What is my case worth?

This is the most common question we are asked, and unfortunately it’s a question that is not easily answered.

We normally provide the same answer for car accident victims that suffer life changing injuries – it’s just too soon to tell.

What we can say, confidently, is that if any law firm tells you what they think your case is worth, they simply do not know what they’re doing. Putting a dollar amount on a case is more art than science. There’s no worksheet or sliding scale to reference to. All we have to refer to is our experience, the upper limit set out by Supreme Court of Canada and ranges previously decided by our Courts.

Your recovery and overall medical and clinical evidence may change week to week. You may get better or you may get worse. The extent of injuries is always subject to change. Some people do heal in a short amount of time, while others are not so fortunate, and go on to develop permanent and chronic issues.

Some cases have liability issues. While we can estimate that your case may be worth a certain amount of money, that money could be cut short because it is discovered that the accident you are involved in might’ve been partially your fault or, you might not have been wearing a seatbelt. In that case any estimation is simply not predictable.

How is my car accident case valuated?

There are many factors that go into determining what the value of your car accident case may be worth, but these values cannot be predicted until we reach the near end of your case.

When do you know my case is ready to settle?

Our firm will never settle or resolve a complicated injury case before you reach a maximum medical recovery. With exception to catastrophically injured victims such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputation, blindness etc.  – it is never any client’s best interest to resolve their case prior to knowing what the future will hold and obtaining a proper prognosis.

What compensation am I entitled to?

Car accident cases are divided into separate heads of damages. Damages is another word for compensation. Typically with critically injured victims, our Hamilton car accident lawyers will sue the at fault driver’s insurance company for pain and suffering, past loss of wages, your future loss of wages, the loss of housekeeping capacity, any medical expenses not covered by OHIP, medical expenses not covered by a private benefit plan, any medical expenses not covered by your accident benefits, as well as compensation for your close family members for the loss of care, guidance and companionship or any out of pocket money that needs to be reimbursed.

Matt Lalande

Your recovery and overall medical and clinical evidence may change week to week. You may get better or you may get worse. The extent of injuries is always subject to change. Some people do heal in a short amount of time, while others are not so fortunate, and go on to develop permanent and chronic issues.

There is no simple way to put a dollar amount on the consequence of negligence. Determining how much should be awarded to a particular victim is not easy and should never be estimated with potential accuracy.

Can you give me an example of how you determine what a car accident case is worth?

We would try and estimate a range of damages as we approach the end of a person’s car accident case and after a person’s maximum medical recovery is clinically predictable. Imagine that a young 30 year old man gentleman, let’s name him Dan Steiner, suffers a partial spinal cord injury in an auto accident that rendered him paraplegic. Here is a rough estimation on how we would predict a range of damages for Mr. Steiner.

Pain and Suffering

The Supreme Court of Canada has established an upper limit for pain and suffering damages in Canada. As of 2019, the upper limit is $383,191. We would demand upper limits.

Loss of Wages

Imagine Dan as currently 30 years old. Dan would be claiming loss of wages from the date of his accident, to the date of settlement or trial, less anything he has been paid by CPP, Long Term Disability or any other income continuation plan. We would demand this.

Dan, a software developer, more likely than not would have another 40 years of working life left. Imagine Dan made $65,000 a year. The present value, paid monthly, for 40 years using the Ontario discount rate for 2019 would total $2,160,908.70. There is likely a contingency for unemployment and the chance to Dan will die early. We would demand this.

Loss of Housekeeping

Given the Dan would be deemed catastrophically impaired, he would be entitled, through his own insurance company, to $100.00 per week for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as a result of the accident for housekeeping and home maintenance services.

Further, if Dan owned a home, we would obtain the help of qualified Occupational Therapists to determine the chores that Dan can no longer do around his house or that he must hire people to do, such as shoveling snow, clearing the gutters, putting up Christmas lights, trimming hedges, making dinners, cleaning the bathtub etc. Courts of been clear for years that all of this work cannot be put onto an opposite spouse. We have seen housekeeping expenses range from $5,000.00 – $25,000 per year, depending on the severity of the injury and the housekeeping losses claimed. We would seek damages until Dan turned 70.

Future Health Care Expenses

Dan, as an accident victim is entitled to claim future health care expenses that are not covered by OHIP, group benefit plan or his accident benefits. Typically, in a catastrophic case, a claimant is entitled to $1 million over their lifetime for medical benefits, rehabilitation benefits and attendant care benefits. If the calculation of a car accident victim’s health care expenses exceeds the amount of available coverage noted above, then a claim can be made against the at fault driver for future health care cost compensation.

How are Future Health Care Cost Determined?

If we are  using the example of a spinal cord injury, a life care specialist would be hired to develop a comprehensive plan, based upon published standards of practice, to provide an organized concise plan for the current future needs and associated costs of the car accident victim’s catastrophic injury and/or chronic health care needs.

For example, we would need to quantify the cost things such as:

  • 24/7 attendant care
  • home modification
  • long-term rehabilitation
  • vehicle modification
  • physical therapy costs
  • psychotherapy costs
  • family counselling for family members
  • occupational Therapy assistance
  • recreational therapy assistance and supplies
  • vocational evaluation and ongoing reintegration assistance
  • nutritional evaluation and diet planning
  • mobility cost such as manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, roll in shower wheelchairs, maintenance of wheelchairs, batteries, battery chargers, portable batteries, will chair cover cushionand replacement for life
  • transfer boards
  • Power bed in power bed maintenance
  • shower modification – shower stool handheld shower
  • hoyer life
  • hoists
  • wrist and elbow orthotics
  • portable ramp
  • standers
  • adaptive clothing
  • rehabilitation therapists
  • aids for independent functioning (leg straps, utensils, cops, cups, plates etc. geared towards spinal cord injury usage)
  • supply supplies for bowel and bladder
  • miscellaneous skin scared supplies and skin inspection mirrors

These recommendations are just a fraction of what would be required during the lifetime of the spinal cord injury victim. These examples must be properly quantified in order to determine where Dan’s range of damages could be valuated.  In the end, a properly evaluated paraplegic’s spinal cord injury case can be estimated between $7,000,000.00 and $15,000,000.00, when all of his or her losses are taken into consideration.

What is the purpose of car accident compensation in Canada?

The sole purpose of compensation in a personal injury case is to put you in the place that you were in the day before your accident. From a pain and suffering perspective, non-economic damages are to compensate a victim for the physical, emotional and mental distress that they have suffered as a result of an accident.  Losses that flow from a victim’s injuries that are not quantifiable in monetary terms.

Technically, it’s impossible to assign an actual monetary value for personal injury pain, however our Courts have been clear that we should consider a victim’s subjective pain and suffering, loss of amenities, loss of expectation of life and other factors relevant to the victims subjective experience of the functional loss.

Economic damages or losses that can be quantified and compensated in the form of money, such as your past and future loss of income, past and future loss of competitive advantage in career opportunity, past and future cost of personal care, the loss of home maintenance capacity, the past and future cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation and diagnosis and any other financial losses which flow from the negligence of the driver that hurt you and that can be calculated monetary terms.

We can make a better assessment as your case ends

As we get closer to settlement or verdict, assessing your economic and non-economic damages becomes more of a reality. Your medical condition has more likely than not plateaued. An opinion on your long-term has been provided, we know how much money you will lose and have lost at work, we will know whether or not you could care for your home, we will know how much your family members have lost financially helping you, we will know if you if you are returning to work or not, we will know if you will remain on long-term disability or not, we know whether or not you require attendant care either part-time or full-time, we will know overall, how you have recovered and what life holds for you in the future.

Have you been hurt in a serious car accident?

If you or your loved one has been hurt in a serious car accident and you have questions about what you are entitled to recover by law, please call us at 905-333-8888, chat with our live chat operator or fill in a contact form. We would love to hear from you, we will help answer your questions, inform you of your legal rights and there is no obligation to retain our Hamilton car accident lawyers.

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