“What is my personal injury case worth?”
This is perhaps the most common question our Toronto personal injury lawyers are confronted with at the onset of the client-lawyer relationship in personal injury litigation.
The most common answer provided by lawyers to their clients will likely be “It depends…” followed by numerous contingencies in relation to the impact of the accident on various aspects of your life which will materialize over time.
While this answer will, at first, seem to lack the certainty and clearly defined parameters you initially desired, it is an accurate assertion of the nuances and complexities involved in the valuation of damages in personal injury litigation.
A plethora of factors will determine the value of your case, and ultimately only time will tell how these factors materialize and impact your life and, therefore, the quantum of damages in your case.
Throughout the life of the lawsuit, and as time elapses, the impact of your injuries on your ability to work, your ability to complete your daily activities (including housekeeping, hobbies, caregiving obligations, social activities and recreational activities) and your care costs will become more clear, more defined, and more easily quantifiable.
Damages are divided into two categories: (1) non-pecuniary damages and (2) pecuniary damages.
Personal Injury Law (Non-Pecuniary Damages):
Non-pecuniary damages are commonly referred to as “General Damages” or “Pain and Suffering”.
General damages are designed to compensate you for your physical and mental pain and suffering resulting from your injuries. Courts have considered various factors when determining non-pecuniary awards, such as the nature of your injury, the severity and duration of your pain, your age, and your level of disability, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life.
As compared to the United States, non-pecuniary general damages are severely limited in Canada. As a result of three Supreme Court Canada decisions, known as “the trilogy”, the Court introduced a monetary limit on damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities of life.
As a result of this monetary limit, or “cap”, the most you can recover for general damages today is approximately $380,912.00 (indexed for inflation as of September 2018). It may seem unfair that the most catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, paralysis or loss of limbs, are subject to a limit on pain and suffering damages.
Personal Injury Law (Pecuniary Damages)
Pecuniary damages (or special damages) are damages that are measurable. These include past and future loss of income, past and future care costs and housekeeping expenses.
Past and Future Loss of Income
Your claim for loss of income can include past and future income.
To ensure that our clients’ past and future income loss is accurately quantified, Bogoroch & Associates LLP retains leading actuaries and accountants to prepare income loss reports that account for various factors which impact your future loss of income including, but not limited to, retirement age, market trends, inflation, promotions/advancements, disabilities, loss of competitive advantage and collateral benefits.
Bogoroch & Associates LLP, Toronto personal injury lawyers, also retains vocational and medical experts to provide a medical-legal expert opinion in regard to your ability to work in light of your accident related injuries.
Past and Future Care Costs & Housekeeping Expenses
Your claim for care costs can include past and future care costs such as the cost of medical and professional services or equipment you require as a result of your injuries. You must demonstrate what future care costs you will incur as a result of your injury. Housekeeping and home maintenance can also be a significant part of your everyday life and therefore is a recoverable loss.
Bogoroch & Associates LLP retains Occupational Therapists to complete thorough assessments and detailed reports outlining your past and future care needs, Their recommendations are subsequently quantified by an accounting firm, which Bogoroch & Associates LLP also retains.
Bogoroch & Associates LLP diligently requests your medical records from all treating health care practitioners to ensure that your claim for past and future care costs is substantiated. We also retain vocational and medical experts to opine on your prognosis and respective treatment and devices you require as a result of your accident related injuries.
For more information about working with our Toronto personal injury lawyers, please contact us for a consultation. Though Toronto based, we provide legal services across Canada.