Parra v Laczko, 2016 ONSC 911

Released February 5, 2016 | Full decision [CanLII]

This recent Superior Court decision involved a threshold motion in a chronic pain case that was brought while the jury was deliberating. The plaintiff had brought an action in relation to a May 24, 2008 motor vehicle accident in which she was rear-ended. She claimed general damages, past and future loss of income, future medical and rehabilitation costs, and future home maintenance and housekeeping costs. The jury returned a verdict awarding the plaintiff only $10,000 in general damages and $5,000 for future medical and rehabilitation costs, which was entirely wiped out by the deductible relating to general damages and an accident benefits settlement the plaintiff had been previously paid. Although the action was dismissed due to there being no damages owing, Justice Sproat proceeded with reasons on the threshold motion on the basis that it might be relevant to the issue of costs.

Justice Sproat found that prior to the accident, the plaintiff was happy, physically active, and had a very successful and busy real estate career. He noted that the plaintiff’s employer confirmed that the plaintiff worked hard and was one of the top producers at her company. He noted that the plaintiff’s family doctor had filled out a life insurance application a few weeks prior to the accident indicating that the plaintiff was in excellent health.

Justice Sproat found that following the accident, the plaintiff was prescribed medication and physiotherapy and was referred to a pain clinic, to a psychiatrist, and to a psychologist. He found that that despite these treatments, the plaintiff’s pain continued. He accepted the opinion of the plaintiff’s medical expert that the plaintiff suffered chronic pain syndrome and that the relatively low speed of the rear impact collision did not mean that the collision did not cause the plaintiff’s chronic pain. He found that the defence psychiatrist, Dr. Debow, was an advocate for the defence and placed no weight on his evidence. He further found that there was a “night and day” change in the plaintiff’s work following the accident and that she required assistance with her work and was no longer able or interested in meeting with clients or working the long hours she had previously.

Justice Sproat ultimately found that the plaintiff’s chronic pain syndrome substantially interfered with her ability to continue regular employment. He concluded that as such, the plaintiff had established on a balance of probabilities that she had sustained a serious impairment of an important physical, mental, or psychological function as a result of her motor vehicle accident.

 

Read the full decision on CanLii.

Veronica Marson
Written by

Veronica Marson joined the team at Singer Kwinter in January 2013. Veronica’s practice is centred on assisting those who have sustained personal injuries or find themselves involved in a compensation dispute with an insurance company. Veronica is fluent in Spanish and is happy to provide her legal services in the language most comfortable to you and your family.