What is my Claim Worth? Personal Injury Damages Explained
If you have been injured in an accident, and believe somebody else is at fault, you are probably wondering, “what is my claim worth?” The wrong answer to this question could cost you thousands of dollars.
In this post, we will explain how personal injury damages are calculated, and review the most common types of damages awarded to plaintiffs.
What are Damages?
When someone else is found to be legally at fault for your accident, they must compensate you for your injuries. In Canada, personal injury damages are meant to return an injured party, as much as possible, to their pre-accident circumstances. At trial, a court will calculate damages based on all of the evidence about your injuries, your working capacity and earnings, and how the injuries have impacted the totality of your life.
In Ontario, most claims do not go to trial; over 90% of plaintiffs will agree to settle with their insurance company or the defendant. A settlement offer can be made at any time, so it is crucial to understand how personal injury damages are calculated, and consult with an experienced lawyer who can help you decide whether an offer is fair.
Types of Damages
There are two main types, or “heads” of damages in a personal injury action: General (or non-pecuniary) and Special (or pecuniary).
General damages are awarded for the pain and suffering associated with your injuries. They are “non-pecuniary” because they cannot be calculated: there is no way to determine the actual monetary value of a broken leg, or ongoing chronic pain. The amount of general personal injury damages depends on the nature and severity of your injury, and can be very difficult to assess accurately without legal advice. Your personal injury lawyer will review earlier decisions and awards made to plaintiffs with similar injuries, and provide guidance on what your own general damages may be worth. They can also explain the complex legal limits that restrict general damages in certain cases, and how these may impact your damages.
Special damages are intended to compensate you for any and all financial losses that are the result of your injuries. These are also called “pecuniary” damages, because they can be calculated precisely.
Common Categories of Special Damages
There are several common types of special damages in personal injury claims. These include the cost of medical treatment or medication, lost income after the accident and reduced capacity to work and earn income in the future, housekeeping or other support services, and loss and damage to property.
You will need to provide evidence that proves each item or loss, and its value. Your lawyer can ensure you have the right evidence to back up your claim, and present this in the best possible light to maximize a potential settlement.
If you have been injured and are curious about the possible value of your claim, Derfel Injury Law can help determine what your claim is worth. Our experienced team will help guide you through the process, identify all possible avenues for settlement, and ensure that you receive full compensation for your losses. Contact our personal injury team today.