In Ontario, if you are injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, he or she is not automatically liable for pain and suffering or other non-pecuniary damages you sustained. However, if your injury meets the threshold as defined under the law, the negligent party could be held responsible for such damages.
Greg Monforton and Partners discuss the injury threshold in greater detail below, including how to prove that an injury meets the threshold and other types of damages that could be pursued in a claim. We are prepared to guide you through the legal process. Learn more in a complimentary consultation.
What is the Injury Threshold?
The injury threshold is used by the court to determine whether an accident victim is eligible to recover non-pecuniary damages. These damages are not directly related to a financial loss, such as pain and suffering.
According to Ontario’s Insurance Act, the threshold is:
- Permanent serious disfigurement; or
- Permanent serious disfigurement of an important physical, mental or psychological function
If your injuries do not rise to the level of the threshold, as determined by a judge, then you will be unable to recover non-pecuniary damages. The judge must be satisfied that the injury is serious. He or she will consider several different factors when making this determination, including how the injury has affected your life.
Meeting the Injury Threshold in Ontario
Proving that an injury meets the threshold requires careful documentation of the injury and its impact on a plaintiff’s life and livelihood. Your injuries must prevent you from being able to participate in social, recreational, household or employment activities to the extent you did prior to the accident.
You must show a meaningful difference in your function and ability to participate in these activities and a real difference in your life after the accident versus before the accident. Your injury must also be serious enough to be deemed permanent, requiring extensive treatment and will likely not improve.
Meeting these requirements is a challenging task. Having an experienced lawyer on your side could be beneficial. He or she can help gather the necessary documentation, including your medical records, diagnostic test results, and an evaluation from your treating doctor to support your claim.
Types of Damages That Could Be Pursued
If your injury meets the threshold, you may be able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering as well as other types of damages, such as:
- Lost wages
- Future earning capacity
- Impairment of physical and mental abilities
- Future medical care
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
However, it is important to note that there is a deductible for non-pecuniary damages. This deductible is found in section 267.2 of the Act and varies each year. For 2020, the deductible is $39,556.53 compared to $38,818.97 in 2019.
For instance, say you were injured in a car accident in 2019, exceeded the threshold, and your non-pecuniary damages were assessed at $100,000. These damages would be lowered by $38,818.97. The total damages awarded to you would be $61,181.03.
Reach Out to One of Our Lawyers for Help
Our dedicated Windsor personal injury lawyers are ready to determine whether your injury is serious enough to meet Ontario’s threshold requirements in a free consultation. There is no risk in calling us for answers to your legal questions and no obligation to move forward after meeting with us.
Should we represent you, we charge nothing up front for our services. We only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf. Our firm is available 24/7 to take your call or chat online.