Assessment of Damages for Permanent Incapacitating Injuries


  • Donna Lea Hawley



Within the last year personal injury awards in Canada have been assessed for amounts far exceeding those in the past. This paper examines the basis on which personal injury awards have been and are assessed. The treatment of this topic is delimited by restricting the discussion to only those awards made for serious per sonal injuries—those that permanently incapacitate the plaintiff to major ex tent. While once global awards were assessed to provide compensation for the total loss of the plaintiff, there now appears to be trend towards assessment of damages for the actual loss of the plaintiff. Usually, the two most important heads of damage are loss of future earnings and cost offuture care. Of these two it is the cost of future care which has been the primary cause of the dramatic increase in damage awards. Non-pecuniary damages are now usually given somewhat minor consideration in the awards. Other considerations on assessment examined in clude income tax, considerations on appeal and the use of juries.