Non-Pecuniary Damages

In the vast majority of cases where you suffer an injury that was caused by the negligence of another motorist, you are entitled to a claim for non-pecuniary damages. That is a legal term for an award of damages as a result of pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life.

In 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada capped the amount of non-pecuniary damages that you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit at $100,000 adjusted for inflation. By mid-2012, the figure is around $335,000 being the maximum recovery in Canada. Therefore, even the most severely injured person (e.g. severe brain injury with quadriplegia) only gets $335,000 for non-pecuniary damages.

As a result, the amount of non-pecuniary damages you are entitled to receive has to be assessed within the context of the maximum amount that is allowed in Canada.

The amount of non-pecuniary damages is usually determined by way of precedent. In other words, the amount that Courts have awarded for similar types of injuries in previous cases is used to judge the award for your case. The difficulty can be that other cases may have some similarities but will also have many differences. There is not always a single case that you can point to that is similar on all fronts. Therefore, the best approach is to find some similar cases and argue a range of non-pecuniary damages.

If you do not want to pursue your claim through a lawyer, the best thing to do is go to the government web site and search this judgement database to find similar cases.

The problem with finding similar cases is that they may not have an influence on ICBC if you are self-represented. ICBC, a few years back, put in place certain directives to the adjusters suggesting their own cap for mild, moderate and severe soft tissue injuries in terms of non-pecuniary damages. Naturally, the amount ICBC says these claims are worth is substantially lower than what the Courts actually award. Therefore, you should not accept ICBC’s internal directives on non-pecuniary damages at face value unless you do not want to advance your claim with the assistance of a lawyer.