I’ve been injured. What do I get compensated for?
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you are probably owed compensation. The type of compensation you get is categorized under different “heads” of damage.
One head of damage is “pecuniary pre-trial losses”. These are real financial losses you have suffered since the accident, and include any out-of-pocket expenses or loss of income you wouldn’t otherwise have had.
A second head of damage is “cost of future care”. These are estimates of how much it is going to cost you to continue to treat your injuries in the future. For example, if you require treatment for the rest of your life, you will be compensated for the cost of treatment for as long as you are likely to live. This could create problems if you live longer than expected.
A third head of damage is “loss of earning capacity”. These are estimates of how much income you would have made in the future, minus how much you are able to make now as result of the injuries. Your future income will also be reduced by the expenses you would have had to make the money. For example, if you had to commute to work before, the expense of commuting will be taken off your estimated income future income.
A fourth head of damage is “non-pecuniary”. Non-pecuniary losses are given to help alleviate your loss of enjoyment of life and provide some solace for your injuries. These are losses that can’t be calculated with receipts or spreadsheets. This isn’t really ‘compensation’, because money could never compensate you for these kinds of losses. The Supreme Court of Canada placed a $100,000 upper limit on some of the worst imaginable non-pecuniary losses in 1978 (eg. a 21 year old being made a quadriplegic, and a 4 year old being badly brain-damaged), which because of inflation is worth about $360,000 today. There are other “heads” of damage, and sub-categories under each. Calculating the dollar value of your loss can be complicated, so it is usually a good idea to get a lawyer to help you to determine what fair compensation is.