Compensation for Stress, Depression or Anxiety After an Accident
Everyone responds in his or her own unique way to the challenges presented by a serious accident. Some people recover quickly after moving past the pain and intensive treatment that characterize the early aftermath of an injury. For others, however, recovery occurs neither quickly nor at an even pace. Some people encounter the most severe challenges weeks or months after a traumatic injury.
At Murphy Battista LLP, helping people get their lives back lies at the core of everything we do. This applies to your emotional and psychological well-being as well as physical recovery and financial compensation for your injuries.
Legal and Practical Advice About Psychological Injuries
The emotional and psychological impacts of an accident can often be diagnosed, treated and shown to be related to the traumatic incident itself through reliable expert evidence. Psychological symptoms can also reflect the pain and disability associated with the injuries, or emotional problems of adjustment to a period of diminished physical or cognitive capacity.
In many cases, our lawyers ask clients to seek help for depression to ensure they receive effective treatment, and also to identify any other mental or emotional problems that are linked to the accident. These mental and emotional issues include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety or panic disorders
- Cognitive deficits in memory, high-order reasoning, appropriate affect or behaviour, or other essential functions
- Aversion disorders such as heightened fear of dogs after a serious biting injury or a fear of driving after a car accident
- Pain disorders, including fibromyalgia, that are associated with depression and other psychological problems
Proving the mental or emotional aspects of an injury claim can be difficult, but your legal team at Murphy Battista has extensive experience with these issues. To learn how you and your family can benefit from our legal and practical understanding of psychological damages in the injury claims compensation process, contact our office.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Personality Changes
April 7, 2015
Recently our firm was involved in a case that has received a fair amount of publicity, most notably from The Province and ABC News. Our client had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident that occurred while she was still in high school. As…Continue Reading
Head injury? Always consult a lawyer
July 3, 2014
It is generally in your best interest to get legal advice when you’ve been injured in a car accident. In two recent episodes of AM 650’s The Law Show we discussed situations and types of injuries where it’s particularly important to consult a lawyer before making decisions about how to…Continue Reading
A Former Quarterback’s Concussion Experience
October 27, 2014
Kevin Kolb is an NFL quarterback best known for his time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals. He is now 30 years old and is not on an NFL roster this year having been released by the Buffalo Bills in March. In a Sports Illustrated story last week, Kolb writes…Continue Reading
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.
Student assaulted outside his Delta high school more than 10 years ago was been awarded nearly $500,000 in damages
John Cameron acted as counsel for RSS. On April 15, 2009, RSS, who was 14, was attacked moments after he left the grounds of Delta Secondary School on his way home. Two men, one or both wielding telescopic metal batons, jumped out of a vehicle driven by the Defendant, ran after RSS and assaulted him at the direction of the Defendant. The Court heard that the assault on RSS, who is now 26, was said to be revenge for a high-school spat with the Defendant’s younger son, also a student at the school, over a female student.
RSS suffered a cracked nose, a concussion and bruising throughout his body. He suffered headaches for the first six months after the attack and also experienced paranoia, anxiety and depression. The Defendant was found guilty in provincial court of two counts of assault causing bodily harm after a judge concluded he was the directing mind behind the assault on RSS. His appeal was dismissed.
RSS sued the Defendant for damages. At trial, the Defendant argued that while RSS was injured in the attack, the injuries healed quickly with no lasting effects.
After trial the B.C. Supreme Court found that RSS had been left with chronic pain that caused frequent, severe and disabling headaches, which continued to affect his mood and caused mental health problems.
“The battery has left him anxious and depressed, fearful for his safety and that of his family, hypervigilant, socially withdrawn and caused him to suffer suicidal ideation and panic attacks,” said the judge.
The Court awarded RSS a total of $479,376 in damages including $125,000 for pain and suffering, $236,000 for loss of future income earning capacity, $65,000 for past lost earning capacity, $35,000 for aggravated damages and $15,000 for the cost of future care.
Irina Kordic and Paul Bosco represented Ms. Nessar Ali, who suffered multiple injuries in a car accident, including a torn rotator cuff which required surgery, as well as emotional injuries. All aspects of Ms. Nessar Ali’s life were significantly impacted as a result of her physical and emotional injuries, including her ability to work and her ability to perform her housekeeping tasks. The court accepted the arguments of Ms. Kordic and Mr. Bosco that Ms. Nessar Ali was entitled to an award for pain and suffering, as well as an additional amount of money for lost housekeeping ability. On top of that, the court accepted their arguments that she was entitled to an amount of money for housekeeping that was performed by a friend as well as her daughter to date, and an amount of money for housekeeping into the future. ICBC argued against each of these, but the court rejected all of ICBC’s arguments on these points. In total, Ms. Kordic and Mr. Bosco obtained an award of almost $300,000 for Ms. Nessar Ali that was almost exactly three times the amount ICBC offered before trial.
John M. Cameron and Paul Bosco acted for Mr. Niessen, who was the sole proprietor of a plumbing-and-heating company. Mr. Niessen sustained significant injuries (head, neck, and lower back) when his vehicle was struck by a vehicle that crossed the centre line of a highway and these injuries affected all areas of his life. The main issue at trial was the degree to which Mr. Niessen’s ability to earn income had suffered as a result of his injuries. ICBC took the position that there was a lack of documented evidence to support this loss. However, the court accepted Mr. Cameron and Mr. Bosco’s arguments that Mr. Niessen’s history of skill and ability in his industry, his business records, and the witness called on his behalf including former co-workers and customers, all were sufficient to prove that a significant loss had occurred. In the end, the Court awarded over $840,000 for this loss of earning potential. Overall, the court awarded Mr. Niessen just over $1.2 million, which was almost triple the amount the insurance company had argued Mr. Niessen deserved.
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.
In QP v. Bolton, Alex Sayn-Wittgenstein and Paul Bosco acted for an RCMP officer who was significantly injured in the course of his duties. The court accepted their arguments that his life was significantly impacted as a result of his injuries, he missed out on earning overtime income, his opportunity for advancement in his career may be limited, and that his wife was entitled to compensation for the care she provided by way of an in trust claim. The court also accepted their argument that he and his employer should be compensated for the time he missed from work, despite having been paid by his employer for this time, finding that it would be unfair to let the wrongdoer benefit from the generosity of the employer.
Scott Stanley and Brandon Souza acted for the plaintiff in this case involved physical and psychological injuries sustained by a 49 year-old pedestrian on a sidewalk when a driver lost control while attempting to park, drove onto the sidewalk, and pinned the pedestrian against a wall. The pedestrian required three surgeries and had significant limitations with work as a teaching assistant and day-to-day living. The court awarded $1,064,682.07.
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.
Scott Stanley was co-counsel in defending a plaintiff against an appeal of a successful judgment of $515,057 which was awarded to the plaintiff for soft tissue injuries and chronic pain. The Defendants challenged the awards for past and future loss of earning capacity arguing these could not be justified on the facts and were not adequately explained in the reasons for judgment by the trial judge. The BC Court of appeal dismissed the appeal and let the judgment stand.
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.
Bill Dick and Keri Grenier acted for a plaintiff who was 17 years old when she was struck in a crosswalk by a pickup truck driven by the defendant. The plaintiff’s principal issues following the injury included ongoing dizziness, headaches, anxiety and depression. At issue was whether the plaintiff suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, and whether her ongoing complaints were related to the accident or to other psychosocial stressors in her life as alleged by ICBC. After a two week trial the Court awarded damages totalling $347,581. The judgment included damages for loss of future earning capacity of $175,000.
John Cameron and Brandon Souza acted for A.B., a 37-year-old professional resume writer who was injured in a rear-end motor vehicle accident. The accident left her with significant ongoing pain in her neck along with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder. Her symptoms limited her ability to work and grow her business as she had prior to the accident. After a 3-week trial, the Court awarded damages totaling $352,000, plus costs. The judgment included damages for the plaintiff’s future lost earning capacity of $170,000. Prior to trial ICBC’s best offer was only half of the compensation which A.B eventually received.
Joe Murphy, Q.C., Kevin Gourlay, and Mike Murphy acted for the plaintiff who was 16 when he was hit by a young woman who was not paying attention while driving on Halloween night in 2008. He suffered a significant traumatic brain injury. Before the accident, he had been an exceptionally gifted young man. Although he remained intelligent and was attending university, he was plagued by fatigue and cognitive difficulties as a result of the accident that would significantly impact his ability to work as an engineer. The Court assessed damages at $3,297,000, including $3M for loss of future earning capacity.
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.
Scott Stanley and Mike Murphy represented the Plaintiffs in this case involving mild and moderate brain injuries that the plaintiffs sustained as two passengers when the driver of their vehicle lost control on the highway and crashed into a ditch. The court awarded $943,889.36 and $1,525,404.77, respectively.
The Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision. She was ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia. At trial she was represented by David Kolb and Mr. Cameron. The trial judge awarded significant damages for diminished earning capacity despite the Plaintiff having been diligent and not missing any work up to the time of trial.
ICBC appealed arguing that the Judge erred in awarding these damages because the judge relied on “common experience that a person with a stable but persistent energy-draining (missing something) ICBC argued that this was speculative and there was no evidence to suggest this is so. While the Plaintiff’s total damages were reduced slightly at the appeal to $475,000, the BC Court of Appeal was quick to dismiss the above argument finding it was simply a matter of common sense that chronic pain takes its toll. In doing so the Court provided the following reasons: Accepting that, to use the expression used at trial and at the hearing of this appeal, Ms. Morlan’s condition had “plateaued”, the fact remains that she would forever suffer from debilitating chronic pain along with headaches, symptoms that could be reduced, but not eliminated, by medication. In other words, throughout each and every day of her life, Ms. Morlan would have to cope with some level of discomfort. In my view, it was open to the trial judge to find—essentially as a matter of common sense—that constant and continuous pain takes its toll and that, over time, such pain will have a detrimental effect on a person’s ability to work, regardless of what accommodations an employer is prepared to make.The Plaintiff was represented at trial by Mr. David Kolb and Mr. Cameron. Her appeal was conducted by Mr. Kolb, Mr. Cameron and senior appeal counsel, Mr. Barry Fraser.
CM was 46 years of age when involved in two motor vehicle accidents. She had worked steadily for 30 years before the accidents and had been very healthy. She was a high energy, motivated individual in all aspects of her life before the accidents. After the accidents she had to seek employment in a less demanding job and leaving a job she loved was a huge blow for her. After the accidents she was a different woman. Her energy was very low compared to what it was before. She developed fibromyalgia and was in constant pain, made endurable by taking large amounts of painkillers and nerve block drugs. ICBC offered to settle her case for $150,000 before trial. Mr. Cameron assisted Mr. David Kolb and took CM’s case to trial, where she was awarded $610,000 in damages.
IV was injured in two accidents. The damage to the vehicles was modest, but she suffered injuries to her neck, back and hips which did not improve. ICBC told IV that in their view her accidents were too minor to deserve any compensation. IV’s injuries persisted in spite of medical treatment by her family doctor and other therapy, and over time her condition deteriorated. Even though IV had health problems before the accidents, it was clear to her that the two car accidents had made her overall health much worse. Mr. Cameron represented IV in a trial in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The Court awarded IV more than $230,000 in damages plus compensation for the legal costs of fighting her case.
Joe Murphy, Q.C. represented the plaintiff who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury at a night club. The plaintiff had been about to start a legal career at the time of the accident. The court awarded $5,934,712 for the loss of a career that ended before it began.
Scott Stanley and Irina Kordic acted for the plaintiff in this proceeding involving a motor vehicle accident that occurred on October 8, 2003. The Plaintiff was struck from behind by another vehicle and alleged that he sustained a concussion and soft tissue injuries. The Plaintiff alleged that he experienced permanent cognitive and physical symptoms as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.
The Defendant denied that the Plaintiff sustained a concussion and further denied that he had any permanent cognitive or physical symptoms as a result of the accident.
The Plaintiff’s case went to trial on April 14, 2009 and was heard by a Judge and Jury.
The Jury awarded the Plaintiff $638,000 damages.