Injury is Permanent But Not Serious

A rare bird has been sighted: a threshold decision in favour of the defence.

In Singh Kapoor v. Patterson, a copy of which is attached, Justice Wein dismissed an action arising out of a 1998 MVA. The dismissal was based on the plaintiff’s failure to link his main injury to the MVA giving rise to the action. But as an alternative ground, the court found that the injury was not “serious” and so, did not meet the threshold.

In this case, it had not initially seemed that the plaintiff had suffered any real injury, but within six days, he consulted his doctor about pain in his shoulder, knee and thigh. The plaintiff underwent physiotherapy, which did not relieve his condition. In fact, he claimed that the pain got worse. His family doctor referred him to specialists, who were not able to resolve his complaints.

The plaintiff did return to work but continued to experience some symptoms of his soft tissue injuries which, he said, limited his activities, particularly sleeping, driving or sitting.

At trial, the plaintiff said that his worst problems were with his right leg. But the evidence disclosed that he had had a tumour in that leg (pre-dating the accident). There was medical evidence that it was the tumour, not the MVA, that had caused the right leg symptoms. (The judge found it significant that the symptoms included some wasting of that leg.)

The court found that the plaintiff had failed to establish a causal link between the right leg symptoms and the MVA.

But in addition, Wein J. went on to rule that even if causation had been proven, the injury did not meet the threshold. Applying the three-stage test endorsed in Ahmed v. Challenger, the court found that the injury was permanent and the function important, but that the evidence fell short of showing that the condition was “serious”: “There is no employment impairment in this case, and while some modest interference has occurred with respect to the performance of daily activities, it is clear that an injured person is required to bear some interference with their enjoyment of life without the right to succeed in a lawsuit.”

The quoted passage might be one you can use in some of your cases.

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