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RCMP Officer Awarded $135,000 in Non-Pecuniary Damages for Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries

Although not entirely disabling, my soft tissue injuries are affecting my career, relationships, home life and activities. I’m finding it difficult to adjust to these changes and I find myself to be quite moody and irritable. What is fair compensation for my pain and suffering?

Reasons for judgement were released today by the British Columbia Supreme Court where a RCMP officer was awarded $135,000 for pain and suffering as a result of her soft tissue injuries (Slater v Gorden, 2017 BCSC 2265).

In 2014, the plaintiff was involved in a rear-end collision. She was not medically approved to continue her general duties as a police officer – which she greatly enjoyed and was thriving in – and therefore was relocated to a more administrative role within the police department. After the crash, the plaintiff’s relationship with her common-law husband broke down, she was unable to participate in her children’s activities to the same extent, her sleep was disturbed, and she had become more withdrawn from her work colleagues, family, and friends. In her assessment, Madam Justice Forth provided the following reasons:

[85]         Ms. Slater presented as someone who likes to be in control, and it appears that the ongoing symptoms and their lack of resolution have been particularly difficult for her to adjust to. She testified as to the impact that the accident has had on her life, in that she feels she has lost everything that she worked “super hard” to achieve: her career, her personal life, and her physical well-being.

[87]         She is concerned that she will not have the same opportunity for advancement. She does not find her job in the Serious Crime Unit as enjoyable as her previous role, and she finds it more depressing and mentally draining as she has to deal with serious files for extended periods. Her current role mainly involves computer work in the office, which she finds far less stimulating than the general duty work.

[91]         Ms. Slater testified that she has become moody and irritable. She feels down and does not want to participate in social activities. She finds that she is now much more emotional and susceptible to break down.

[92]         I have reviewed the various cases provided, and in assessing the particular circumstances of Ms. Slater, I am of the view that the appropriate award for non-pecuniary damages is $135,000.

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