“Little Love Tap” Proves Costly
In May 2009 warehouseman and amateur athlete Jose Vincente Guzman Gonzalez was stopped in traffic when a car driven by Dawson Dueck hit him from behind causing a little over $1000 damage to each car. Although what Dueck described as “a little love tap” didn’t seem to injure Guzman at the time of the accident, Guzman had headaches, neck and back pain, and difficulty sleeping that night. He visited his family doctor the next day, and the doctor suggested a regime of physiotherapy and a week off work.
Guzman revisited the doctor five more times over the next ten months as well as five visits to a physiotherapist who suggested a series of exercises to relieve persistent neck, shoulder and back pain. The pain had limited Guzman’s work in the warehouse and kept him away from his regular schedule of soccer, basketball, tennis and dancing.
Counsel from McComb Witten suggested a December 2011 visit to a specialist to review Guzman’s medical record and give him a thorough examination to provide a medical legal opinion.
In court in May 2012 McComb Witten cited the medical history and specialist’s legal opinion as well as BC case law from five compensation awards ranging from $25,000 to $35,000 for similar circumstances. The defense cited three decisions ranging from $4,000 to $5,000 in similar cases.
In consideration of the testimony of McComb Witten’s client, the two doctors, and the physiotherapist, the court awarded Guzman $27,500 for pain and suffering caused by the accident plus $133 for the costs of physiotherapy.
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