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What Is A Reasonable Settlement For Pain And Suffering?


The average settlement for the pain and suffering caused by a motor vehicle accident, which is the most common tort claim in Ontario, is $120,000. Given how difficult it is to determine the extent of pain and suffering endured as a result of a personal injury event, $120,000 would be a reasonable settlement to achieve. 


However, with over 97% of settlements agreed out of court, there isn’t enough data to work out a more reliable average of what settlement amount to expect. This underlines why it is so important to engage an experienced personal injury lawyer before making a claim for damages. 


A good lawyer will review your case and give a more qualified estimation for what would be a reasonable settlement claim. In fact, it is crucial to engage a lawyer soon after the injury event so they can advise on the evidence you will need to provide for your claim to succeed. Your claim will die and succeed on the strength of the medical and treatment evidence you can present at trial.


Court Awards For Pain And Suffering Are Capped in Canada

Since 1978, court awards for pain and suffering have been capped in Canada. The cap places a limit on how much a judge can award you for non-pecuniary damages, which are commonly referred to as ‘pain and suffering’. In today’s money, that maximum award would be in the region of $350,000.


The outcome of the so-called Trilogy cases, the Supreme Court set the maximum amount that can be awarded for pain and suffering at $100,000, which has been inflation-adjusted ever since. That said, judges rarely award the maximum amount for pain and suffering.


It is only in the case of extreme accidents, like where you lose limbs or brain function, that a judge may award the maximum amount or more in damages. By implication, you are unlikely to get an out-of-court settlement offer of more than $350,000 or anywhere near that amount if you went that route. 



Pain And Suffering Damages Are Hard To Determine


While medical expenses and lost income can easily be listed and tallied up, the amount of pain and suffering one suffers after an accident event is hard to measure. Without a reliable scientific formula, assessment is subjective. 


Looking at what falls under pain and suffering in terms of personal injury law, it is clear why it is hard to come up with a scientific formula to quantify it. How do you measure,


  • emotional distress, 
  • loss of competitive advantage at work, 
  • anxiety, 
  • physical pain, or 
  • loss of enjoyment of life? 


Even harder, how do you put a financial value on each of those damages, seeing as they are so highly personal?


What a judge awards for non-pecuniary damages will depend on what you produce as evidence of the injury that you claim caused you the pain and suffering. Doctors’ reports, X-rays, scans of the injuries suffered, and the medications your doctor prescribed to manage your physical or psychological pain are some of the evidence you can present to the judge.

The Multiplier Method


Whether or not there is a reliable scientific formula for calculating pain and suffering, you would expect insurance companies to come up with one. Their success as businesses depends on their ability to predict and control expenses, and personal injury claims are a huge one for them.


One method insurance companies use to calculate damages is known as the multiplier method. Not nearly scientific, this method multiplies the total expenses that you have incurred as a result of your injuries – for example, doctor’s fees and medication – by any number between 1 and 5.


How the insurance company determines what multiplier to use in your case is entirely subjective. They will use factors like your likeability, criminal record, and how consistent your testimony has been. 


So if you have been difficult in the negotiations, for example, you are less likable in their eyes. They can just decide to use a low multiplier and no law exists that would stop them.


Factors that Can Hurt Your Chances For A Good Settlement


Forget that pain and suffering settlement awards are subjective, there are factors that can reduce your chances of success in a personal injury case. Insurance companies will be looking for any evidence to prove that your own actions may have contributed to your injuries or their severity. 


For example, if there is proof you had taken drugs prior to the accident event, your chances of succeeding with your claim drop by as much as 45%. Just as damaging is proof that you were not wearing your seatbelt or a helmet at the time of the accident. Add this to the stress of having your personal life publicly scrutinized during the trial and you see why so many of these cases are settled out of court.


Engage An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer As Soon As Possible


We cannot overstate the importance of engaging a good personal injury lawyer early in the claims process. Your chances of success depend on it. While you may not decide to pursue a claim for damages after the accident, the actions you take may determine your chances of success if ever you decide to in the future. 

You deserve compensation for the pain and suffering you or your loved one have suffered. Let a personal injury lawyer from our law firm help you assess your legal options so you can get the settlement you deserve. Get started with your claim for damages here.


Personal Injury Law – What Is It, When Should You Sue?


Life can be very unpredictable. One minute you can be cheerfully going about your day, working a great job and enjoying a great life, and the next you are facing an uncertain future after an injury on your body, mental health, or reputation. 


In that one moment, everything changes. If it’s a physical injury, you maybe unable to work for a while, which threatens your livelihood. The physical pain from the injury will also take a toll on your mental health. The effect on your ability to earn may also be the same if its your reputation that’s been tarnished.


What Is Personal Injury?


In terms of the law, personal injury refers to any harm done to your body, mind, emotions, or reputation. It does not include damage to personal property. 


The most common personal injuries are those caused by car accidents. But personal injuries can also be the result of a slip and fall accident caused by a wet floor, use or consumption of defective products, or medical malpractice, among many other instances. 


It is the duty of personal injury lawyer to restore the affected party to the position they would be in if the personal injury event had not occurred. The law is there to make you economically whole again so you can proceed with your life. 


Put another way, the goal of personal injury law is to fully restore you from the effects of another person’s negligent acts. Negligence is essentially a failure to exercise a standard of care towards someone, causing them injury. Compensation from the resultant injury is based on your status before the accident, precisely how the injury affected your job or business.


What Should You Do After A Personal Injury Event?


Unfortunately, many people are unsure of what their rights are and what they are entitled to in personal injury cases. This lack of awareness of personal injury law leads to a general reluctance to sue after a person is hurt in an accident.


Many people are worried about the expense of hiring a personal injury lawyer. Some aren’t sure if they are entitled to any form of compensation if it turns out that they caused the accident in the first place.


In other cases people are generally aware of their rights under personal injury law. However, their cases don’t produce the expected results because of certain actions and procedures they neglected at the time of the accident. 


It is critical that you collect as much evidence at the time and scene of the accident to bolster your chances of succeeding with a personal injury lawsuit. Pictures, objects and other physical evidence from the scene of the accident, as well as eyewitness accounts can all prove to be instrumental in court.


Why You Should Never be Reluctant To Get Legal Help


You always have a fair chance of compensation in a personal injury law case. In a car accident, you can get accident benefits from your own insurance company for injuries you caused. So it is always in your best interests to seek qualified legal help after a personal injury event. 


A lawyer will help you explore your rights and options and help you get the compensation due to you. But you will need to engage them early for the best chances of success. Many times, after an accident you are not in the right frame of mind and physical state to drive the lawsuit on your own.


If you are worried about legal costs, it is also important to note that getting legal help in personal injury cases will not cost you anything. At least not directly. Personal injury lawyers will only collect payment if you succeed with your compensation claim. 


The amount of the attorney’s payment is in most cases a percentage of the awarded compensation amount. So, the lawyer is just as motivated as you are to get you the best compensation possible. However, you should hire a lawyer you can trust and who will advocate for your cause in a competent manner.


De Sa Legal are personal injury law attorneys serving the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. We have the experience to help you get a quick solution and compensation for your personal injury cases. Contact us here for a free consultation. 

The information provided herein is a general background of personal injury law concepts, does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.