September 8, 2022 – Mary Grosso
Motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, sexual assault, medical malpractice. These terms are all industry lingo to describe different types of claims for personal injuries. If you’ve been hurt because of someone else’s actions, or inaction, the particular type of claim isn’t too important. What is important is that you’ve been hurt, physically, emotionally or economically, often all of the above. You wonder if you have a viable path to recover compensation from the person who caused that hurt.
There are a few key elements in claims of all types against another person for personal injury. More legal lingo to follow, but with some explanation.
The first element is “liability”. Liability answers the question: is the individual (or business) who you believe hurt you legally responsible for their actions or inaction? If the answer to this question is yes, then that individual or business (the “Defendant”) will be responsible for compensating you for the hurt that they have caused. There are some exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, if the Defendant hurt you either negligently or intentionally, then the law will hold them responsible for compensating you for your injuries.
Another element is “causation”. Causation answers the question: what hurt did the Defendant’s behaviour cause? Sometimes this question is easy to answer. For instance, if you fall in a hole and break your ankle, it’s pretty simple to show, just by looking at the medical records, that the fall into the hole caused your injury and likely caused you, at least for a while, to feel a lot of pain, to have trouble keeping up with your household chores and to miss work and income.
Sometimes this question calls for more complex analysis and leads to more disagreement between you and the Defendant. For example, someone might be on a leave from work for back surgery, is nearing the end of that leave, but then gets into a car accident. The car accident causes another back injury, more pain and a longer time away from work. If the person who caused the car accident is found to be liable, the person has to compensate for whatever hurt the accident caused, regardless of a complex medical history. In a case like this example, though, figuring out just what part of the back problems and missed work was caused by the accident, instead of by the earlier back injury, calls for a more in depth investigation and analysis.
The last element is “damages”. That is, when the Defendant is liable, and caused certain injuries, what is the right amount of compensation for those injuries? Losses like lost income and expenses incurred (like costs of care or medical equipment, etc.) just require a mathematical calculation. These damages can be fairly small or can be hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, depending on your particular situation.
Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life are also very real losses that people suffer when they are injured, but the proper amount of compensation for these qualitative losses is not decided by just a mathematical calculation. This compensation is based on precedent case law developed over many years. In Canada, these damages are actually capped (with very few exceptions) at just over $400,000 for even the worst life-changing injuries.
Consulting a Personal Injury Lawyer
Your experience with your injuries is unique. To find out how your particular experience fits into the elements of a claim that are described here, you’ll need to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. After assessing your situation, they’ll be able to advise you on how best to address your injuries and your questions about what happened to you.
If you have any questions or need advice or assistance with a personal injury matter, please contact Hooper Law to Book a free consultation
This blog sets out a variety of materials relating to the law to be used for educational purposes only; the author(s) of this blog do not intend the blog to be a source of legal advice. If you choose to rely on or act on any information in this blog without retaining and seeking the advice of a lawyer, you do so entirely at your own risk.