If you have been injured in an accident, you may have suffered several different types of losses. Damages are monies paid to you, intended to compensate you for the losses that you have suffered, or will suffer in the future, due to your injuries.
Damages are broken down into two categories: (1) compensatory, and (2) punitive. Compensatory damages are intended to restore you, as much as can be done through a money award, to the state you would have been in had the injury not occurred. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their bad behaviour.
(1) Compensatory Damages: Pecuniary & Non-Pecuniary
Compensatory Damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for pecuniary (special) and non-pecuniary (general) losses suffered because of a defendant’s negligence. Whether your Personal Injury Claim is for a car accident, a slip and fall, or other negligence, pecuniary damages are amounts that can be fairly precisely calculated. Non-pecuniary damages are not as easily quantifiable in terms of money.
The amount of compensation to which you may be entitled will vary depending on the severity of the injury, any financial losses associated with the injury, and other factors.
(a) Pecuniary (Special) Damages
Pecuniary damages include the losses or expenses that you have incurred up to the date of trial, including:
- Medical expenses which you have paid out-of-pocket for which you have a receipt, such as chiropractic or massage therapy costs, an ambulance bill, and pain medications;
- Income that you have lost due to your injuries sustained in the accident;
- Assistance with housekeeping, yard work, and self-care while you are recovering from your injuries.
Pecuniary damages also include your medical and rehabilitation needs and associated costs that you may require and incur in the future, future loss of earnings, and future housekeeping expenses.
(b) Non-Pecuniary (General) Damages
Non-pecuniary damages are intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering arising from your injuries sustained in an accident, including:
- Physical and/or psychological pain and suffering that you have endured because of an accident;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of amenities.
If you sustain minor injuries in a motor vehicle accident, your general damages for pain and suffering may be capped by the provisions of the Alberta Minor Injury Regulation (“MIR”). This means that the damages for pain and suffering due to this type of injury in a motor vehicle accident are limited (capped) by the government at the amount set each year under the Alberta MIR. Effective January 1, 2023, the maximum minor injury amount is $5,817.00.
The MIR is intended to cap the amount of damages payable for minor injuries initially defined as a sprain, strain, or whiplash-associated disorder (“WAD”) that does not result in serious impairment.
Effective November 1, 2020, the meaning of “minor injury” was expanded and redefined as sprains, strains or WAD injuries “caused by the accident that does not result in a serious impairment and includes, in respect of a sprain, strain or WAD injury that occurs on or after November 1, 2020, any clinically associated sequelae of the sprain, strain or WAD injury, whether physical or psychological in nature, caused by the accident that does not result in a serious impairment.”
A “serious impairment” means that you can no longer perform the essential tasks of your employment, or of an education or training program, or other normal activities of daily life, and this has been ongoing since the accident, and is not expected to “improve substantially.”
A “sequela” means a condition that results from a prior disease, injury, or attack.
The minor injury cap does not limit your ability to claim other types of damages such as loss of income, cost of care, loss of housekeeping capacity, and/or out-of-pocket expenses.
The cap also does not apply to injuries sustained in accidents that are not motor vehicle accidents, such as slip-and-falls, trip-and-falls, occupier’s liability, social host liability, commercial host liability, and/or assaults.
The experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Main Street Law LLP will assess your claim carefully and vigorously argue that your Personal Injury claim is not capped if the facts justify such a claim. Our Personal Injury Lawyers will ensure that you obtain the treatment that you need so that your medical reporting will accurately reflect the nature and extent of your injuries.
(2) Punitive Damages
Punitive (or exemplary) damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and to deter the wrongdoer and others from engaging in unlawful conduct in the future. Punitive damages are rare and awarded only in the most exceptional cases involving conduct that is of a harsh, vindictive, reprehensible, and malicious nature.
How can the Main Street Law LLP Personal Injury Law Lawyers help you?
Whether your accident happened in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, Brazeau County, Lac. Ste. Anne County, Yellowhead County, Onoway, Acheson, Devon, Barrhead, Edmonton, Calgary, Edson, Hinton, or Drayton Valley, our Personal Injury Lawyers will ensure that your claims for Damages are properly documented and calculated to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Initial consultations are no cost and no obligation, and we take claims on contingency (percentage rates). Please book your no-obligation consultation today so that the skilled and experienced Personal Injury Lawyers may assist you in the following important aspects of your case:
- identifying and analyzing whether any liability or responsibility risks exist with respect to your claim;
- identifying, quantifying, and maximizing all aspects of damages to which you may be entitled;
- eliminating risk that you will disclose harmful information to the insurer;
- assisting you in understanding, calculating, and maximizing your claim;
- ensuring that you understand, apply for, and obtain all the no fault disability and accident benefits that you are entitled to;
- reducing the stress and aggravation of dealing with a process that you do not understand and that at times can be overwhelming.
- preparing Court documents and taking your case through the Court system if the insurance company is unfair or unreasonable.
Please be advised that this article was prepared by Tarryn Klapper, Personal Injury Law Lawyer with Main Street Law LLP in Spruce Grove in June of 2023. This article is intended as a general overview and general information on a legal subject as the law exists at the time of writing and is not intended to be legal advice. Often the specific facts of your legal matter may change or impact the applicability of this information. For legal advice related specifically to the facts of your concern, please consult with any of the Personal Injury Law Lawyers at Main Street Law LLP at any of our Spruce Grove, Edmonton, or Drayton Valley locations.