Car accident injury compensation or the amount of compensation you will receive if you are injured in a car accident is highly dependent on the severity of your injuries and the impact on your ability to work. Calculating damages, in other words, determining the amount of money you will receive for the losses you have suffered, is based on different categories or “heads” of damages. Common ranges of compensation when injured in a motor vehicle accident, are outlined below.
Car Accident Injury Compensation: Non-Pecuniary Damages
Non-pecuniary damages are those losses that are not directly quantifiable in monetary value, for example, the pain and suffering you have experienced and the loss of enjoyment of life. General damages also referred to as damages for pain and suffering, include more than just your physical injuries. General damages include the impact the accident has had on your quality of life, your relationships, and your emotional well-being.
The majority of car accident injury compensation is typically for general damages and will range depending on factors such as the severity of your injuries and whether your injuries are short-term or permanent. Other considerations include your age and whether you are likely to experience long-term health complications due to your injuries.
Maximum Compensation for Pain and Suffering
In Canada, there is a maximum on the amount of general damages you can receive, based on the Supreme Court of Canada decisions in Andrews v Grand & Toy,  2 S.C.R. 229, Thornton v School District No. 57 (Prince George) et al.,  2 S.C.R. 267, and Arnold v Teno,  2 S.C.R. 287. The amount is increased with inflation, and in 2022, is approximately $417,086.83 The maximum in general damages is typically awarded in cases involving catastrophic injuries, such as quadriplegia and severe traumatic brain injury.
The “Cap” on Minor Injuries
In Alberta, many injuries suffered in car accidents fall under the Minor Injury Regulations and the Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols. The “cap” refers to the maximum compensation that you can receive for these types of injuries. In 2004, the minor injury cap was set at $4,000 which has increased due to inflation. In 2022, the minor injury cap in Alberta is $5,488 for injuries from car accidents that occurred in Alberta on or after January 1, 2022.
The Cap does not necessarily limit other types of damages, including loss of income, loss of ability to do housekeeping, and long-term care expenses. Ensure you understand your rights and get legal advice to determine the full extent of your damages.
General damages can range from less than $5,488 to approximately $417,086.83 depending on the severity of your injuries. General damages are more often in the tens of thousands range than over $150,000, but it depends on the severity of your injuries. Read our blog here about the “cap”.
Car Accident Injury Compensation: Pecuniary Damages
Pecuniary damages refer to losses that can be quantified in monetary terms. Some examples are ambulance bills and wage loss. Compensation for wage loss is often one of the greatest concerns for accident victims. If you have had to miss work as a result of the accident or if you are not able to return to work, you may be worried about how you will be able to support yourself and your family.
Car Accident Injury Compensation: Loss of Income
The amount of compensation for loss of income is highly dependent on your employment at the time of the motor vehicle accident and before the motor vehicle accident. Some individuals are not able to return to work. Others can return to work on a gradual basis or on modified duties. The impact of injuries on work is highly individual and dependent on the type of work. Follow your doctor’s recommendations on returning to work safely.
Some individuals may have been starting post-secondary education or starting a new job, and now are unsure if they will be able to pursue their chosen career path. If you have to re-train for a less physically demanding job, you may not know if you will be able to afford to go back to school. You may not know if you will be able to get a job in another field.
For others, they are well-established in their career and had planned to work past the average retirement age but are now uncertain if they will recover from their injuries. After an accident, there may be many uncertainties for the future. Compensation for loss of income is very dependent on your unique work circumstances and is typically supported with employment and income documentation.
Loss of Housekeeping and Out of Pocket Expenses
If your ability to do the housekeeping has been limited as a result of your injuries, you may also be entitled to compensation under this category. Keep your receipts for the expenses you have had to pay out-of-pocket, as a result of the accident. As an example, expenses for medications, slings, braces, or treatment, that were not covered under your individual health benefit plan or Section B Accident Benefits.
Compensation for loss of housekeeping and yardwork is dependent on such factors as the extent of this work that the individual is no longer able to do. As an example, you may not be able to do the snow shovelling for a period of time after an accident and have to rely on family members or hire a snow shovelling service. Keep receipts and document any expenses you incur for housekeeping or yard work, as a result of your injuries in the car accident.
Car Accident Injury Compensation: Understand Your Rights
At James H. Brown & Associates, our experienced team of Accident Lawyers listen to you to understand how your injuries have impacted your life. We understand that the trauma from an accident extends far beyond your physical injuries. Get legal advice to ensure you receive fair compensation for the injuries you have suffered. We advocate for you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for the impact the accident has had on your life.