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Understanding Calgary Personal Injury Law: Damages

Posted in: Blog // Written on behalf of Cuming & Gillespie
July 6, 2015

As a Calgary law firm dedicated to helping all injury victims understand their rights and get the justice they’re entitled to, we’ve committed ourselves to publishing a series of articles explaining various aspects of personal injury law in Alberta and some common elements of personal injury cases heard in the Calgary courts. If you have any questions about your personal injury case or the information presented here, please contact our office today.

In previous articles, we’ve described how all personal injury lawsuits stem from circumstances where there was a duty of care owed, and where someone’s negligence led to injury —an example of a tort. This article examines another important issue in personal injury lawsuits: damages. Without damages, there isn’t really a cause of action to bring a suit in the Calgary courts.

What Constitutes Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

In any type of tort case, or any civil lawsuit where the plaintiff sues a defendant for a monetary amount, part of the plaintiff’s case is establishing damages—showing that the plaintiff was harmed in a way that warrants financial compensation by the defendant. When it comes to personal injury cases, there are direct financial damages that a plaintiff can sue for as well as other damages that are not directly financial, but that the law in Calgary (and Alberta) has deemed are suitably addressed through a monetary award.

Common damages in personal injury cases include medical expenses, lost wages and/or diminished earning capacity, and (in some cases) certain court costs or fees incurred in the pursuit of receiving just compensation for the injuries caused. These are all direct expenses that the plaintiff in a personal injury case might have suffered due to the defendant’s negligence. Because these specific damages are themselves financial in nature, they can be easier to quantify than other types of damages.

Those other damages include pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, and emotional distress or psychological trauma. While these are common problems for many personal injury victims, it is harder to assign a dollar amount to them: it’s easy to see that a carpenter who suffers a permanent shoulder injury has reduced earning capacity, and his pre-injury earnings can be calculated over the course of his expected working life to achieve a concrete number for the damages to his wages, but what about the fact that many household chores now become difficult or impossible? What if being unable to resume his work at full capacity leads to depression—a very real potential?

Assigning a dollar value to these less-quantifiable types of damages can be tricky, and is one of the reasons working with a dedicated, knowledgeable, and compassionate personal injury lawyer is in your best interests.

Contact a Calgary Personal Injury Lawyer for Free

At Cuming & Gillespie, every member of our team is dedicated solely to helping injury victims get the justice they deserve. If you or a family member has been injured and would like a free consultation with one of our Calgary-area personal injury lawyers, please contact our office today.

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