We’re currently in the final stages of preparation for a civil jury trial for Ontario car accident claims scheduled to start May 14, 2014.
It’s alleged that the defendant pulled out of a plaza directly into the path of a car being driven by Ms. Kelly. The jury will be asked to decide if doing so amounts to negligence.
Ms. Kelly works with a bank. She drove from Napanee to Belleville to work on a regular basis. Following the crash, she continued to work but found that neck, headache and jaw pain made the daily commute too difficult. With 35 years in the banking industry, Ms. Kelly’s job requires her to sit at a computer all day, every day; exactly the sort of thing that exacerbates such crash-related neck and head injuries.
Ms. Kelly enjoys her work and wasn’t willing to give it up. She tried several techniques to minimize the ongoing crash-related pain. She began working out of the bank’s Napanee office 4 days per week and went home at lunch to rest. She used up all of her holidays taking Fridays off in an attempt to give her neck an extra day to recover from sitting at a computer monitor each week. When she had no more holidays left, she dropped down to working 4 days per week. It’s likely that she’ll need to reduce her hours further in order to manage her pain effectively.
The jury will be asked to look at Ms. Kelly’s work history both before and after the crash and determine whether she has suffered a loss of income and if so, how much it might be both in the past and into the future. These are called special damages; in effect, special damages are any form of compensation that can be calculated mathematically.
Prior to the crash, Ms. Kelly enjoyed gardening, golfing, dancing, attending concerts and weekend fairs, camping, boating, fishing, and shopping with her friends. She was dedicated to exercise, attending the gym several times per week.
Post-collision, Ms. Kelly has not been able to fully enjoy these activities and has not returned to exercising at the gym. Additionally, she has poor sleep as a result of her pain.
The medical evidence will show that Ms. Kelly has reached maximal medical improvement and is destined to live with continuing pain for remainder of life.
The jury will be asked to decide the appropriate amount of compensation in this case for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. These are called general damages. There is no mathematical formula for the calculation of general damages. There is however a $30,000 deductible on an injured person’s body; in effect, the insurance company for the at-fault driver is not required to pay the first $30,000 of compensation that a jury awards to an injured person for general damages (pain and suffering). This deductible does not apply to awards for pain and suffering over $100,000 (although it DOES apply to awards for general damages of up to and INCLUDING $100,000).
The trial is likely to last 1 week although typically there is 2 days of preparation required for each day spent in the courtroom at trial.
Bergeron Clifford will be holding focus groups in our state of the art mock courtroom over the coming weeks to assist in trial preparation. If you are interested in participating in one of focus groups in this or another case, please call Shawna Langille at 613-384-5886.