This case involved a plaintiff that was injured in two separate motor vehicle accidents, in which he’d suffered whiplash type injuries. Complicating factors here included the plaintiff’s pre-existing degenerative changes to his neck. At the time of trial, the plaintiff was 40, but he was in his mid 30s at the time of the motor vehicle accidents in question.
Following these motor vehicle accidents, the plaintiff’s injuries progressed to the point that his hands shook and his legs felt weak. His symptoms were relieved by surgery, but never totally disappeared.
Prior to these motor vehicle accidents, the plaintiff had been an active person who regularly participated in demanding activities, like rock climbing. He did have some pre-existing neck pain, but it was not of a disabling nature. Before these accidents, the plaintiff was also employed as a tax auditor for the Canada Revenue Agency. His job involved a mixed role of office work and visiting the homes and offices of those under audit. His job required some physical activity, such as carrying file boxes. He was also often expected to work in small and awkward spaces provided by those he was auditing.
After the accident, and despite having surgery, the plaintiff was unable to return to his previous hobby activities. He had returned to work but in a limited capacity and part-time capacity.
Of special note in this case was an opinion from a medical expert stating that the plaintiff’s pre-existing neck conditions had pre-exposed him to a worse injury from whiplash in a motor vehicle collision:
On cross-examination, Dr. Wong agreed that an individual with cervical spondylosis is more susceptible to injury due to whiplash. Whiplash causes hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck which can disrupt the muscles and ligaments supporting the spinal column. Whiplash can also accelerate degenerative disc disorder by damaging and weakening the outer part of a disc and making it susceptible to herniation and bulge. Nerves can become pinched or irritated as a result.
This case, once again, illustrates the profound effect a whiplash injury can have on a person and the importance of getting proper legal advice.