General Damages – How Do Courts Assess Dollars For Lost Health?

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General Damages – How Do Courts Assess Dollars For Lost Health?

It is trite to say that money cannot replace lost health. But when you are an innocent victim and you go to court to sue for injuries the only thing the court can award you is a judgment for money, therefore the court must make some assessment of how much money should be awarded for various types of injuries. In doing this the court does have guidance from general principles that have been outlined in numerous cases, so there are principles or factors that are routinely considered and applied to the particular facts of a case, those factors are as follows:

a) Age of the Plaintiff;
b) Nature of the injury;
c) Severity and duration of pain;
d) Nature and extent of resulting physical and mental disability;
e) Emotional suffering;
f) Impairment of life including family, marital and social relationships; and
g) Loss of lifestyle.

At the end of the day this is a subjective exercise but the court does also look at similar injuries in other cases as “precedents”, as they are known in legal terminology, for guidance. Case precedents from courts of the same level as the your case are not binding but are persuasive on the court. As well, one factor not listed above which in our experience is an important factor is the amount of treatment, this is especially true in cases of subjective pain or a case where there is not an objective medical test to prove the problem, thus credibility is an issue when the plaintiff innocent victim says he or she has ongoing pain and one factor a court can look to is the amount of treatment he or she has received over the years. A person who is not truly suffering is not likely going to regularly take the time, energy and money to incur medical treatment costs if they are not truly suffering. Therefore, an additional factor to look at is the amount of medical treatment and this should be documented by an injury lawyer as a routine part of the case.

By | 2017-07-14T18:17:03+00:00 June 13th, 2014|Personal Injury Claims and Damages|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Brent Handel, J.D., Q.C. is the head of the Personal Injury and Fatal Accident Group at Handel Law Firm.

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