Personal Injury Cases: Simple Guide to Types of Damages

If you’re a victim in a personal injury case in Ontario and have suffered property damage, an injury, or another type of loss, you may seek compensation from the defendant. The legal term for compensation of this kind is ‘damages’ and comprises two categories: compensatory and punitive. These refer to the amount of money awarded to the injured party.

While there are various types of compensatory damages, they are typically broken down into two categories: general and special damages, which are commonly known as economic and non-economic damages. The compensation seeks to reimburse an injured party for grievances they may be suffering; these are applicable in most personal injury cases, from medical malpractice and auto accidents to slip & fall cases. One may also seek compensatory damages in case of a wrongful death claim, but the compensation in such instances is unique and cannot be found in other types of claims.

Let’s examine the different types of damages victims may receive in  a personal injury lawsuit.

General and Special Damages in a Personal Injury Case

Here are the different types of damages available in personal injury cases.

Different Types of Personal Injury Damage Claims

General Damages

General damages, also referred to as non-economic damages, are intended to pay for losses that aren’t monetary. However, these types of damages are typically more difficult to calculate as they cover mental and physical harms. Some of the most common general damages are:

1. Pain and Suffering

Typically, victims are entitled to receive compensation for physical pain and suffering they have endured and will most likely continue to suffer due to the personal injury.

Any ongoing pain may be included in your compensation claim. Generally speaking, the more severe the injury, the higher the degree of the victim’s pain and suffering. So, they are also liable to receive a greater amount of compensation. Injuries that aren’t too serious will result in lower compensation.

2. Loss of Consortium/Companionship

In the event of personal injury, the victim’s loved ones are affected too, often leading to the loss of companionship. Plaintiffs can seek compensation for the accident’s impact. If you have sustained an injury that results in a loss of companionship, you may be eligible for compensation. This is known as ‘loss of consortium’ and includes the loss of any of the following:

  • Companionship
  • Affection
  • Comfort
  • Sexual relations
  • Inability to bear children

Each accident is different, as are the losses sustained. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and get you closer to a claim that is suitable for your circumstances.

3. Emotional Distress

Victims may also be entitled to receive compensation for emotional distress caused by their injury. Whether your accident has had negative psychological effects or caused mental anguish along with physical discomfort or pain, you can claim suitable damages. A few signs of emotional distress can be expressed by:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Sleep Loss
  • Stress

Some provinces also take emotional distress into account when considering pain and suffering damages in personal injury cases.

Special Damages

These types of damages aim to compensate an injured victim for losses they may suffer because of the defendant’s actions. They are out-of-pocket expenses that are determined by calculating the plaintiff’s quantifiable financial losses. However, such losses need to be verified with specificity.

Types of special damages include:

1. Loss of Earning Capacity and Wages

If you have suffered injuries that prevent you from earning a living for yourself either permanently or for a long period of time, you can ask for compensation. If you are unable to work after the accident, calculate the days you have missed work and how much you would have been paid in that time. The different sources of income you can include in this are:

  • Wages
  • First, second, and third jobs
  • Bonuses
  • Tips
  • Retirement contributions
  • Commissions
  • Perks offered by your company (such as company car or cell phone)

You can also use your tax returns, pay stubs, and a letter from your employer to verify how much you were making before the accident to help with your personal injury claim.

2. Medical Expenses

Victims of personal injury often sustain long- or short-term injuries that require medical attention. Fortunately, both future and current medical expenses for those injuries can be taken into account when filing a compensation claim. However, victims should be careful not to mistake their emergency room bills as medical losses.

For instance, if you require physical therapy, the bills will be counted. Additionally, any follow-up appointments for long-term care plans and the bills associated with those count too. Here are some other types of medical losses you may include in your compensation request:

  • Medication
  • Emergency care
  • Treatment supplies such as braces, wraps, and band-aids
  • Urgent care
  • Mobility devices
  • Diagnostic expenses
  • Rehabilitative costs
  • Home health care costs
  • Surgery costs
  • Physical therapy

It’s important to remember that you can also recover some of the damages from your health insurance provider if you have accident-related coverage.

3. Property Loss/Damage

If during the accident any personal property was lost or damaged, you will be entitled to receive compensation for replacement and repairs. This type of loss commonly occurs in the event of auto accidents and slip & falls.

When dealing with a personal injury case, the victim can seek both general and special damages as the injuries can be accompanied by suffering and pain, along with medical expenses. In the aftermath of an accident, it’s vital that you contact a personal injury lawyer who can help you maximize the value of your claims. They can also give you details regarding your personal injury claim and legal advice.