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PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers at Maclean Personal Injury know that some of the worst ICBC car accident injuries are not noticeable to the human eye and do not show up on X-rays.

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers

Spencer MacLean PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers  direct line 604 697 2804

Our skilled MacLean Personal Injury PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers know broken bones, torn ligaments, loss of limbs and other objectively observable injuries are easier for ICBC to accept as personal injuries that occurred as a result of an ICBC Car accident in Vancouver, Surrey or the rest of British Columbia.

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers 604-602-9000

One of the worst injuries our Surrey personal injury and Vancouver ICBC car accident victims suffer from is Post Traumatic stress disorder also known as PTSD. This injury can be devastating to the victim and their loved ones.

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers Meet With You Free  604-602-9000

Our aggressive MacLean Personal Injury lawyers like Spencer MacLean of our Vancouver and Surrey office will meet with you for free to assess your injuries including whether you are suffering from Post traumatic stress disorder. We will investigate the accident and direct you to the best physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists to ensure you are properly diagnosed, treated and made whole with the most generous fair injury settlement.

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers Explain What PTSD Is

The Mayo Clinic describes PTSD as follows:

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers at MacLean Personal Injury explain to clients that ICBC will often aggressively defend a PTSD claim as saying the victim does not have PTSD or if they do it was not caused by the car accident. Our skilled PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers will ensure your PTSD case is properly presented and in a compelling fashion to increase your chances of  obtaining the highest fair injury settlement.

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Lawyers Explain Recent Case

In the recent case of Harmati v. Williams the court dealt with the contentious issue of what cause the injured Plaintiff’s psychological distress and found for the injured victim. In this case the insurer argued the accident didn’t cause the PTSD.

 

[60]         In order to establish causation, Ms. Harmati must prove on a balance of probabilities that but for the accident, she would not have suffered the injuries she currently has. This is determined by using the “but for” test described in Athey v. Leonati, [1996] 3 S.C.R. 458 (paras. 13-17). The plaintiff must show on a balance of probabilities that “but for” the defendant’s negligent act, the injury in question would not have occurred.

[61]         It is not necessary that the defendant be the only cause of the plaintiff’s injury to find that they are liable, simply that they be a contributing cause. Writing for the Court, Major J. stated:

[19]      The law does not excuse a defendant from liability merely because other causal factors for which he is not responsible also helped produce the harm: Fleming, [John G. Fleming, “Probabilistic Causation in Tort Law” (1989), 68 Can. Bar Rev. 661] at p. 200. It is sufficient if the defendant’s negligence was a cause of the harm: School Division of Assiniboine South, No. 3 v. Greater Winnipeg Gas Co., [1971] 4 W.W.R. 746 (Man. C.A.), at p. 753, aff’d [1973] 6 W.W.R. 765 (S.C.C.), [1973] S.C.R. vi; Ken Cooper-Stephenson, Personal Injury Damages in Canada (2nd ed. 1996), at p. 748.

As Athey established, it not necessary that a court find a defendant to be the sole cause of a plaintiff’s injuries in order to find them wholly liable for those injuries.

[62]         However, the defendant will not be responsible for any loss not caused by his/her negligence or for “debilitating effects of [a] pre-existing condition which the plaintiff would have experienced anyway” (Athey at para. 35). This works to limit a defendant’s liability so as only to cover damage caused by their action, excluding damage that would have occurred regardless of their action.

[63]         Two particular issues related to causation were brought in this case: the “thin skull rule” and crumbling skull. The “thin skull rule” stands for the proposition that a “tortfeasor must take his or her victim as the tortfeasor finds the victim, and is therefore liable even though the plaintiff’s losses are more dramatic than they would be for the average person” (Athey para. 34). This doctrine makes the defendant liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, even if those injuries are unexpectedly severe due to a pre-existing condition, either physical or psychological.

[64]         Alternatively, a defendant is not liable for damage suffered due to a “crumbling skull” which recognizes that the plaintiff’s current injuries were inherent in their original position (Athey para. 35). A defendant is not liable for an injury that would have happened regardless of their action. As recently stated by Russell J.: “the defendants will not be held responsible for putting the plaintiff in a better position than he would have been in had the accident not occurred.” (Mckenzie v. Lloyd, 2016 BCSC 1745 at para. 139).

[65]         In addition to damage for physical injuries, Ms. Harmati seeks damages for a psychological injury in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. In Yoshikawa v. Yu, [1996] B.C.J. No. 623 at para. 12, Lambert J.A. cited the test in for assessing psychological injuries found in Maslen v. Rubenstein, [1989] B.C.W.L.D. 2371 (B.C.S.C.) at para. 15 as follows:

[C]hronic benign pain syndrome will attract damages … where the plaintiff’s condition is caused by the defendant and is not something within her control to prevent. If it is true of a chronic benign pain syndrome, then it will be true also of other psychologically-caused suffering where the psychological mechanism, whatever it is, is beyond the plaintiff’s power to control and was set in motion by the defendant’s fault. 

[66]         Liability for psychological injuries was dealt with in a more recent case, where the BCCA found the following in Hussack v. Chilliwack School District No. 33, 2011 BCCA 258 at para. 74:

… where the psychiatric injury is consequential to the physical injury for which the defendant is responsible, the defendant is also responsible for the psychiatric injury even if this injury was unforeseeable.  See White v. Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, [1999] 2 A.C. 455 at 470, Varga v. John Labbatt, [1956] O.R. 1007, 6 D.L.R. (2d) 336 (H.C.);  Yoshikawa v. Yu (1996) 21 B.C.L.R. (3d) 318, 73 B.C.A.C. (C.A.);  Edwards v. Marsden, 2004 BCSC 590;  Samuel v. Levi, 2008 BCSC 1447. 

[67]         There is no evidence of any post-traumatic stress disorder, or stress which caused Ms. Harmati dysfunction or was disabling prior to the accident. She has denied being treated for any anxiety or mental disorder in the past.

[68]         I am of the view that Ms. Harmati did suffer stress and challenge prior to the accident, but that she was able to function in daily life. However, after the accident, she could not function in stressful situations or where she had to meet workplace deadlines. Jenni McKinnon testified that after the accident, Ms. Harmati was not able to control what she said to people and that she used to be more circumspect in the comments she made prior to the accident. Ms. McKinnon corroborated that Ms. Harmati was overwhelmed by daily living.

[69]         It is true that Dr. Oosterholt made a note claiming that Ms. Harmati thought that the accident “is not core issue of her anxiety/depression.” I give this little weight for two central reasons. First, Dr. Oosterholt was not called by either party to explain this note and the context in which it was made. Second, Ms. Harmati denies that she stated this to Dr. Oosterholt. Additionally, I find that even if Ms. Harmati had agreed to saying the above quotation to Dr. Oosterholt, it would still be of little medical value. Ms. Harmati is not a doctor, and as such is not in a position to provide expert evidence as to the source of her anxiety or depression.

[70]         On a balance of probabilities, I find that Ms. Harmati’s present disability, both physical and psychological, is a result of the accident. I accept Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s opinion that the PTSD was triggered by the accident, and I am satisfied that there is a substantial connection between the injuries Ms. Harmati suffered in this accident and her present symptoms sufficient to impose liability on the Defendants. Just as the Defendants are liable for any physical injuries caused to Ms. Harmati, they are too liable for any psychological injuries that arose from this accident. 

[71]         I find that but for the accident, Ms. Harmati would not have suffered from pain in the neck, head and back or post-traumatic stress disorder. While Ms. Harmati may have had a more extreme reaction to the accident than most, she is better described as a “thin skull” than a crumbling one. The injuries she has suffered were not inherent in her original position and would not have occurred had the accident not happened.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress disorder PTSD it’s important you act quickly to get proper treatment started and a record of the changes that have occurred from the car accident that caused it. Call Spencer MacLean today at 604-602-9000 to meet with him at any one of our offices or the hospital and even your home.



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