FAQ: My son was catastrophically injured in a car accident after a truck hit him head on in Kingston, Ontario. He cannot work and needs further medical treatment. If we sue the truck driver, how much is his claim worth?
Answer: I am sorry about your son’s catastrophic car accident and injuries. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula lawyers or courts use to determine how much an auto accident case is worth. The value of the case depends on various factors, such as:
- the general health of the injured individual,
- the extent of the injuries,
- future medical prognosis,
- how the injuries impact the injured individual’s life (family, work, school, etc.), and
- pain and suffering.
For instance, if your son suffered catastrophic orthopedic injuries in his leg, the value of his case may vary drastically from other cases depending on these above factors.
Let’s assume your son is a delivery truck driver and is required to lift packages all day long. He is not going to be able to work for a period of time due to his injuries. Let’s also assume that he requires surgery to repair the broken bones in his leg and also has hardware placed in his leg. After the surgery, the bones may not heal properly, and he may need another round of surgery.
After the surgeries, his mobility may be affected permanently and he may need to use a cane to walk. As a result, he would not be able to return to his job at all because of his mobility limitations. He would need to find another job that does not require him to be on his feet lifting packages.
Use the same facts as above, but only this time, let’s assume that your son’s first surgery went well and his bones healed and fused properly. Let’s further assume that he is able to walk again with no difficulty and he can return to work after 6 months.
The value of your son’s case would be much higher in the first scenario than in the second scenario. He missed more work time and endured more pain and suffering because he needed a second surgery. In addition, his mobility is permanently affected in the first scenario.
Pain & Suffering Damages – Threshold Test & Deductible
Two issues related to the value of your son’s car accident lawsuit are the threshold test for pain and suffering and the deductible. Though pain and suffering is a type of damage your son may be able to recover, it is subject to a threshold and a deductible.
In order to recover for this damage claim, your son’s injuries have to meet a threshold or a standard of severity under Ontario law. Specifically, his injuries would have to result in a permanent serious disfigurement or a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.
If your son meets this threshold, then he can recover for pain and suffering. However, his pain and suffering award is subject to a $30,000 deductible if the award is less than $100,000. If he is awarded $100,000, he would recover $70,000 instead of $100,000. If his pain and suffering award is $100,001, then his award is not subject to the deductible and he would recover the full amount.
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