FAQ: My family was in a car accident in Ottawa and our lives have been turned upside down. I can’t work for several months as a result of my injuries, and my wife has a brain injury. Can we sue the driver for causing our family pain and suffering?
Answer: Ontario drivers and passengers who are injured in car accidents may file lawsuits against the drivers who caused the accidents to recover financial damages. In an Ontario car accident lawsuit or tort claim, an injured driver or passenger may recover damages such as lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Many injured drivers and passengers experience pain and suffering; however, Ontario law only allows injured car accident victims to recover financial compensation for pain and suffering if they meet a legal threshold or threshold test.
What is the Threshold Test?
Injured car accident victims in Ontario may only recover pain and suffering damages if their injuries are serious and permanent. In general, an injury is serious if it impairs an injured car accident victim in one of the following three ways:
1. the injury substantially interferes with the person’s ability to continue his employment,
2. the injury substantially interferes with the person’s ability to continue to train for a career in a field in which the person was being trained before the accident, or
3. the injury substantially interferes with most of the person’s usual activities of daily living, considering the person’s age.
Therefore, the injury must affect the person’s life, in terms of work or daily life. The serious and permanent injury threshold test requires a two-part inquiry. First, an injured car accident victim must meet one of the three requirements above in order to establish that the injury is serious. Second, the threshold test requires proof that the injury is permanent. The injury must affect the injured car accident victim for the rest of his or her life.
Without knowing the extent of your injuries and how work and family life are affected for you and your wife, it is difficult to determine whether you and your wife can sue for pain and suffering damages.
Depending on the facts, it may be that your wife can sue for pain and suffering but you cannot depending on the extent of the injuries and how they affect your lives.
Therefore, it is important that you speak to an experienced car accident lawyer in Ottawa who is well versed in the legal threshold analysis to properly evaluate your case. Feel free to call our office to schedule a FREE consultation. 866-384-5886