personal injury lawyers in Vancouver answer your questions about heads of damage

Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer: What “Heads of Damage” Can I Claim in Vancouver?

Did you know that if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in BC, you may be able to claim a number of different “heads of damage”?

The term “heads of damage” simply means categories of damage. In addition to no-fault benefits, you are entitled to compensation (monetary damages) for your injuries under a number of heads of damage to the degree that you are not at fault. The personal injury lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP prepared this list of the most common heads of damage to give you an idea of the types of compensation to which you may be entitled. 


A word on proof of damages

Regardless of the type of damages you are claiming, you must prove entitlement. For that reason, it is extremely important to have strong evidence to justify the loss you are claiming. That includes medical evidence about the injuries you sustained and how they impact your life, and in many cases also includes evidence from actuaries or economists about what you would have earned had the accident not occurred. Your credibility is also an important factor that will be taken into account when it comes to proving your claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence to prove your claim.


The Most Common Heads of Damage 


1. Non-pecuniary damages
Non-pecuniary damages, which are also known as “general damages”, are to compensate you for the pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the injuries you sustained in the motor vehicle accident. The amount to which you are entitled under this head of damage is based on factors such as the types of injuries you suffered and the ways those injuries have impacted your life. While every case depends on its own unique facts, this category of damages is rooted in precedent – in other words, what the courts have awarded to other plaintiffs with similar injuries. That means it is possible for a personal injury lawyer to look at reported judgements in similar cases and provide you with an estimate of the range of non-pecuniary damages you can expect to receive.

2. Past wage loss
This head of damage is based on the loss you actually incurred from the date of accident until the date you settle your claim (or go to trial if settlement is not possible). It can include wage loss as a result of missed days of work after the accident, time off for surgery or treatments, and reduction in the number of hours or days you have been able to work to date due to your injuries. A past wage loss claim is typically established by providing pay stubs or tax returns to show the decrease in earnings following the accident. In some cases, it may be necessary to gather additional evidence to prove more nuanced claims such as loss due to inability to take overtime shifts, loss of lieu time, or loss of banked sick days. 


3. Loss of future earning capacity
Compensation for loss of future earning capacity is to recognize the loss of an opportunity to earn future income. If you have sustained an injury that permanently impairs your normal abilities, you may have a claim under this head of damage. In determining the amount of compensation to which you are entitled, your earning capacity over your working life prior to the accident will be evaluated. It is often necessary to obtain calculations from an actuary or economists to establish what you would have earned had the accident not happened.


4. Cost of future care and medical treatment
This head of damage is to compensate you for the anticipated costs of ongoing care and necessary treatment expenses. It can include amounts to cover items such as ongoing physiotherapy treatments, medication costs, occupational therapy sessions, and caregiver assistance. You may require future care and treatment for an extended period of time (potentially the rest of your life if you have been catastrophically injured). In order to establish the amount of your claim under this head of damage, it will be necessary for your medical specialists to evaluate your future medical and rehabilitation needs.
Particularly in the case of catastrophic and permanent or partial disability cases, it may also be necessary to have an actuary prepare an objective cost analysis of these needs during your recovery and for the remainder of your life span.


Every situation is unique, talk to a personal injury lawyer about your claim 

The heads of damage discussed above are only a sampling of the most common types of compensation. You may also be entitled to compensation under heads of damage including: 

  • Out-of-pocket expenses (also called “special damages”);
  • Loss of housekeeping capacity (to perform household tasks and/or to carry out childcare responsibilities);
  • Legal costs and disbursements (the expense you incurred to bring your claim);
  • Court-ordered interest, and/or money management fees. 

To discuss your injuries and the full list of heads of damage to which you may be entitled, contact us at 1-855-852-5100 to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our team of personal injury lawyers.


Legal Guidance & More: From Injury to Recovery

Bronson Jones & Company lawyers have extensive trial experience and extensive experience in negotiating fair settlements for clients injured in motor vehicle accidents. We have also developed an extensive network of medical and occupational specialists, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and others to help you recover and deal with the impact of your injury on your physical health, family life, finances and future. Reports from these experts may be essential in the development of your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call any of the 13 Bronson Jones locations in the Lower Mainland for our expertise and advice. All of our cases are handled on a contingency (percentage) basis and you don’t pay until we collect.

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