01 Sep How Much Can A Canadian Court Award You for Pain and Suffering?

You may have heard of injured parties in the United States being awarded millions of dollars for injuries sustained in a car accident. Don’t expect to receive large amounts like that from our Canadian courts because we have a limit on the amount of damages that can be awarded for pain and suffering.  In Wilhelmson v. Dumma, 2017 BCSC 616, the Court awarded the maximum amount, $367,000.  The Plaintiff in that case was the sole survivor of a catastrophic collision and she suffered extensive, life-threatening injuries.

In assessing her pain and suffering damages, the Court considered the following factors.

  1. It was a miracle that the Plaintiff survived the crash. She had to be resuscitated back to life.
  2. The Plaintiff was in a medically induced coma for 25 days and spent a total of 39 days in intensive or traumatic care unit of VGH.
  3. The Plaintiff had 10 surgeries in her first month of hospitalization.
  4. One of the Plaintiff’s doctors described her spinal injury as the worst he had seen. Her prognosis for that injury was negative in terms of the chronic, permanent pain, the possibility of future surgeries and the early degenerative changes he had already begun to see.
  5. The Plaintiff had numerous complications from surgeries including repeated, serious bacterial infections requiring hospitalization, further surgery and aggressive antibiotic treatment.
  6. The Plaintiff’s abdominal injuries were devastating. Her abdomen was severely scarred and disfigured.
  7. The Plaintiff faced a likely future of complications arising from her abdominal injuries because of adhesions, including bowel obstructions which can present as a medical emergency.
  8. The Plaintiff’s clavicle injury was extremely serious.
  9. The Plaintiff will suffer chronic, permanent daily pain from her injuries.
  10. The Plaintiff has permanent “pins and needles” and loss of sensation.
  11. The Plaintiff has an aortic stent.
  12. The Plaintiff’s voice will never be the same and she is unlikely to be able to project her voice in a noisy environment.
  13. Although her hair has grown back, the Plaintiff has spots of permanent baldness.
  14. The Plaintiff suffers from moderate to severe PTSD and night-mares.
  15. The Plaintiff has panic attacks and anxiety.
  16. The Plaintiff has great difficulty sleeping. It is an understatement to say her ability to cope with difficult or traumatic events in the future is fragile.
  17. These psychological injuries make the Plaintiff more vulnerable to depression, which she has had to a severe degree.
  18. The Plaintiff has attempted suicide.
  19. The Plaintiff has difficulty concentrating, loses focuses and has trouble being organized.
  20. The Plaintiff’s injuries have robbed her of the ability to earn income by working.
  21. The love of her life died in the collision;
  22. The Plaintiff had to abort a child she wanted to carry due to the potential health complications of a pregnancy.
  23. The Plaintiff cannot safely carry a child in the future.
  24. The Plaintiff’s injuries impair the likelihood she will be able to receive financial benefit from a life partner.

The Court awarded the Plaintiff the maximum pain and suffering award in Canada: $367,000.

To read more about this case, please click this link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mikaela-wilhelmson-surrey-crash-icbc-lawsuit-4-million-settlement-surrogacy-1.4077942

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