Back Injury Pierces Threshold

Lahay v. Henderson arose out of an MVA which left the plaintiff with soft tissue injuries, principally to his back. Liability was admitted.

The trial judge ruled that the plaintiff, a manual labourer before the accident, would never be able to return to that sort of work. He found that the plaintiff’s injuries met the threshold and he assessed general damages at $90,000 before the Insurance Act deductible. Future income loss was assessed at $265,213, based on a finding that the plaintiff had residual earning capacity of $25,000 per annum. In addition, the trial judge applied to the future income loss a contingency reduction of 30%, principally becuase of various pre-existing health problems from which the plaintiff had suffered.

The trial judge was Mr. Justice Thomas M. Wood, of the Superior Court’s Family Court Branch. (Judges who are members of the Family Court Branch are not restricted to hearing family law cases.)

The decision is instructive because it contains a detailed review of the evidence, medical and otherwise, which led to the court’s conclusions. In this case, it is clear that the plaintiff’s limited education and lack of other skills contributed strongly to Justice Wood’s findings with respect to the income loss claim.

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