Accidents related to cars, trucks and other motor vehicles are among the most common types of accidents that cause injury. If you have been injured in an accident involving a vehicle that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. 

This article looks at the types of damages that might be able to be claimed to compensate for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident. We also look at a recent decision of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario where a man claimed a range of different types of damages after being injured in a motor vehicle accident. The Court awarded the plaintiff $2.35 million in damages.

Claims may be settled out of court or proceed to trial

If you have been injured in an accident involving a vehicle, one of your first priorities should be to consult with a personal injury lawyer in order to fully understand your rights and ensure they are protected.

Many claims are settled outside of court or prior to trial. While this may result in receiving compensation quicker, it is possible that insurance companies, who usually end up paying for injuries in a personal injury case, will offer settlements that are less than what a client might be able to get through dispute resolution or at trial.

What types of damages can be claimed in a court case?

Sometimes a case will make its way to trial and a judge will be called upon to decide an appropriate award of damages. 

An injured party might be able to prove a range of different damages, depending on the circumstances. These include compensation for medical expenses, general damages to compensate for non-monetary aspects such as pain and suffering, and damages for loss of income.

Plaintiff was injured in a head-on collision

In Graul v Kansal, the 57-year-old plaintiff was involved in a car crash when the defendant drove head-on into the plaintiff’s car. 

The plaintiff was driving in a single line of commuter traffic on his way from Fergus to Guelph when suddenly the car in front veered to the right and left the road. The plaintiff then saw a car coming toward him and he only had time to prepare for impact to the front of his car.

The plaintiff had burns on his hands and face and was bleeding from his nose and mouth. He had abrasions on his arms. He was taken by ambulance to Guelph General Hospital and released later that day.

The plaintiff argued that he suffered a traumatic brain injury, other physical injuries and psychiatric impairments. Despite treatment since the time of the accident, he said that he has not improved and cannot return to work.

The parties disagreed about the assessment of damages

While the defendant did not admit liability, he also did not contest liability. Justice Lemon found the defendant was negligent and therefore liable for the plaintiff’s damages. The key issue was the assessment of damages, with the defendant arguing that the plaintiff’s difficulties were exaggerated.

General damages

Justice Lemon found the plaintiff entirely credible in the description of his circumstances since the accident. Before the accident, he was healthy, worked long hours in a job he liked, had a strong work ethic and did the bulk of the physical jobs around the house. 

As a result of the collision, he sustained damage to his hearing, sight, memory and balance, and is in chronic pain with cognitive deficiencies. He cannot return to the social, athletic and personal tasks he enjoyed, nor work. His relationships have been harmed, he cannot drive for long periods and his future plans have been destroyed without his income.

His Honour sought to assess an amount to restore the plaintiff to the position he would have enjoyed, but for the accident, to the extent, that money can do so. Based on the case law awards where plaintiffs have suffered significant brain injuries but have moderate functionality, his Honour awarded general damages of $225,000.

Past lost wages

After considering expert forensic accounting evidence, Justice Lemon awarded approximately $75,000 for past lost income. His Honour approved of the expert’s methodology, which involved calculating the income loss commencing seven days after the accident, at 70% of his gross income, to the date of trial, less an amount received from disability and income replacement benefits. He used an average income for the two years prior to the accident.

Future lost income

In assessing future lost income, Justice Lemon considered when the plaintiff would have retired but for the accident. He agreed with the plaintiff that he would have remained employed with the City of Guelph, his employer for the 19 years prior to the accident, until age 70.

As a result, his Honour awarded almost $1.3 million for future lost income. This calculation was arrived at by factoring in inflation, but not any increases for promotion or pay rises.

Future care needs

The medical evidence confirmed that the plaintiff will need a lot of assistance to carry on with his life. The plaintiff provided evidence of a range of needs and their costs. 

Justice Lemon awarded specific amounts for services including counselling, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pain management, a lifetime transportation allowance, 20 hours per month of attendant care assistance, housekeeping assistance of four hours per week, outdoor maintenance assistance for gardening and snow shovelling, and five hours a month of handyman assistance. Further amounts were awarded for assistive devices, hearing aids and vision therapy.

This added up to approximately $735,000, with prices adjusted to convert future costs to a present value. 

Contact Tierney Stauffer LLP for a Free Consultation Regarding Your Motor Vehicle Accident

At Tierney Stauffer LLP, we provide effective legal representation for motor vehicle accident victims in Ontario, tailored to the individual needs of each client. We can help you make decisions about what to do following your car accident and develop a strategy to seek compensation. We have many years of experience in analyzing the factors of each case in order to determine the appropriate course of action for your case. Contact us at 1-888-799-8057 or reach out online to book a consultation with one of our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers.

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