The value of an Ontario car accident claim depends on several factors. The team at Chodola Reynolds Binder has outlined some considerations here, but we encourage you to contact our experienced Windsor personal injury lawyers to learn more about your right to compensation.
Threshold and Liability for Injuries
To have a legal claim for personal injuries due to a car accident, the injured person must clearly show that someone else is liable (legally responsible) for causing them. In Ontario, the injured person must also show that the injuries are "permanent and serious."
This means you or your loved one must have experienced a severe or permanent disfigurement or impairment that significantly impacts your ability to function physically. The threshold may also be reached if the injuries substantially impact your mental functioning. If the injuries meet (or exceed) the threshold, you would potentially be able to sue the at-fault party for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, out-of-pocket expenses, and your legal costs.
Types of Personal Injury Damages
If you have a potential claim for damages, two categories help determine the claim's value.
- General damages are meant to compensate an injured person for losses that are not financial in nature. This category includes pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, loss of companionship, and physical disfigurement. Claims for general damages are supported by medical records and doctors' notes.
- Special damages provide financial compensation for specific losses resulting from a defendant's negligent actions. They include the cost to either replace or repair any property damage, lost income while the injured person was recovering, loss of future earning capacity or income due to the injuries, medical expenses, and housekeeping or home maintenance expenses.
How Car Accident Damages Are Calculated
You don't need to know the full extent of your injuries to meet with a personal injury lawyer and start the work of calculating car accident damages. Your lawyer will consider the severity of your injuries, their impact, and general damage caps to estimate the value of your case.
1. Severity of Your Injuries and Your Overall Prognosis
The first factor used to calculate damages following a car accident is the severity of the injuries, the doctor's prognosis for recovery, and treatment. A doctor must perform a detailed examination to assess your injuries. Once the assessment is made, you must keep up with all recommended appointments and treatments. It's important to keep detailed records of all medical appointments and receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses such as parking and assistive devices.
2. Impact of Your Injuries on Your Daily Life
Your personal injury lawyer will also consider how your injuries impact your daily life.
- Do you now need help with activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, or using the bathroom)?
- Is your ability to see or hear impaired following the accident?
- Do you have difficulty walking or has the accident left you partially or completely paralyzed?
- How has the accident affected your loved ones?
- Are you unable to care for your children in the same way as before the accident?
- Did you have to hire someone to perform housekeeping or home maintenance tasks?
- How has the accident impacted your relationship with your spouse or partner? Has it impacted your intimate relationship?
Your personal injury lawyer will also review similar cases to determine how much someone in similar circumstances was awarded for general damages.
3. Cap on General Damage Awards
There is a cap on general damages of approximately $400,000 in Canada. The cap is adjusted for inflation. Even if you have suffered the most severe, traumatic injuries in a car accident, the most you will be awarded for pain and suffering, etc., is $400,000.
There is a $40,000 deductible for general damages, too. If you were awarded $100,000 for general damages in court, the amount would automatically be reduced to $60,000. However, the deductible doesn't apply if the amount awarded for general damages is $130,000 or higher.
The amount you could be awarded for general damages could be reduced if you are found partially liable for your injuries. You likely will not collect as much in general damages if you were not wearing a seat belt or you were texting at the time of the accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident?
When results matter, you can count on CRB Law to give you the effective representation you can trust. Our law firm helps clients in Windsor, Tecumseh, LaSalle, Belle River, Kingsville, Leamington, Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton, and across Ontario who have been injured in car accidents. If you need help, call us at (519) 254-6433 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation.