Fair Compensation For Your Injuries
When you are injured through the fault of others, you have a fundamental right to compensation. The law seeks to restore you, as much as it is humanly possible to the status you enjoyed before you were injured.
Lawyers, judges and insurance adjusters use certain terms to describe the different types of compensation available. This article focuses on how those terms are used in the Province of British Columbia Canada.
In some Canadian Provinces (including B. C.) and in many American States, laws (sometimes called 'No Fault Legislation') have taken away or limited your right to recover your losses and expenses from the people, companies and governments who injured you. All the damages discussed in this article may not be available in the jurisdiction in which you live.
There are strict time limits for bringing most claims. Some expire within days or weeks of an incident. If you miss a limitation, you may be forever barred from recovering compensation. So never hesitate when it comes to finding out about and enforcing your legal rights.
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice. Before proceeding, click here to read our Disclaimer. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured, consider discussing your case with an experienced personal injury attorney now.
TIP: The Supreme Court of Canada has set what it calls the 'rough upper limit' for non-pecuniary damages - pain and suffering - in catastrophic cases involving quadriplegia and serious brain damage. As of December, 1998, the upper limit was approximately $260,000. If your injuries are less serious you may get proportionately less.
If you are self-employed or unemployed at the time of the accident or lost a promotion while you were disabled, testimonials from witnesses can help prove past wage loss which is not obvious from your pay stubs and tax returns.
In many cases, you may be entitled to full compensation based on your gross income without deduction for income tax, unemployment insurance premiums, or other payroll deductions. Be wary of insurance adjusters who try to calculate your loss based on your net pay.
Many 'collateral benefits' like employment insurance, disability benefits and Canada Pension payments are also not deductible from most claims. This is a very complicated area of the law. and you should not attempt this without professional help.
Permanent injuries may continue to interfere with your ability to work and earn income for the rest of your working life. You are entitled to compensation for that loss, even if you returned to work before the settlement and your lingering injuries seem minor.
Opportunities to pursue certain career choices or promotions may be delayed or compromised by any disability. It is not necessary to prove that you are certain to lose income or opportunity, only that it is 'reasonably possible.'
TIP: If your injuries have not fully healed, you may have a future wage loss claim. A report from an expert economist or actuary is essential to help you prove it. The economist will first project your losses through your entire working career and then calculate the 'present value' of the loss.
In serious cases this can include making a house, vehicle and workplace fully accessible. It can also include all the nursing care necessary to allow independent living, no matter how serious your disability.
Future care may also include the cost of medications, chiropractic, physiotherapy, counseling, home and workplace modifications, retraining, and any other expenses which will help you get on with your life.
Compensation for loss of housekeeping capacity has only recently been recognized in many jurisdictions including British Columbia. This compensation recognizes the economic value of thousands of hours of unpaid domestic work done each year in Canadian homes largely by women.
TIP: Most insurance companies will resist this claim vigorously. Adjusters will not offer compensation for loss of housekeeping capacity. If you have lost the ability to do your normal household tasks and to maintain your home, consider getting legal advice.
TIP: A family member who quits a high-paying job to nurse an injured spouse, can not recover lost salary. Compensation is limited to what the service would have cost on the open market, in this case what it would have cost to hire a nurse to care for your spouse.
Special Damages include compensation for prescription and over-the-counter drugs, damaged clothes, broken glasses, personal property destroyed in the accident, car rentals, homemakers, dental bills, babysitters, mileage and a host of other expenses
Punitive and exemplary damages are directed not at compensating you but rather punishing the defendant for particularly blameworthy behaviour. They are meant to deter the defendant and others from indulging in similar acts again.
TIP : Objectivity is hard to maintain when you have been the victim of this kind of conduct. If you feel the circumstances of your case justify punitive, aggravated or exemplary damages, seek legal advice. Experienced personal injury attorneys are trained to be objective.
If you have a question or wish to find out how we can work with you to recover your losses and achieve fair compensation for your injuries, click here to fill out our free Personal Injury Evaluator or press here to contact us by e-mail. We can help.