Physiological Pain As Important As Physical Pain

May 03, 2009, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are injured in a car accident due to someone else's negligence, you have to pass the Threshold Test in order to succeed with your claim for pain and suffering damages.  The Threshold Test for car accidents that have occurred prior to October 31, 2003 is whether you suffered a permanent and serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological condition. 


In a recent court decision (O'Brien v Charbonneau), the court had to consider whether an injured person that had returned to her pre-accident work still met the Threshold Test.  The injured person missed 4 months of work due to her injuries from the car accident.  She returned to part-time duties for 3 months and then resumed full-time employment.  The injured person's injuries could be primarily described as soft tissue injuries and chronic pain.  The injured person continued to complain of constant back pain that worsened with continued siting, walking and other physical activity.  The injured person indicated that her injuries caused increased pain and pain related fatigue that affected her ability to carry out and enjoy her activities of daily living.  The jury had awarded her $32,500.00 for general damages (pain and suffering).


The issue of whether an injured person meets the Threshold Test is determined by the judge.  The jury will decide damages and the judge will decide the Threshold Test.  The judge determined that the injured person did meet the Threshold Test.  The injured person's evidence about her condition and the impact on her activities of daily living were corraborated by lay witnesses (family, friends and co-workers).  In addition, her treatment providers and physicians confirmed that she was not prone to exaggeration about her symptoms and that she put forth her best efforts in trying to recover from the injuries.  As such they were serious injuries.  Since they were likely to continue for an indefinite period then the were considered to be permanent injuries for the purpose of the Threshold Test. 

In this case, despite a relatively early return to work, the injured person was successful in her claim because they were able to show the overall and significant impact of her injuries on her life outside of work.

Posted under Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Chronic Pain, Pain and Suffering, Treatment

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

Practice Areas

  1. Car accidents
  2. Motorcycle accidents
  3. Automobile accident benefits
  4. Catastrophic injury
  5. Brain or Head injury
  6. Paraplegia and Quadriplegia
  7. Spinal cord injury
  8. Drunk driving accidents
  9. Concussion syndrome
  10. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  11. Slip and Fall Accidents
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  2. Bicycle accidents
  3. Disability insurance claims
  4. Slip and fall injury
  5. Fractures or broken bone injury
  6. Pedestrian accidents
  7. Chronic pain
  8. Truck accidents
  9. Amputation and disfigurement
  10. Fibromyalgia
  11. Nursing Home Fatality Claims

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