‘How much compensation am I entitled to?’
You have suffered an injury from an accident and your entire life has been affected as a result.
You can’t go to work and are struggling to pay your bills. Maybe you have sky high medical costs from your injury that aren’t covered by Alberta Health Care, and your entire future earnings are directly impacted by your injury.
There are a multitude of outcomes a person can come up against after an accident and you may be entitled to compensation to offset the costs you have and will incur as a result of your injury. But how much compensation should you expect to receive?
How Personal Injury Compensation is Determined
Damages can fall under several factors:
- General Damages
General Damages are measured by the loss suffered by the injured party that directly results from the injury caused by the defendant. Damages of this nature include physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, physical disfigurement, mental anguish, physical impairment, and lowered quality of life.
These general damages are often difficult to quantify as they are personal and subjective. The court will look to previous case law for rulings with similar facts and injuries to determine what other similar case damages have been awarded.. However, the amount of general damages awarded can vary on a case by case basis and are subject to a cap.
- Special Damages
Special damages are easier to calculate as these are damages with a quantifiable price tag. This could include medical bills, lost wages due to missing work, medications, personal property damage, and cost of medical treatment.
- Future Cost of Care
In some cases, where people need longer lasting medical treatment for the rest of their lives, future costs can be taken into account when assessing compensation.
- Future Loss of Income
In extreme cases where a victim has been permanently impacted by their injuries, they may no longer be able to perform the necessary tasks to complete their job or they may have to leave their job altogether. Alberta case law will take future loss of income into consideration when assessing the compensation owed.
Personal Injury Compensation Cap in Alberta
Compared to cases in the U.S which can have large settlement amounts, Canadian law has capped the amount of compensation a victim can receive depending on the gravity of their injuries.
If you have suffered a car accident in Alberta involving a soft tissue or minor injury the maximum pain and suffering compensation you can be paid is capped at $5,296. Injuries which cause serious impairment are not subject to this cap. These types of injuries include fractures, injury resulting in a disability or permanent damage, and mental anguish. (Source)
However, Canada does have a cap on the maximum amount of damages from a personal injury claim, which is set at $370,000. These are losses that aren’t measured in monetary value such as pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment and future employability as a result of your injury. All of the above injuries both minor and more serious will need to be established in evidence and backed up by medical reports by a doctor. (Source)
Will my insurance be sufficient to cover my costs?
Alberta law says that under a contract your insurance company has to “act in good faith,” meaning that they have to be honest with you, treat you fairly, not try to unfairly take money from you or unfairly deny your claim. However when dealing with someone else’s insurance company and attempting to claim damages from the person that caused the crash, you no longer have the protection of this contract, as you have no legal relationship with that person’s insurance company. That insurance company WILL try to reduce the amount of compensation you receive, regardless of the extent of your injuries.
This is why it is necessary to contact a personal injury lawyer if you are going to make a claim.. A lawyer can empower you with the knowledge you need to make sure an insurance company does not take unfair advantage of you and result in you receiving less compensation than you were fairly owed.
Calculating a ‘Fair’ Personal Injury Claim
To sum up, the area of personal injury law can be quite complex and there isn’t necessarily a chart of damages that one can refer to and assess if going to court is ‘worth it’.
It is strongly recommended to discuss your case with a lawyer who then can assess what damages may be owed to you based on your injuries. There is no one size fits all in this instance, and professional legal advice is highly recommended to help you navigate a complex and difficult time.
Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers today to set up a FREE consultation. Remember – we don’t collect any fees unless you receive a settlement from your claim.