PERSONAL INJURY —
COMPONENTS OF YOUR CLAIM
This article discusses personal
injury law and ICBC claims. The information is not intended as an alternative
to seeking independent legal advice about your issues.
Various types of entitlements
exist to which an accident victim may be allowed.
It is possible to claim compensation for items which are not readily
calculable in dollars. This head of damage is commonly referred to as
general or “non-pecuniary” damages and is meant to compensate
an accident victim for pain and suffering. The value of your claim depends
on the nature and extent of the injuries. While it is not possible to
put an exact dollar value on general damages, your personal injury lawyer
can make a reasonable assessment by comparing your injuries with the
loss of earnings
Unlike pain, the exact dollar value of compensation in relation to loss
of earnings can be determined by reference to mathematical calculation.
Carefully track and document the amount of work lost as a result of
your injury, which loss may be reflected in the income taxes. The injury
may affect you in the future, too. Where the injury is likely to result
in loss of opportunity to earn income, expert reports should be obtained
to determine the amount to be paid in today’s dollars to provide
future compensation. Your personal injury lawyer will typically carry
the cost of the expert reports as disbursements. It is not necessary
to prove that a loss of future earnings is more probable than not, only
that there is a "real possibility" that the loss may occur.
Four (4) basic questions
exist for determining whether a person has a diminished earning capacity:
(Brown v. Golaiy (1985, BSSC); Kwei v. Boisclair (1991,
An actuary can determine
the today’s value of that loss over the course of the lifetime
of the person (multiplying to career expectancy age 65).
It is possible to claim compensation for items which are readily calculable
in dollars. These damages include out-of-pocket expenses for such items
as prescriptions, physiotherapy and/or chiropractic treatments, cost
of travel to treatment, housekeepers, gardeners, and other people hired
to assist you. Keep all receipts because the plaintiff is entitled to
reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the
accident. Moreover, future care and other expenses may be claimed for
those items listed above. These expenses must be medically supported
and would arise in the case of permanent injuries. An occupational therapist
would be in a position to asses the needs of the injured party. Then
just like for future loss of earnings, an actuary would be in a position
to provide the today’s value of these future expenses (multiplying
to life expectancy age 75).
Pursuant to Part 7 of the Insurance Motor Vehicle Act (Regulations)
an individual may be entitled to interim medical coverage and wage loss.
These benefits are sometimes called total temporary disability (TTD)
benefits. These are “no fault” benefits so even the liable
party would be entitled to coverage if totally disabled.
Another form of interim coverage
includes “collateral benefits” usually from a short term
disability provider through the employer (eg. Great West Life or London
Life for interim wage loss coverage; Blue Cross for interim medical
coverage). These organizations expect repayment if it turns out that
ICBC is responsible to pay for the injury at the end of the day.
Costs and disbursements may be recoverable.
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