Is There A Cap On The Amount Of Injury Compensation I Am Entitled To?
In a personal injury claim, whether your claim arises as a result of a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall or some other unfortunate event, compensation can be pursued for things like pain and suffering (and loss of enjoyment of life), past and future loss of earnings, cost of future medical care, household assistance in the past and future, as well as out of pocket expenses. In addition, people who have provided you with assistance while injured can be awarded reasonable compensation in what is known as an “in trust” claim.
As a personal injury lawyer I often get asked by my clients very early on in the claim process what their claim is worth. At the early stages it is almost impossible to answer this question because many of the areas of compensation cannot be determined while injuries are ongoing. Furthermore, there are, generally speaking, no limits on the amount of compensation that can be pursued. Compensation depends on what financial losses (or financial needs) have arisen as a result of the injuries sustained. Accordingly, early on, when injuries are still ongoing, it is impossible to know that the future might hold in terms of required future care costs, future lost income, etc.
Despite this general rule, there is a sort of ‘cap’ on the amount of compensation that can be pursued for pain and suffering. The Supreme Court of Canada has created a cap on damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that is applicable to all serious personal injury claims. Taking into consideration the effects of inflation, the maximum amount a court can award for pain and suffering is, at present, around $350,000. This maximum amount is only awarded to the most catastrophically injured victims, such as those who have become quadriplegic or who have suffered severe brain damage. As a result of this cap, it is theoretically possible to give my clients a rough estimation of one portion of their claim, even if we are unable to fully determine the other areas of compensation.
There is no cap on the other areas of compensation, so in cases of serious injuries, substantial amounts can be awarded for future care costs, loss of earnings (past and future), etc.