Truck Accidents - Calculating Damages
There are a lot of factors that go into calculating damages after a Toronto truck accident. There is case law that provides some indication as to what the range is for what would be reasonable under the person’s circumstances, but each case has to be analyzed on a case by case basis.
When calculating damages after a Toronto truck accident, in order to give a pain and suffering award and other varying awards, a contextual and a holistic approach must be applied. An analysis of the victim’s life pre-accident and how the injury affected their life post-accident is essential. A skilled accident lawyer is an essential help in the process of determining and calculating accident damages available to someone.
Damages Calculated for Pain and Suffering
When calculating pain and suffering damages in a Toronto truck accident case, a person has to look at factors like how long that injury is going to affect them. For instance, a 30-year-old that has a very serious injury would receive more money in pain and suffering than an 85-year-old because the theory would go that the 30-year-old will have a lot longer to live with the impairment than the 85-year-old. A younger person would likely have to have more surgeries or more problems in the future and have more restrictions, and as a result of it, the pain and suffering award would be more substantial than somebody who is older.
Pain and suffering awards also have to be viewed in the context of what was the person’s health like before the accident. The law says that a person has to take each plaintiff or victim as they come. However, the insurance company will always argue that a person’s current disability or impairment would have arisen irrespective of the accident because they had substantial problems in the past.
The calculation of pain and suffering damages following an accident in Toronto is highly complex, which is why a person needs a competent lawyer that is familiar with accident claims and how to value pain and suffering claims.
Awarding Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are largely inapplicable in Toronto and are rarely awarded even when claimed. Punitive damages are considered a separate type of damages. Punitive damages are reserved for the most reprehensible conduct in Ontario. The decision from the Supreme Court of Canada called Whitten vs. Pilot Insurance set out a maximum of $1,000,000 that can be awarded, but only in the most egregious circumstances.
Often, in truck accident claims, a punitive award would be made if the driver’s conduct was extremely reprehensible. For instance, if the driver was operating the vehicle while intoxicated or had been using opioids or other prescription medications, and was effectively operating their vehicle when it was unsafe to do so, and if that driver had multiple sanctions against them and multiple findings but continued to operate the vehicle without a license and other reprehensible conduct, a judge or jury may find their conduct warrants a punitive award.
The purpose of a punitive award is to send a message to the driver and the community that this type of conduct will not be tolerated. In many cases, when punitive awards are rendered, they are often nominal at best, namely $25,000, $50,000, or even $100,000. The $1,000,000 cap is an exception and is rarely awarded.
Benefit of a Lawyer
If you have been in an accident and want help knowing the process of calculating your damages after a Toronto truck accident, seek the legal counsel of a local personal injury lawyer. A competent lawyer can help quantify pain and suffering claims and can help build the person’s pain and suffering claim by retaining the correct doctors to opine on what the future holds for the person and what is their prognosis and how that injury and prognosis will affect the person’s ability to work and the person’s ability to do go about their day-to-day activities.