HomePersonal InjuryWhat are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

What are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

When you are injured and proceed to make a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to an award for damages. Monetary awards for damages aim to “put the party who has been injured (…) in the same position as he would have been in if he had not sustained the wrong” (see Lingstone v Rawyards Coal, [1880] UKHL 387).

We must acknowledge, however, that an injury can be life altering and that no amount of money will magically result in the injured party being healed. The courts have acknowledged exactly this, “There is no market expectation of life. The monetary evaluation of non-pecuniary losses is a philosophical and policy exercise more than a legal or logical one” (see Andrews v Grand & Toy Alberta LTD, [1978] 2 SCR 229). Despite this, the goal of damages is to make a person whole again. This is of course a subjective analysis.

When determining what the total award for damages should be, courts, mediators and arbitrators will consider the following “heads of damages”:

  1. General Damages – compensation for pain and suffering;
  2. Loss of Past Income;
  3. Future Loss of Income or Earning Capacity;
  4. Cost of Future Care;
  5. Loss of Housekeeping Capacity (past and future); and
  6. Special Damages.

What are Special Damages?

Special damages are arguably the easiest head of damage to quantify because they are comprised of the actual expenses incurred because of an injury. They can include any out-of-pocket expense such as:

  1. Massage;
  2. Chiropractic;
  3. Naturopathic medicine;
  4. Acupuncture;
  5. Therapy or Psychologist visits;
  6. Physiotherapy;
  7. Gym memberships;
  8. Pool memberships;
  9. Medical equipment or mobility aids;
  10. Medications;
  11. Equipment to assist in the daily tasks of living such as driving and attending work (i.e., blue light glasses);
  12. Vehicle repairs not covered by insurance; and
  13. Retraining for a new career.

Notably, special damages only compensate the injured party up to the date of trial (or mediation/arbitration), and future expenses will fall under a separate head of damage, Cost of Future Care.

All of these expenses can be tallied and claimed, but that is not to say that the defence will outright agree to all claimed expenses. Despite this, an injured party does have a duty to mitigate their injuries and so medical care is usually subject to reimbursement.

If you are injured in a car accident, or otherwise, and you think you may have a personal injury claim it is essential to keep detailed records and receipts of all treatment so that you can claim reimbursement of same. The ideal first step is to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to assess your claim and next steps.

2023-12-07T19:26:11+00:00June 27, 2023|Personal Injury|
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