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I am injured and I keep hearing the term “general damages.” What the heck is this?

Pain and Suffering Compensation Simply Defined by Oakville Lawyers

Heard your lawyer throw around this term? Read it online? General Damages sounds pretty boring – or general but it’s actually the money paid to you as compensation. Damages by definition is essentially the same as compensation. A leading legal dictionary defines “damages” as “every person who suffers detriment from the unlawful act or omission of another may recover from the person in fault a compensation therefor in money, which is called “damages.”

Non-pecuniary simply means an imprecise assessment of how much money is appropriate to compensate. Unlike your loss of income that can be calculated to the lost dollar, or your out-of-pocket expenses – that can be calculated precisely,non-pecuniary general damages cannot.

Non-pecuniary damages are essentially intended to compensate you for your pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life and of amenities experienced as a result of the defendant’s negligence.  They are meant to compensate for such damages suffered to the date of trial and those that you will suffer into the future.

How are these General Damages calculated?

injured man on coastIn calculating general damages our courts have told us that an award should be fair and reasonable for both parties as those concepts are measured against the adverse impact of the particular injuries on the particular plaintiff: Hunt v. Ugre.  While fairness is assessed by reference to awards made in comparable cases, because each case is decided on its own unique facts and calls for an individualized assessment, it is neither possible nor desirable to develop a “tariff”.  The process is one of assessment and is not amenable to mathematical precision.

The Judge in the case of  Stapley v. Hejslet set out a non-exhaustive list of factors to be considered in awarding damages under this head.

They include: the plaintiff’s age; the nature of the injury; the severity and duration of the pain; disability; emotional suffering; loss or impairment of life; impairment of family, marital and social relationships; impairment of physical and mental abilities; loss of lifestyle; and the plaintiff’s stoicism.

For more questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

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