If you’ve been injured due to the act or negligence of another person, know how much you can recover from them with this personal injury payout guide.
The computation of damages is based on the types of damages that Canadian law allows to be recovered by an injured party, and the evaluation of your injury as applied to these types of damages.
You must also note how settlements are reached by both parties, which will prompt the assistance of legal counsel.
1. Types of damages in Canada
There are two types of damages that you can claim under Canada’s laws:
General damages are the amount of compensation for your non-monetary or non-pecuniary damages. This includes your pain and suffering or emotional distress due to the injury.
General damages may be based on:
- reduced enjoyment of life
- physical pain or impairment
- mental health problems
- loss of a loved one
Also called pecuniary damages, special damages are the financial value or quantifiable amounts that you already spent due to the injury.
It may also include the estimated value that you will be spending to recover or to live normally after becoming disabled.
Examples of special damages are:
- actual lost income or reduced earning capacity
- medical costs for treating the injury
- costs of medicines or prescriptions
- costs of future care in cases of long-term or permanent disabilities
- household expenses
2. Evaluation of personal injury payouts
Your personal injury lawyer is experienced in estimating your personal injury payout. You and your lawyer can arrive at a range of figures based on these factors:
for general damages:
- severity of your injuries
- cost and duration of treatment
- cost of litigation and lawyer’s fees
for special damages:
- the impact of the injuries to your daily life
- your emotional and psychological suffering
- the mental stress caused by litigation
Know that personal injury claims may be settled even before going to court. That’s why it’s important to consult a lawyer right away when a personal injury happens. Don’t wait until you’re about to go to court – litigation is considered a last resort.
In Ontario, mediation is a mandatory step before personal injury claims may be filed in court. Without a lawyer during mediation, you may be forced by the other party to accept a settlement that’s way below what you’re worth.
The other party may be represented by their own lawyer and the insurance company representative. Being alone on the other side of the table would be a disadvantage in your case.
To get a better understanding of what happens in mediation, watch this video:
While this personal injury payout guide discusses settlement and mediation, it’s still advisable to hire a lawyer in your area. If you’re a resident of Edmonton, for example, speak with one of the Lexpert-Ranked personal injury lawyers in Alberta.
This personal injury payout guide outlines several factors that can affect how much you can recover:
It would help to have a personal injury lawyer with you at the early stages of your injury. Here, your lawyer would be able to advise you on what evidence must be gathered to strengthen your settlement case or court action.
Let’s say that you have paid your hospital or medical bills. Unless you have enough documentary evidence to prove this, it will be disregarded by the other party, even by the court.
Limit to General Damages
Common law has put a limit on the amount of general damages that you can recover. In 1978, it was capped at C$100,000 after a decision was made by the Supreme Court of Canada.
This amount is adjusted regularly to reflect inflation; as of 2023, the limit to pain and suffering damages is at C$450,000.
This does not affect special or actual damages. For these types of damages, the “limit” will be how much of these can you prove in relation to the documentary evidence that you can present.
Deductibles and Thresholds
Another factor in your personal injury payout guide are deductibles and thresholds under the province of Ontario. These apply to injuries from car accidents or motor vehicle collisions under Ontario’s Insurance Act.
Simply put, when your claim for pain and suffering or general damages falls below the threshold set for that year, the statutory deductible will apply to reduce the amount of damages. The statutory deductible is also adjusted every year.
For 2023, the threshold amounts are:
- C$147,889.59 for general damages
- C$73,944.18 for loss of guidance, care, and companionship under Ontario’s Family Law Act
While the statutory deductibles for 2023 are:
- C$44,367.24 for general damages
- C$22,183.63 for loss of guidance, care, and companionship under Ontario’s Family Law Act
Contributory negligence is when you’re also partly to blame for the personal injury that you’ve suffered. If that's the case, this may lessen the amount that you can claim from the other party.
For example, in a slip and fall accident at home, your landlord may be liable for neglecting the repair of some fixtures in your apartment. But if you didn’t report those defects right away, then there may be contributory negligence on your part.
Remember to consult with your lawyer on contributory negligence and other aspects of personal injury.
Lastly, your lawyer’s knowledge of the previous decisions of the courts can guide you on the personal injury payout that you can claim. Your lawyer will look for previous cases decided by the court that are closely related or similar to your case.
Here, common law will be a strong basis for the personal injury payout that you come up with.
To find out more about what's outlined in this personal injury payout guide, consult with a Lexpert-Ranked personal injury lawyer in Canada.
Read more: WCB injury payouts: a legal guide