On September 19, 2014, Mr. Justice Cohen awarded over $750,000 in damages to the plaintiff in Debou v. Besemer, 2014 BCSC 1766 as a result of soft tissue injuries sustained by Mr. DeBou in two motor vehicle accidents in 2009 and 2010. 

Mr. DeBou was 62 years old at the time of the first accident and suffered from a pre-existing but episodic myofascial disorder. The court held that his condition was aggravated by the first accident while the second accident caused a chronic pain disorder. Although Mr. Debou’s injuries were soft tissue in nature, the court awarded $140,000 in non-pecuniary damages because of the impact these injuries had on his overall quality of life.

Mr. DeBou was a lawyer and ran his own practice prior to and after the accidents. Mr. Justice Cohen awarded Mr. DeBou $175,000 in past income loss despite the fact that he earned as much or more than his pre-accident income in some of the years following his accidents. Mr. Justice Cohen accepted evidence from various witnesses testifying that Mr. DeBou turned away many files as a result of his condition and held Mr. DeBou would have earned even more income but for his injuries. 

With respect to future income loss, Mr. Justice Cohen noted there was a lack of quality evidence in support of this claim but awarded $375,000 nevertheless finding that Mr. DeBou was unable to sustain the same volume of work going forward that he did prior to his accidents. It was accepted that Mr. DeBou would have worked at the same volume or higher until the age of 75.

Although Mr. DeBou suffered from ongoing chronic soft tissue pain which had various impacts on his quality of life, this case moves the bar upwards when it comes to soft tissue injuries.