Court of Appeal Upholds Record Award for Chronic Pain – Degennaro v. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

by John McKiggan

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released its reasons in Degennaro v. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The Court of Appeal confirmed a $3 million compensation award for chronic pain stemming from a slip and fall injury.

As far as I can tell, the decision is the largest compensatory damage award from chronic pain in Canada.

Diane Degennaro was visiting her son who was a patient at the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. A nurse at the hospital offered Ms. Degennaro a bed to sleep in while she was staying with her son. When Ms. Degennaro sat on the bed it collapsed and she fractured her sacrum (the pointed bone at the base of the spine).

As a result of the injury, Ms. Degennaro developed fibromyalgia and suffered serious chronic pain.

The trial judge awarded compensatory damages totaling more than $3 million.

Chronic pain cases are notoriously difficult to win. When the plaintiff is successful the damage awards are rarely of the magnitude seen in the Degennaro case.

Congratulations are due to Ms. Degennaro and to her trial counsel, Alfred Kwinter and her appellant counsel Paul Pape.

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