Calgary Injury Lawyer

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Kubitz and Company Law Firm: Calgary Injury Lawyer

Quantum of damages for a chronic pain knee injury requiring knee surgery, plus chronic back pain and headaches.
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QUESTION PRESENTED:

Mr. Plaintiff was 40 years old at the time of the 2011 Accident and was working as a Floor Hand on a rig.
Immediately after the Accident, he complained of headaches, neck and lower back pain, pain between his shoulder blades, pain in his right knee, numbness of his right thigh, and difficulty sleeping. His family doctor sent him for an MRI that revealed a meniscal tear. Mr. Plaintiff underwent an arthroscopy and meniscal tear repair surgery in 2012, but he continued to experience pain in his knee. A knee brace was recommended, and he tried it, but it did not relieve his pain; an intra-articular cortisone injection in October 2012 gave him no relief. A second arthroscopy surgery was performed in February 2014. Right knee grade 3 cartilage damage was noted, as well as grade 2 changes to the lateral femoral condyle. Right knee arthroscopic debridement was performed, and this surgery was very helpful. Mr. Plaintiff has undergone extensive physiotherapy. X-rays have indicated mild arthritic change, and a lumbar spine x-ray showed mild deceased disc space, mild bilateral facet sclerosis at L5-S1, small anterior osteophytes at L4 and L5, and mild to moderate disc protrusion.

Prior to the Accident, Mr. Plaintiff testified that his health was great. He was healthy and strong, had no problems performing the heavy physical labour required of him for his job, and kept fit with free weights and a punching bag. He went to the hospital in 2004 complaining of sciatica pain in his back and left leg, and the hospital report stated that Mr. Plaintiff had chronic back problems from an injury from 2002. In 2010, he fell off a ladder and went to the hospital with back pain. However, prior to the Accident, Mr. Plaintiff testified that he had no significant problems with headaches, knee pain, or neck or back pain.
Mr. Plaintiff’s current main complaint is knee pain and locking in his right knee. His right thigh continues to be completely numb. He has a constant ache in his mid- to low-back, and experiences pain with activity or when standing for long periods of time. He still gets headaches and is experiencing right Achilles pain. Sleeping continues to be a problem. Mr. Plaintiff’s mild depression and stress have resolved, as has the pain in his shoulders. He is currently not undergoing any treatment for pain, but occasionally takes pain medication as needed and uses marijuana daily for pain relief. It has been recommended that he commence an exercise regimen in order to lose weight, as he is considered morbidly obese.

CONCLUSION:
There are several analogous cases to Mr. Plaintiff’s situation.
The most analogous Alberta case is Fandrick v. Reitberger, 2009 ABQB 703, appeal dismissed at 2010 ABCA 350. In this case, the 24-year old male plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He suffered injuries to his left knee, right shoulder and neck, left wrist, and right cheek and jaw. An MRI to his knee revealed a contusion of the medial femoral condyle and some chronic medial collateral ligament strain, along with a possible subtle tear to the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. The plaintiff continued to suffer pain in his neck, headaches, problems working with his hands above his head, and problems with his left knee; he was awarded $86,325 (inflation adjusted). Mr. Plaintiff is arguably more injured than this plaintiff, as he has had two arthroscopic surgeries.
The case that is most analogous overall to Mr. Plaintiff’s situation is Majchrzak v. Avery, 2013 BCSC 1626. The 51-year old male plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident; he had been working as a steel fabricator. The Majchrzak plaintiff had constant pain in his left knee, along with clicking and popping; he went to physiotherapy in an attempt to mitigate his pain. This plaintiff had an arthroscopic knee surgery that revealed a non-displaced meniscal tear that was left alone because it could not be properly fixed; there was wear on the medial femoral condyle that was shaved. The court awarded him general damages of $101,935 (inflation adjusted).
Other analogous cases set the general damage award for plaintiffs with similar injuries to Mr. Plaintiff’s, inflation adjusted, from a high of $110,880 to a low of $19,230, with an overall average amount of general damages awarded of $71,454, inflation adjusted. Analogous Alberta cases set the award, inflation adjusted, from a high of $86,325 to a low of $26,554. The average amount of damages awarded in similar Alberta cases was $54,897. Therefore, it seems that a likely damage award for Mr. Plaintiff will range around $70,000.
The following cases are inflation-adjusted using the Economica index.

DISCUSSION:
Mason v. Moore, [2005] OJ No 3799 $90,000 $110,880
In this case, the 51-year old female plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. The defendant turned left in front of her; liability was admitted. The plaintiff suffered injuries to both knees, including an undisplaced fracture of the left patella, injuries to her cervical and lumbar spine, and to her left shoulder and arm. The plaintiff had worked as a nurse but was off work for several months due to her injuries. After the accident, she had pain and limitation of movement in her neck, back, and left shoulder caused by soft tissue injuries; she had pain, swelling, and limitation of movement in both knees. The plaintiff took physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment. An MRI revealed degenerative changes and small tears in the meniscus of her right knee; she underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee to repair the tears in the meniscus and to debride the knee joint. The plaintiff had three synivisc injections to lubricate her right knee, which gave her some relief from pain. After the accident, she had trouble returning to her job as a floor nurse, was no longer able to play golf or walk, and frequently wears a knee brace. Shortly before the accident, the plaintiff had pain and swelling in her left knee, and arthroscopic surgery was carried out to repair the tear and debride the knee joint; it was clear she had degenerative changes in both knees. The accident exacerbated the degenerative changes in both knees and the plaintiff’s pain was permanent. It was probable that she would require joint replacements in one or both knees in the future. Jenkins J assessed general damages at $90,000.
This case may represent the upper range of general damages that Mr. Plaintiff could receive. While this plaintiff had injuries in both knees, she too had pre-existing conditions and degenerative changes. The Mason plaintiff had injections and an arthroscopic surgery similar to what Mr. Plaintiff experienced. However, her patella fracture will probably be considered more severe than Mr. Plaintiff’s meniscal tear. The general damage award in this case is likely the highest amount he could expect to be awarded.
Ivens v. Lesperance, 2012 ONSC 4280 $100,000 $108,300
In this case, the 41-year old male plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident. A jury assessed his general damages at $100,000, and held the defendant 55 percent responsible and the plaintiff 45 percent responsible. The defendant brought a motion that the plaintiff’s claim for non-pecuniary losses was barred pursuant to the Ontario Insurance Act. In the accident, the plaintiff suffered a left knee fracture, right knee contusion, back injury, sleep disorder, mood disorder, chronic pain disorder, and loss of function. The knee and back continued to cause the plaintiff ongoing pain, and medical evidence indicated that the injuries were serious and permanent. As a result of the accident, he was diagnosed with an undisplaced fracture of his right knee through his medial femoral condyle. Arthroscopic surgery was performed. A later MRI revealed a compression fracture; the plaintiff was told to achieve a higher level of fitness and to lose some weight to alleviate pain. The plaintiff also complained of continuous pain, depression, sleep disorder, and the loss of ability to enjoy recreational activity. In the result, Mulligan J held that the plaintiff had established a permanent, serious impairment of important physical, mental, or psychological function resulting from the accident; the defendant’s motion was dismissed.
There are similarities between this case and Mr. Plaintiff’s situation. Both plaintiffs suffered knee injuries that required an arthroscopy, along with depression and a sleep disorder; both plaintiffs were told to lose weight to alleviate their pain. However, the Ivens plaintiff had a fracture, which is more severe than Mr. Plaintiff’s injuries; in addition, the general damage award was made by a jury instead of by judge. The general damages in this case are likely at the highest range of what Mr. Plaintiff will receive.
Wong v. Hemmings, 2012 BCSC 907 $100,000 $108,300
In this case, the 38-year old female plaintiff was injured in two separate motor vehicle accidents. In the first accident, the most serious injuries she suffered were to her left shoulder and left knee. These injuries were not fully healed by the time of the second accident, and the second accident exacerbated them. The plaintiff worked as a server and had difficulty performing her job as a result of the injuries she suffered. Immediately after the first accident, the plaintiff was taken to hospital suffering from pain in her head, left shoulder and neck, left hip, and both knees. She attended at her family doctor complaining of severe headaches, sleeplessness, and pain in her left shoulder, neck, and left knee. She was given painkillers and anti-inflammatories and went to physiotherapy. A doctor testified that the most significant injuries suffered by the plaintiff were mild winging of the left scapula and an injury to the left peroneal nerve that runs along the anterior aspect of the knee where the tibia and fibula meet. There was no significant recovery to the plaintiff’s pain. The second accident, which took place approximately two years after the first, exacerbated all of her injuries from the first accident. A medical expert testified that the first accident caused injuries to the plaintiff’s left shoulder girdle, including probable injuries to her rotator cuff, and injury to the knee that caused some numbness over the left outer leg below the knee. The most significant injury was to her shoulder; all of these injuries interfered with her ability to sleep. A cortisone shot was administered to her shoulder that initially provided some relief, but the effects wore off in about a week. The plaintiff had arthroscopic surgery on her shoulder where inflamed bursal tissue was removed from the rotator cuff area; scar tissue was removed. Immediately after the surgery, her symptoms improved. When assessing non-pecuniary damages, Fitch J considered that the plaintiff was a young woman who had endured more than five years of shoulder and knee pain; she had underwent two injections and arthroscopic surgery. The plaintiff was facing the prospect of more surgery in the future, and was likely unable to continue working as a server without dealing with pain. Fitch J awarded general damages of $100,000.
Analogies can be drawn between this plaintiff and Mr. Plaintiff. Both suffered from numbness in the leg and a knee injury, along with difficulty sleeping; both had injections and arthroscopic surgery to alleviate pain. Whereas the Wong plaintiff had the surgery on her shoulder, Mr. Plaintiff had knee surgery; however, Mr. Plaintiff underwent two arthroscopic surgeries to the Wong plaintiff’s one. The general damage award in this case is likely at the upper end of what Mr. Plaintiff can expect to receive.

Majchrzak v. Avery, 2013 BCSC 1626 $95,000 $101,935
In this case, the 51-year old male plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle. He had been working as a steel fabricator at the time of the accident, but after the accident he suffered a great deal of pain that limited his job functionality. Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff was in a lot of pain; his knee was swollen and sore. He went to physiotherapy until ICBC withdrew funding, and he remained in constant pain in his left knee. There was clicking and popping in his knee and sharp pain would sometimes cause him to stumble without warning. An MRI didn’t show any damage to his knee, but the symptoms did not improve. Arthroscopic surgery was performed; however, the plaintiff’s pain increased and he had to take prescription medicine. His right leg became painful from overcompensating for the left knee. The surgery found a non-displaced meniscal tear that was left alone because it could not be properly fixed; there was wear on the medial femoral condyle that was shaved. The plaintiff was diagnosed with grade 2 chondromalacia, which resulted in post-traumatic arthritis. The defendant argued that the plaintiff had prior wear and tear on his knee, and it would have become symptomatic regardless of the accident; Brown J disagreed and held that the accident was the cause of the plaintiff’s damages and pain. Brown J held that the plaintiff would suffer pain for the remainder of his life, which was likely many more years; his knee injury was serious and six years post-accident, continued to cause him pain; the plaintiff had some measure of depression and anxiety; and he was required to leave a job he loved. Brown J assessed general damages at $95,000.
There are many parallels between this case and Mr. Plaintiff’s situation. Both plaintiffs were males of similar age who had similarly physical jobs that they could not perform after their accidents. Arthroscopic surgery was performed on a knee and meniscal tears were noted. However, Mr. Plaintiff had a second arthroscopic knee surgery to this plaintiff’s single surgery. The general damage award in this case may provide a good benchmark for Mr. Plaintiff’s general damages.

Penner v. Silk, 2009 BCSC 1682 $80,000 $92,080
In this case, the 51-year old male plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He suffered injuries to his right ankle, knee, neck and ribs. The neck and rib injuries resolved quickly; the injury to the knee caused significant and prolonged symptoms. An MRI of his knee taken shortly after the accident revealed some evidence of bone contusion to the medial femoral condyle and a grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament. The plaintiff was diagnosed with post-traumatic chronic patellar tendinopathy, which is a thickening of the patellar tendon that causes severe pain. He underwent a shock wave treatment for the knee that provided some relief; however, the symptoms returned. An arthroscopic debridement of the left patellar tendon was performed that produced some temporary relief, but the symptoms returned again. The plaintiff had trouble sleeping and experienced a marked deterioration in his sexual relationship with his wife. He had other problems with pain in his back, but these complaints were secondary to the knee pain. The plaintiff had some pre-existing depression, and the defendant tried to argue that this was the root cause of his injuries. Sewell J rejected this argument and awarded $100,000 in general damages less $20,000 for failure to mitigate based on the plaintiff’s unreasonable failure to pursue psychiatric treatment; general damages were $80,000.
The defendant appealed in Penner v. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, 2011 BCCA 135. Newbury JA allowed the appeal in part. Certain damage awards were set aside, but the award of general damages was upheld.
There are many similarities between the Penner plaintiff and Mr. Plaintiff in terms of injuries. Both had soft tissue injuries that were secondary to knee pain; both plaintiffs had sleeplessness caused by pain. Arthroscopic surgery was performed. The general damage award in this case is likely comparable to what Mr. Plaintiff can expect to receive.

Fandrick v. Reitberger, 2009 ABQB 703 $75,000 $86,325
In this case, the 34-year old male plaintiff was injured when he was riding his motorcycle; he collided with a vehicle being driven by a municipal employee. Liability was admitted. Prior to the accident, the plaintiff was physically active and had no problems with the physical aspects of his job as a driller. However, he did have some problems with arthritic joints in his hands, right leg, and left knee. In the accident, he suffered injuries to his left knee, right shoulder and neck, left wrist, and right cheek and jaw. An MRI disclosed a possible subtle tear to the postural horn of the medial meniscus and potentially a bone contusion. A second MRI did not show any evidence of a meniscal tear. The plaintiff was put in a knee brace and given anti-inflammatories, but continued to complain of left knee pain. A doctor diagnosed him with chronic pain syndrome. A later MRI showed a contusion of the medial femoral condyle and some chronic medial collateral ligament strain, along with a possible subtle tear to the posterior horn of the medial meniscus. One orthopaedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff suffered a bone bruise of his knee that went on to develop into degenerative disease; even if the plaintiff had pre-existing osteoarthritis, the accident and the bone contusion would cause an exacerbation to the problem. A different doctor did not believe the plaintiff’s knee condition was treatable, and therefore arthroscopic surgery was unnecessary. The plaintiff had 3 percent whole person impairment for knee pain; he also had problems with the facet joints at the back of his neck after the accident, and ongoing impairment to his right shoulder, along with mild biceps tendinitis. This led to 2 percent whole person impairment. The plaintiff currently suffered from some mobility issues with his neck, headaches, problems working with his hands above his head, and problems with his left knee. Romaine J assessed general damages of $75,000.
The defendant appealed in Fandrick v. Reitberger, 2010 ABCA 350. The defendant accepted the trial judge’s assessment of general and special damages, but contended that she erred in law with respect to the awards for past and future income losses. The per curiam Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
The general damage award in this case is likely in line with what Mr. Plaintiff can expect to receive. The Fandrick plaintiff had slightly more injuries than Mr. Plaintiff, but did not suffer from sleeplessness. Further, this plaintiff was not a candidate for arthroscopic surgery, whereas Mr. Plaintiff underwent two surgical procedures. Both plaintiffs suffered from ongoing back pain. This is a good benchmark for Mr. Plaintiff’s general damages.

Sohal v. Singh, 2017 BCSC 734 $80,000 $80,800
The 47-year old female plaintiff in this case was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Prior to the accident, she had worked as a cook and had a second job as a dishwasher in a pub. In the accident, the plaintiff felt immediate pain in her right knee; she had considerable difficulty walking. It was determined that she had fractured her patella. She also had tightness in her neck and shoulders. The plaintiff initially used crutches and was later prescribed a brace; she underwent massage and physiotherapy treatments. The plaintiff continued to experience pain in her right knee, hip, and leg, as well as stress and tightness in her shoulders and back. The plaintiff’s orthopaedic surgeon diagnosed her with a fractured right patella, and then later with right knee patellofemoral pain; she also had atrophy of the right quadriceps muscles. This pain was expected to continue into the future. Skolrood J held that the plaintiff suffered from a depressed mood and sadness; he awarded her $80,000 in general damages.
The plaintiff in this case suffered a fracture, as opposed to Mr. Plaintiff’s meniscal tear; both plaintiffs had ongoing knee pain and depressed moods after their accidents. However, Mr. Plaintiff had the two arthroscopic surgeries on his knee, while this plaintiff had none. Mr. Plaintiff can likely expect a general damage award in this range.

Fortin v. Cousins, 2009 BCSC 720 $70,000 $80,570
In this case, the 27-year old plaintiff was injured when he was the passenger in a single-vehicle accident. The defendant lost control of his vehicle and hit the meridian and a light standard; the collision caused a significant intrusion of the dashboard into the passenger seat occupied by the plaintiff. Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff complained of neck, hip and back pain, and sore knees. He attended physiotherapy and made a gradual recovery from the soft tissue injuries in his neck and upper back. A doctor classified the plaintiff’s injury to his knees as a moderately severe soft tissue injury resulting in a left medial collateral ligament strain; he would be at increased risk for developing mild retropatellar osteoarthritis. A different doctor testified that the plaintiff suffered from patellofemoral degeneration; he had pain related to presumed chondromalacia patellae. A third doctor diagnosed the plaintiff with patellofemoral pain syndrome, as opposed to chondromalacia. Harvey J awarded general damages of $70,000, based in part on the fact that the plaintiff was a young man who would be subject to a much longer period of pain and restriction in his social pursuits.
This plaintiff suffered a similar, although arguably less severe, knee injury than Mr. Plaintiff; he did not require any surgery. Mr. Plaintiff can expect a general damage award at or near this amount.

Moore v. Zapalski, 2003 BCSC 494 $60,000 $76,920
In this case, the 50-year old male plaintiff was injured in a head-on motor vehicle collision during poor winter weather. The plaintiff had been a truck driver. There was conflicting evidence as to how the accident occurred, which each driver blaming the other. Macaulay J held that the defendant was solely liable fort the accident and had crossed the centre line into the path of oncoming traffic. In terms of injuries, the plaintiff suffered a major injury to his right knee in the accident. Immediately following the collision, it was grossly swollen and movement was difficult. X-rays showed a minimally displaced fracture of the inferior pole of the right patella without apparent involvement of the articular surface, but affecting the attachment point for the patellar tendon. An operation revealed a comminuted fracture of the distal pole, which was irreparable. Small bony fragments were excised; loose fragments of articular cartilage were found floating freely within the nee joint. There was a full thickness lesion in the articular cartilage of the plaintiff’s medial femoral condyle; cartilage in the trochlea was also injured. The plaintiff’s patellar tendon was repaired by securing it to his remaining patella. The plaintiff was released from hospital on crutches and wearing a knee brace; he graduated to using a cane. The plaintiff would continue to have pain in his patellofemoral joint and his injuries were permanent. The most significant knee problems were associated with stiffness from holding the leg in one position for long periods and from grinding and swelling associated with the outer ranges of extension and flexion; the pain was significantly aggravated by driving, sitting in one spot, and walking. Macaulay J held that the plaintiff’s knee problems were progressive and would continue to deteriorate; he would be unable to continue working as a truck driver in the future. General damages were assessed at $60,000.
The Moore plaintiff’s knee injury was more serious than Mr. Plaintiff’s. However, he only underwent one knee surgery instead of two. In addition, Mr. Plaintiff continues to suffer from lower back pain and sleep issues. The general damage award in this case may be akin to what Mr. Plaintiff can expect for his general damages.

Dudley v. Orca Bay Arena Corp., 2002 BCSC 889 $57,000 $75,126
In this case, the plaintiff tripped and fell on the defendant’s property. She had been walking along a viaduct to see a hockey game when she tripped over a piece of metal that protruded out of the concrete. She sustained several injuries, including headaches, a badly sprained and dislocated right wrist, and damage to her right knee. While the other injuries resolved, the right knee continued to trouble the plaintiff; she alleged that several years after the accident it gave way and caused her to fall and injure her left knee. The plaintiff suffered chondromalacia patella, or the softening of the cartilage of the kneecap. She had pain under her kneecap when going up or down stairs, kneeling, or sitting or standing for long periods of time. She also complained that her right knee clicked, popped, and tended to give way. The plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery and her doctor recommended she undergo physiotherapy and swim to strengthen her leg; she was on crutches after the surgery. A month or two after the surgery, her knee continued to painfully click and pop when she walked. The plaintiff did not swim or take steps to strengthen her knee; later examination revealed wasting of her quadriceps muscle. A second arthroscopic surgery was performed in 2001, after which the plaintiff was on crutches and then in a wheelchair for two months. At trial, the plaintiff testified that her right knee would buckle and give out once or twice a week; at questioning, she stated it happened about once a month. After the accident, the plaintiff was more depressed and irritable and she had gained weight; her knee problems were likely to continue into the future and she had an increased risk of osteoarthritis. Loo J awarded the plaintiff $57,000 in general damages, with a 20 percent reduction for failure to mitigate.
The general damage award in this case may represent a realistic damage award for Mr. Plaintiff. It would seem that the knee injuries and recovery for both the Dudley plaintiff and Mr. Plaintiff are very similar – both had two surgeries to repair them. However, in addition to his knee, Mr. Plaintiff also has issues with his back, which may lead to an increase in his damages. The non-pecuniary damages in this case may be a good benchmark for what Mr. Plaintiff can expect.

Davidson v. Patten, 2004 ABQB 681, additional reasons in 2005 ABQB 519 $55,000 $69,245
In this case, the 48-year old female plaintiff and her husband were injured when the vehicle she was driving was struck head-on by a pickup truck. The plaintiff had been involved in two prior car accidents, had a history of headaches, and had attended at a chiropractor on a monthly basis for about seven years prior to the accident. The plaintiff’s husband was severely injured; her injuries were less significant. In the accident, she suffered a dislocated and fractured right first toe, lacerated right first finger, multiple abrasions and contusions, burns to both hands, upset and nervous shock and PTSD, and post-traumatic bilateral chondromalacia (softening of articular cartilage) of the right knee. She also claimed to suffer muscular, ligamentous, and tendon injuries to her knees. An orthopaedic surgeon diagnosed her with post-traumatic chondromalacia patella of the right knee, a condition for which there is no cure. This ailment can be controlled through physiotherapy and bracing, and can lead to osteoarthritis five to ten years after the injury. She had early signs of arthritis in her right knee and would have episodic problems with her right knee and toe that cause her to alter her gait. Mahoney J assessed the plaintiff’s general damages at $55,000.
The plaintiffs appealed their damage awards in Davidson v. Patten, 2008 ABCA 65. With respect to the wife, the appeal was dismissed.
Mr. Plaintiff was more significantly injured than this plaintiff. His knee injury was more serious and required two surgeries; he also suffers from back pain and sleep interruption. Mr. Plaintiff should expect that this case represents the lower end of the range of general damages that he will be awarded.

Hubley v. Nicolson, 2015 BCSC 1927 $65,000 $67,665
In this case, the 57-year old female plaintiff was injured in a high impact car accident. She suffered soft tissue injuries to her back and extensive bruising to her torso and hips. The bruising resolved after a few weeks, and the soft tissue injuries resolved within six months. The plaintiff also suffered an injury to her left knee that had not fully recovered. The knee injury caused her pain and limited her ability to work and engage in household tasks and recreational activities. The plaintiff required arthroscopic surgery to repair her left knee. As a result of overcompensating for this knee, the plaintiff had damage to her right knee. There was some evidence that the plaintiff had pre-existing osteoarthritis, but neither knee had been symptomatic prior to the accident. It was the plaintiff’s left knee that caused her the most issues; she undertook a physiotherapy program. The plaintiff also received a cortisone shot in her knee that she said was painful and did not provide her with relief. An MRI of the plaintiff’s knee showed a tear of the medial meniscus; an arthroscopy would help, but only if the osteoarthritis was not overly advanced. Bracken J awarded the plaintiff $65,000 in general damages.
Again, the knee injury in this case seems to be very similar to Mr. Plaintiff’s knee injury; he had an arthroscopic surgery to repair damage and required cortisone injections and physiotherapy. Mr. Plaintiff also suffers from his back injury and had an additional surgery. The general damage award in this case is likely at the lower end of damages he can expect to receive.

Callahan v. Kim, 2012 BCSC 1615 $55,000 $59,565
In this case, the 63-year old male plaintiff was injured when the defendant’s vehicle struck him while he was riding his bicycle. The plaintiff testified that he pressed the walk signal at the crosswalk and saw the defendant approach and slow down; the plaintiff thought the defendant was turning left, but the defendant then increased speed and struck the plaintiff’s rear tire. The plaintiff alleged he was spun around, hit his right knee on the car, and fell, but got up again quickly. Liability was at issue. Fenlon J held that the defendant was 85 percent liable for the accident, with the plaintiff being 15 percent contributorily negligent. In the accident, the plaintiff injured his left shoulder, left elbow, lower back, right knee, and left ankle. While most of his injuries resolved within several months, he had ongoing problems with his right knee and left ankle. With respect to his knee, the plaintiff suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain as well as right knee degenerative osteoarthritis. He required the use of crutches for approximately four months following the accident and continues to use a cane outside the house. The injuries to the plaintiff’s knee and ankle were permanent. Fenlon J held that the plaintiff required crutches after the accident; he had pain in his left knee that gradually improved over time and responded to cortisone injections and strengthening exercises. He gained weight after the accident, and was more irritable, anxious, and stressed. Fenlon J awarded general damages of $55,000.
Mr. Plaintiff was more seriously injured than the plaintiff in this case because he required two surgeries to alleviate the pain in his knee; he continues to suffer back problems. The general damage award in this case is at the lower end of the range that he can expect.
Scarfe v. Fernco Developments Ltd., 2015 BCSC 2310 $50,000 $52,050
In this case, the plaintiff was injured in a slip and fall in a restaurant bathroom. A witness who entered the bathroom found the plaintiff lying on the floor; the witness testified that the plaintiff’s shoes were wet and there was a large puddle of water on the washroom floor. The plaintiff stated that prior to the fall, he did not see any caution sign alerting him to a wet floor, or any water on the floor. At the time of the accident, he had been wearing running shoes with good treads, was not in a hurry, and had been in that particular bathroom before. He immediately felt pain in his right knee and right shoulder. Young J held that the defendant was liable for the accident, and there was no contributory negligence. After the accident, the plaintiff’s knee was swollen and he had trouble walking; he used crutches for five or six months after the accident, and was in a knee brace. He had arthroscopic surgery that reduced his pain substantially, but still has the feeling that his knee is not stable. The plaintiff went to physiotherapy a couple of times of his own volition; he complained his knee still ached and he limps, has shoulder pain, and his hand goes numb when he reaches forward with that arm. The arthroscopic surgery revealed a buckle handle tear of the medial meniscus as well as a complete tear of his anterior cruciate ligament. A debridement and partial medial meniscectomy was performed, and the plaintiff had a good recovery. An ultrasound on his shoulder suggested an intrasubstance partial tear of his supraspinatus tendon. With respect to general damages, Young J held that the plaintiff suffered a meniscal tear, ACL rupture, and a high level of pain while awaiting surgery. The pain reduced after the surgery but still persisted. Young J awarded general damages of $50,000.
Mr. Plaintiff’s knee injury is similar to the knee injury sustained by this plaintiff; however, he underwent two arthroscopic surgeries instead of one, and had the additional injuries to his back, sleep issues, and mild depression. The general damage award to the Scarfe plaintiff is likely lower than what Mr. Plaintiff will receive.

Blas v. Grant (1990), 112 AR 163, 1990 CarswellAlta 538 $22,500 $37,822
In this case, the 53-year old male plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He suffered multiple cervical and lumbar soft tissue injuries, a fractured rib, a bruised and lacerated knee, pain in his left hand, and two broken teeth. The knee later became numb and the plaintiff was diagnosed with a nerve root irritation, for which physiotherapy was prescribed. He continued to have cervical pain that was diagnosed as being due to spondylolysis that was either aggravated or precipitated by the accident. The plaintiff’s major complaint was persistent numbness over the anterior aspect of his knee extending from the mid-thigh down to the mid-calf; this was diagnosed as nerve root irritation. He also had neck, low back, and knee discomfort. Power J concluded that in light of the possibility of the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition, general damages should be assessed at $22,500.
Mr. Plaintiff suffered more serious injuries than the Blas plaintiff; he had surgery to correct his knee problems. However, this case is being noted for the similarity of the numbness injury to the legs of both men, and because it was decided in Alberta. Mr. Plaintiff can expect to receive a higher general damages award than was given in this case.
Wick v. Schlosser, 2005 SKQB 322 $25,000 $30,800
In this case, the 52-year old female plaintiff fell on a sidewalk leading to her apartment building entry and severely injured her knee. Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff’s knee was swollen and painful; she went to the hospital, was given painkillers, and released. The plaintiff went back to the hospital the next day for x-rays and a plaster cast was administered from her ankle to her thigh. The case was eventually removed and the plaintiff went to physiotherapy, but the pain and swelling persisted. She underwent two arthroscopic surgeries on the knee. The plaintiff continued to have pain, discomfort, and swelling in the knee. Zarzeczny J held that the defendants were not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries; however, damages were assessed provisionally. The evidence showed that the plaintiff sustained a comminuted fracture of the patella of her left knee, along with soft tissue injuries to her left knee. She was in a cast for approximately six weeks, and wore a brace for some time after that. The orthopaedic surgeon noted a significant tear in the medial meniscus and a partial medial meniscectomy was carried out; there was also some fraying and a small tear in the lateral meniscus. The plaintiff underwent a number of cortisone injections in her knee to assist with pain and swelling. It was unlikely that the plaintiff would require a knee replacement in the future. Zarzeczny J provisionally assessed general damages of $25,000.
This case must be noted for the similarity of the knee injuries between this plaintiff and Mr. Plaintiff. Both had two arthroscopic surgeries to repair meniscal tears; both had cortisone injections and physiotherapy in an attempt to alleviate pain. Mr. Plaintiff had the additional injuries of leg numbness and back problems. However, this case will need to be distinguished, as the defendants will likely attempt to rely on it.
Monahan v. Edmonton (City), 2006 ABPC 338 $22,000 $26,554
In this case, the 56-year old female plaintiff was a passenger on a City of Edmonton bus when the bus stopped suddenly and without warning. The sudden stop caused the plaintiff to slide forward and she struck her knee on the seat in front of her; her kneecap violently struck the seat on the lower part of the frame of the seat. She also struck her left shoulder on the upper part of the same seat frame. Immediately after the collision, she felt a deep searing pain in her knee; liability was admitted. In the accident, she sustained a small inferior peripheral marginal tear of her medial meniscus and the junction with her medial collateral ligament. The plaintiff was also diagnosed with an ACL sprain without a complete tear. Her knee remained achy intermittently; due to various abnormalities in her knee joint, she would likely never be symptom-free. The plaintiff was also diagnosed with chondromalacia patella that was unrelated to the accident; she underwent 18 physiotherapy treatments. The plaintiff would likely require orthoscopic surgery to correct the partially torn meniscus. Skitsko Prov Ct J awarded the plaintiff general damages of $22,000.
Again, this case must be noted and distinguished. Mr. Plaintiff had two arthroscopic surgeries and has back issues; however, there are certain similarities between this plaintiff’s injuries and his. The Monahan plaintiff had not yet had any surgery and had no other serious injuries; Mr. Plaintiff had back problems and leg numbness.

Folbar v. Alto Construction Ltd., 2003 SKQB 1 $15,000 $19,230
In this case, the 49-year old male plaintiff was an electrician was employed by the defendant to work in the construction of a mine in Kyrgyzstan. He was injured when a tripod that held a roll of cable fell on his leg. The tripod was placed on an uneven slope using jacks that were available at the site. At first, it was thought that it was only his ankle was injured; it was thought to be broken and initially casted. The plaintiff returned to Canada and it was determined the ankle was not broken but severely strained. However, the plaintiff began to suffer pain and swelling in his right knee that continued to cause him pain. At trial, the evidence showed the possibility that the plaintiff had a pre-existing medical condition that was a causal factor in his knee problems. An arthroscopic surgery was carried out that confirmed the existence of the pre-existing disease, and also identified a tear in the meniscus on the medial side of the knee and early degeneration or wearing of the joint. The plaintiff underwent a second arthroscopic surgery approximately one year later that revealed new damage to the medial meniscus and more degenerative change, along with a new small meniscal tear. Smith J held that the plaintiff had suffered previous problems with his right knee that were not wholly attributed to his accident. However, he did suffer injury and have difficulty sleeping; Smith J awarded the plaintiff $15,000 in general damages.
This case may be problematic for Mr. Plaintiff as the plaintiff had a similar knee problem that required two arthroscopic surgeries to correct. However, he had pre-existing problems that Mr. Plaintiff likely did not. This case will need to be distinguished, as the defendant will probably try to rely on it when making submissions as to general damages.

Article edited by Walter W. Kubitz Q.C., a personal injury lawyer in Calgary, Alberta.