s neck injury arose out of the accident. WCAT also suggested that the Board should consider a permanent, partial disability pension assessment with medical treatment.
Stephen Gibson, Scott Stanley, and Brandon Souza acted for the plaintiff who suffered a traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury that rendered her an incomplete quadriplegic. The plaintiff, an engineer, was driving across train tracks at a passive crossing when a train collided with the right side of her vehicle. The court found that Canadian National Railway Company was aware of insufficient sight lines and the dangerous nature of the specific railway crossing for many years prior to the accident and took no actions to ameliorate those risks. Despite the Plaintiff’s failure to stop at a stop sign at the railway crossing, Canadian National Railway Company was still found 60% at fault for the accident. The court awarded approximately $3,200,000 in damages.
Veronic Medved and Tara Chandler acted for a Plaintiff who was only 23 years old at the time of the collision. After T-boning the Defendant (who was found 100% responsible for the collision), the Plaintiff developed a traumatic lesion on her spine and chronic pain condition which disabled her from gainful employment. The Court awarded damages in the amount of $1,885,000, including $185,000 for pain and suffering and $1,297,146 in future income loss. Although her working history was short, the Court accepted that as a single mom, the Plaintiff was very attached to the workforce and would have worked on a full-time basis to the age of 70 without voluntary withdrawal.
Bill Dick and Keri Grenier acted for a plaintiff whose injuries had rendered her an incomplete quadriplegic. The Court agreed that she required full time care that was being provided up to the date of trial by her spouse. The Court awarded total damages exceeding $3.4 million.
Kevin Gourlay and Paul Bosco acted for a 46-year-old tradesman who sustained injuries to his head, neck and back in a head-on collision. The plaintiff also claimed compensation for psychological injuries. He was initially denied benefits by ICBC who said that it was a WCB issue. Having overcome that defence, the plaintiff proceeded to trial and recovered damages of $724,000, including $150,000 for pain and suffering and $400,000 for lost earning capacity.
AT was a man who worked in the funeral services industry and who suffered serious back pain and spasms after a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately this chronic pain eventually led to the loss of his career. John M. Cameron of Murphy Battista assisted Mr. David Kolb of Kolb Law Corporation and together they represented AT in a trial in BC Supreme Court. AT achieved an award for compensation of $586,000 which was four times more than ICBC’s best pre-trial offer. AT was awarded $110,000.00 for pain and suffering, $108,000 for diminished earning capacity up to trial, $320,000 for loss of future earnings, and $45,000 for the costs of future medical care.
Brian Brooke and Jeffrey Nieuwenburg represented a plaintiff, who was 19 at the time, who was injured while riding as a passenger in a friend’s vehicle when the vehicle left the roadway and rolled. She sustained compression fractures to her thoracic vertebrae and a closed head injury. As a result of these injuries, the plaintiff developed a chronic pain condition and was unable to pursue her dreams of becoming a registered nurse. At trial, the defendant was found wholly responsible for the accident. The plaintiff was awarded damages of approximately $1.4 million.
Raj Dewar acted for the Plaintiff – a 34 year old administrative assistant – who suffered injuries to her neck and mid-back when she was rear-ended in a collision. ICBC agreed the other driver was at fault and admitted that the injuries the Plaintiff suffered were as a result of the collision. However, ICBC refused the Plaintiff’s offer to settle her claim and forced her to go to trial. At trial, the judge awarded $70,986.35 in compensation for her injuries and double costs against ICBC as the Plaintiff had been prepared to resolve her case for less than what the judge awarded her.
Alex Sayn-Wittgenstein and Paul Bosco represented an 83 year-old plaintiff who sustained life-threatening injuries, including a brain injury and various fractures, when he was struck by a vehicle while standing at a bus stop. ICBC denied liability but court found that the driver’s testimony was “littered with enormous credibility issues.” The driver, who had fled the accident scene, was found fully at fault. The plaintiff was awarded over $800,000 at trial, including $315,000 for pain and suffering, over $400,000 for future care, and $55,000 in-trust for the care provided by his wife during his recovery. Due to the plaintiff’s age and injuries, the case was brought to trial quickly, with the trial judgment being made less than 2 years after the accident.
Kevin Gourlay was counsel for a 44-year-old general contractor who was injured in two rear-end motor vehicle accidents. The accidents left him with significant ongoing pain in his neck and back that limited his ability to work as he had prior to the accidents. After a 5-day trial, the Court awarded damages totalling $468,365, plus costs. The judgment included damages for the plaintiff’s future lost earning capacity of $285,845.
Kevin Gourlay acted for a massage therapist who sustained soft tissue injuries to her back in left-turn accident. The defendant argued that our client was wholly or partially at fault for the accident. Chief Justice Hinkson found the defendant to be entirely at fault for causing the accident and awarded damages totalling $373,424. This included $190,000 for lost earning capacity as the plaintiff’s injuries would likely affect her future career as a medical doctor.
AF injured her back in a motor vehicle accident prior to becoming a police officer. Her injuries affected her training at the Police Academy and also limited some of the overtime opportunities available to her in the police. Mr. Cameron assisted another lawyer, Mr. David Kolb, in conducting a trial for A. in B.C. Supreme Court. Prior to the trial ICBC offered AF $15,000. AF was awarded over $85,000 at trial.