Thanks for joining me to talk about valuing a claim.
People often ask me what their claim is worth – the short answer is it depends. It depends on the extent of their injuries, it depends upon how long they’re in treatment and the extent to which they recover from their injuries
The Supreme Court of Canada about 40 years ago had three cases in front of them commonly known as the Trilogy. In those three cases, the Supreme Court said we are going to, for policy reasons, set an upper limit on the amount courts can award for pain and suffering. The amount that they set for that upper limit was $100,000. The Supreme Court said that that’s the maximum amount, no matter how serious the case is.
So, for example, an 18 year old who suffers quadriplegia and brain death could only claim a maximum amount for pain and suffering of $100,000 dollars.
With inflation that’s roughly $385,000 today.
So all cases will fall somewhere from zero to $380,000.
Generally speaking, whiplash injuries where there is ongoing chronic pain will result in damages for pain and suffering somewhere between $50,000 and $150,000. That is the range that most courts in Alberta will award for soft tissue pain and suffering that lasts beyond six months.
In order for Alberta courts to awards sums close to the upper end of that range of $150,000 for pain suffering, there needs to be an ongoing significant impact on your ability to function in your day-to-day life. If you are unable to work, do house work and have to rely significantly on others, you may be able to claim pain and suffering damages towards the top end of the range.
The bottom end of the range for chronic pain from soft tissue injuries is roughly $50,000.
Typically you’ll find people who are still able to do their normal job, but they may have difficulties doing it fully or have functional limitations in other parts of their day-to-day life.