What You Need To Know To Understand Pain and Suffering Damages - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Thursday, 13 December 2018

What You Need To Know To Understand Pain and Suffering Damages

#AskRichardChang

When you are injured through the negligent or intentional conduct of another party, you may be able to bring a lawsuit seeking damages, including compensation for the pain and suffering inflicted upon you. How pain and suffering damages are calculated and the limitations Ontario legislation and court decisions place on the amount that can be awarded to you can be difficult to understand, but the following information should be of help.

Damages in general

Pain and suffering are a form of what the law refers to as non-pecuniary or non-economic damages. These are awarded to compensate accident victims for the pain, stress, anxiety and other emotional or psychological harm caused because of an accident and the injuries it caused to them. Non-pecuniary damages are awarded in cases in which the injuries you suffer in an accident affect your ability to engage in and enjoy daily activities of your life.

Computation of pain and suffering damages is difficult because the effect of an accident and its injuries is not something that can be accurately measured. This is in contrast to economic damages capable of being counted and expressed in monetary terms. Examples of economic or pecuniary damages include the following:

  • Medical care
  • Lost earnings
  • Housekeeping
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Prescription medications

Unlike economic losses, pain and suffering damages are subjective and force courts to rely upon evidence proving the effects of an injury on the day-to-day activities of the victim. Evidence of a person’s inability to return to work or the individual’s inability to engage in relationships with family members as had been done before the accident might result in an award of pain and suffering damages as compensation. Proof that a person’s injuries make it impossible to drive a car affects the victim’s daily life and the ability to be as independent as the person might have been prior to the accident.

Caps on pain and suffering damages

Court decisions several years ago imposed a cap on pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases. The original cap was set at $100,000 in 1978, but inflation has caused it to rise to slightly more than $360,000 today. This cap applies to all personal injury cases except for those arising out of a motor vehicle accident in Ontario. Pain and suffering damages in motor vehicle lawsuits are governed by the Ontario Insurance Act, which imposes a deductible on some pain and suffering awards.

According to the Ontario Insurance Act, if you are awarded non-pecuniary damages of $126,610.07 or less, there is a deductible of $37,983.33. For example, if the trial of your car accident case results in an award of pain and suffering damages to you of $75,000, it would be reduced by the statutory deductible to only $37,016.67. The statutory deductible does not apply to cases in which the award for pain and suffering is more than $126,610.07.

Bear in mind that a lawsuit for damages following a motor vehicle accident may not always be available. The injured party must suffer an injury resulting in permanent serious disfigurement or a serious impairment diagnosed as permanent of a physical, psychological or mental function to have the right to sue. A consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer is essential to understand your rights under the law.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation for individuals injured through the negligent or intentional conduct of other parties. Their experience handling claims for personal injuries and pain and suffering make them a valued resource for trusted legal advice. Call the Diamond & Diamond injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT at any time of the day or night. You can also visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and confidential case evaluations throughout Ontario.

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