When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, or a slip and fall, you can be compensated for losses related to your injury. Losses are generally thought of as reimbursement for expenses (think of medical costs, lost wages, or other out of pocket expenses), but you can also be paid for things like pain and suffering, or your inability to do chores around the house.
This article will explore the most common things you can be paid for (also known as “heads of damage”). But don’t worry, PainWorth can do all the math for you.
These heads of damage are generally awarded by a court, or through negotiation with the at-fault person or business. Generally, you will be compensated by an insurance company for sections of benefits, rather than heads of damage, even though there can be an overlap between the two.
There are two broad categories that courts separate damages into – non- pecuniary and pecuniary:
Also known as general damages or “pain & suffering”, these damages are awarded for the loss of enjoyment of life due to injuries from an accident. They are famously difficult to calculate, so generally, courts and insurance professionals try to value pain and suffering using imprecise methods.
We use technological magic to match your case to Canadian cases like yours. Our system applies a variety of statistical wizardry to decide the estimated value of your case based on hundreds of factors.
There is a maximum cap on pain and suffering set by the Canadian Supreme Court, at $100K in 1978, adjusted for inflation each year – meaning that it’s capped at over $415,000 today. The Supreme Court cases do allow for higher compensation to be paid in special circumstances, usually for injuries that are the result of someone’s intentional action.
It’s important to understand that Canada isn’t like the United States. You will rarely see multi-million pain and suffering awards! In fact, most of the time a personal injury judgement exceeds $500,000 it’s because of the Pecuniary damages adding up.
There are several categories of Pecuniary Damages, most of which break into past losses (the date you agree to a settlement or appear in court) and future losses (when your losses continue past settlement or court date).
Cost of care includes the cost of medical and wellness expenses to date, resulting from the accident. This can include transportation cost, like traveling to and from the hospital for ongoing visits., This provides coverage whether you travel by private car, taxi, bus, or train. In Canada, ambulance rides may be paid for out of pocket and would fall under cost of care, even though many insurance policies cover these costs. Cost of care is calculated by simply adding up receipts and bills for all the medical and paramedical costs related to your injury.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be owed future cost of care, or cost of future care damages. These cover future estimated medical expenses necessary to sustain the your mental and physical health. Examples include physical arrangements for assistance, equipment and facilities directly related to the injuries, attendant care, transportation cost, as well as medical equipment and accessories needed in the future.
Whenever future costs are calculated, injury severity and life span are usually taken into account. Some courts look at date of birth, date of trial/ settlement date, future cost of care report, costs incurred beforere date, receipts, and dates of purchase, among other factors.
Damages for loss of income are calculated based on what you would have earned up to the date of trial had the injury not occurred. This includes the sum of all lost wages as a result of the accident, including used sick/personal days, vacation time, and diminished hours. Loss of income calculations usually need certain assumptions to be made, though most assessments are decided using your actual pre-injury earnings.
In cases involving loss of commission based income, the calculation will factor pre-accident commissions over a given period, pre-accident performance, performance of comparable commissioned salespersons, and more. Proving loss of income is often supported by presenting your tax returns, or other proof of recent employment.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be owed future lost income damages, which include ongoing projected or future lost wages as a result of the injury. You can be paid for the income you would have earned in the future had the accident not happened. If you weren't working at the time of trial, courts estimate when you will likely return to work. They will grant an award based on the present-day value of that estimated loss.
Loss of housekeeping damages are paid for costs related to not being able to clean and maintain your home and property, as a result of the incident. For these purposes, not doing it at all or hiring someone else to do it are viewed as the same thing. For example, housekeeping can include cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, yard work and house maintenance. It also includes taking care of children, and all of the associated costs for all of these – whether you pay someone, or are simply unable as a result of the accident.
This is because housekeeping services have economic value for which an injured party should be compensated, regardless of where those services are replaced from. Even if somebody volunteers to complete these services for you, free of charge, during your injury, you are still entitled to replacement costs.
In order to offer proper evidence, it is smart to make a list of every household activity that you do and struggle with as a result of the accident, any current medical reports that comment on your ability to do those activities, and occupational/ functional therapy reports testing your residual housekeeping capacity. Note when you have had issues with specific tasks.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be owed future loss of housekeeping damages. The ongoing, projected costs for not being able to clean and maintain your home and property in the future. For future losses, keep in mind the age limits involved. As people get older, their abilities to do these tasks will decline. Much like measuring housekeeping capacity, but projected and adjusted for inflation and lifespan.
If your personal property was damaged in the incident, you could claim the actual cost of repairing or replacing it. This can include your automobile, your phones, glasses, clothes, and more. Many auto insurance policies cover the cost to repair damaged property and other miscellaneous items related to your injury. These damages are most often calculated by either predicting the cost to repair or replace the items, or paying you for the actual cost you paid to repair or replace the items. Receipts and billing evidence are especially helpful here.
The heads of damage listed above are the most common, and those which PainWorth is especially helpful in estimating. That said, depending on your province, there may be dozens more types of damage you may be owed. These include punitive damages, aggravated damages, loss of consortium damages, in trust damages, loss of marriageability damages, loss of fertility damages and more.
Finally, remember that, for all damage, you must collect and provide evidence. If you can’t prove it, you can’t claim it. Be sure to document everything by keeping journals, receipts, communications related to your claims, photos, etc.
PainWorth is an innovative platform that uses machine learning to automate the bodily injury claims settlement process. PainWorth is the easiest way for personal injury claimants and insurance industry professionals to calculate the value of bodily injuries and settle claims faster.
To learn more about what your bodily injury claim might be worth, try PainWorth for free today!