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I’m often asked “what is the ‘value’ of my injuries”. At the outset of your claim, this is virtually impossible to determine. Anyone who tells you otherwise simply does not know what they are talking about. The reason for this is that the ‘value’ of your claim will depend upon the extent of your injuries, the length of treatment required, the involvement of specialist medical intervention, the loss of income (both past and future), the loss of earning capacity (if the loss of future income cannot be calculated easily), the cost of future care, and cost/expenses that you have and will suffer into the future.

Having said that, there is one number that we can identify as the ‘upper limit’ of damages for pain and suffering (also known as ‘general damages’). That is because the Supreme Court of Canada had three decisions rendered at the same time (known as ‘the Trilogy’) that placed an upper limit on what courts in Canada are allowed to award for pain and suffering. That amount was set at $100,000. The Trilogy of cases came out in 1978 and with inflation the upper limit is currently roughly $370,000. Obviously this amount would only be awarded in the most serious of cases involving brain injury, quadriplegia and very serious disablement of the individual.

Basically what a good personal injury lawyer should be able to do is assess your claim and negotiate (or take to trial) a general damages (remember this does not include loss of income or future care) somewhere between $0 and $370,000 depending upon the extent of your injuries and all of the other factors listed above.

In Alberta, I was counsel on the highest award for a soft tissue ‘chronic pain’ general damages. That was an award of $115,000 (approximately $135,000 in current 2018 dollars). This case can be found here: Russell v. Turcott, 2009 ABQB 19 (CanLII)

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