General damages – What are they?

December 1, 2015

If a person who has suffered a personal injury successfully sues the responsible party, the Court may award the plaintiff various types of damages to address their claim. These include both “special” and “general” damages.

The basic purpose of damages is to place an injured party in the position he or she would have been but for the wrongful or negligent actions of the person at fault.  Special damages (sometimes called pecuniary damages) are those that compensate the injured party for a quantifiable monetary loss. For example, a person who suffers a personal injury may have incurred income losses or health care expenses and may continue to do so into the future. To claim compensation, an injured party often proves these losses by producing documentation such as tax returns, receipts, medical records and expert reports.

General damages (sometimes called non-pecuniary damages) compensate for losses that cannot be precisely quantified. For example, a person who suffers from a personal injury may suffer from a permanent disfigurement or experience pain and suffering, emotional trauma, or diminished life enjoyment. As such, general damages are often referred to as damages for pain and suffering.  In Canada, these damages are capped at approximately $340,000.  These damages are also proved through documentation, but also usually through the evidence provided by the plaintiff as to how the injury has impacted his/her life.

For more information, contact Caroline Failes at 613.566.2849 or cfailes@perlaw.ca

Caroline Failes