Personal Injury Law – Assessment of Damages
A victim of personal injury may be entitled to compensation for the following losses.
- Pain, Suffering and Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Past Loss of Income
- Past cost of treatment
- Future Impairment of Income-Earning Capacity
- Future cost of treatment
- Loss of domestic capacity
- Expenses for family, friends and others rendering assistance
- Money Management Fees
- Prejudgment Interest
- Court costs
The first step in the assessment of damages is the assessment of fault. If the accident is 100% the Defendant’s fault, then the victim of personal injury will receive 100% of his losses. But if the accident is only 75% the Defendant’s fault, then the victim of personal injury will receive only 75% of his losses.
Even if the accident is 100% the Defendant’s fault, the Defendant’s insurance company, such as ICBC, may refuse to pay compensation to the victim of personal injury, on the pretext that the damage to the victim’s car was not enough to cause injury. This is known as their low velocity impact or LVI policy. This policy is not accepted by the courts, who normally award damages to the victim of personal injury, provided that he or she is credible. However, the application of the LVI policy does often mean that the case must be taken to trial, and this does discourage a number of personal injury victims from recovering their losses. The case may be taken out of the LVI policy, and settled with ICBC prior to trial, if it is shown by way of medical evidence that the personal injury victim had objective signs of injury or a pre-existing medical condition that was aggravated by the car accident. The LVI policy may also cease to apply if it shown that the Defendant’s vehicle has sustained damage in the car accident, that is in excess of the LVI guidelines.
Even if the car accident is 100% the Defendant’s fault, and the vehicle damage is in excess of the LVI guidelines, the victim of personal injury may not receive 100% of his losses, if he was not wearing a seatbelt. It is therefore important to wear a seatbelt at all times when travelling. Statistically, the majority of car accidents happen near your home. So make sure to put on a seat belt even on short trips.
Likewise, even if the motor cycle accident is 100% the Defendant’s fault, the victim of personal injury may not receive 100% of his losses, if he was not wearing a certified helmet. Brain injury or death can result from failure to wear a proper helmet, so make sure to put one on before you ride.
Pre-existing injuries may also reduce compensation, if it is proven by the Defendant’s lawyer that these injuries continued to cause symptoms at the time of the accident. If the injuries did not cause symptoms at the time of the accident, then full compensation is recoverable by the victim of personal injury for the traumas sustained in the accident. This is known as the “Thin-skull Rule”, which states the the Defendant takes his victim as he finds him.
At Gertsoyg & Company, we have had over a thousand successful settlements or judgments in cases of personal injury traumas and total disability claims, each with its own special assessment of damages, as can be briefly summarized in the pages below: