Injured persons are entitled to compensation for both physical and psychological injuries caused by the negligence of others. While objective measures are more readily available to demonstrate physical injuries, psychological injuries are not as readily provable. The importance of utilizing appropriate medical experts to establish the existence of psychological injuries cannot be overstated; it is crucial to succeeding in such cases.
In Hans v. Volvo Trucks North America Inc, 2016 BCSC 1155, Mr. Justice Davies granted a substantial award of nearly $5 Million dollars to one of the plaintiffs in the case for his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) that arose as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
In the Hans case, the plaintiffs, husband and wife, were long haul truck drivers returning home to Surrey, B.C. in a tractor trailer truck manufactured by the defendant Volvo Trucks North America Inc. The accident occurred when the truck, without warning, lost all electrical power and crashed.
The crash was traumatic for both plaintiffs particularly for Mr. Hans.
Indeed, while the plaintiffs suffered minimal physical injuries, Mr. Hans was left with serious and debilitating PTSD which resulted in three suicide attempts.
Mr. Justice Davies remarked that whereas before the accident, Mr. Hans was a gregarious and fun loving father and husband, he became an isolated, withdrawn and depressed individual whose psychological deterioration had resulted in attempts at suicide.
Essential to the plaintiffs’ success in the case were the opinions of medical professionals who confirmed Mr. Hans’ PTSD diagnosis and opined that it was causally related to the motor vehicle accident.