Personal Injury Claims

Q - What is a personal injury?

A - A personal injury can include physical injury, sickness or disease, psychological and emotional injury.

Q - How much will my claim be worth?

A - Compensation is based on the difference between your life before and after the accident. Therefore, how much compensation you may receive will vary according to the seriousness of your injury. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to include some or all of the following in your claim: pain and suffering including loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income for missed work, loss of future income if your injury will interfere with working, no longer being able to perform daily household tasks and any out of pocket expenses, such as medical and travel bills and prescriptions. It is important that you get legal advice about your particular circumstances.

Q - Does it matter where the accident occurred?

A - It might. For example, if the accident was related to your employment, the Workers' Compensation Act provides for a compensation program that will address your financial, medical and rehabilitative needs. Under Workers' Compensation, you don't have to prove that anyone else was at fault in order to receive benefits.

You don't need a lawyer to file a Workers' Compensation claim. For more information about Workers' Compensation, contact the Workers Compensation Board listed under 'Labour' in the government section of the telephone book, or call 1.800.870.3331 in the Halifax Regional Municipality or 1.800.880.0003 in the Sydney area, or visit their website at http://www.wcb.ns.ca

Q - Does it matter who was at fault?

A - In some cases, this is very important. If someone else's negligence caused your injury, in most cases you can sue them for damages. However, if your own behaviour contributed to the accident, the amount of compensation you receive might be less than it would have been had you been a completely innocent by-stander. If your injury was simply an Act of God, that is, it cannot be attributed to any person, then you may have to rely on your own accident insurance.

Q -  If I'm injured in a motor vehicle accident, what effect would the cap on general damages have on me?

A. The general damages cap limits pain and suffering awards for minor injuries.

There are two cap time periods. Neither affects claims for other types of compensation, such as lost income and medical expenses, which are in addition to the general damages cap compensation. 

The first applies to motor vehicle accidents that happened on or after November 1, 2003 and up to April 27, 2010. Pain and suffering awards for minor injuries during this period are limited to $2,500.   

Nova Scotia's Insurance Act defines a 'minor injury' in this cap period as a personal injury that:

a) does not result in a permanent serious disfigurement;
b) does not result in a permanent serious impairment of an important bodily function caused by continuing injury which is physical in nature; OR
c) resolves within 12 months following the accident.

For motor vehicle accidents which occurred on or after April 28, 2010 the general damages cap has risen to $8,352 (2015 - indexed to inflation; 2014 - $8,213) and now only applies to sprains, strains and certain types of whiplash and not broken bones, etc.

The legal definition of a minor injury is complicated. It is therefore very important that you speak with a lawyer about your particular situation.

Q - Are there other sources of compensation for an injury?

A - Other potential sources include Employment Insurance sick benefits, Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, short term disability and long term disability benefits under a group plan that you may have through your employer, provincial income assistance, and benefits which are included in motor vehicle insurance policies.

Last reviewed: April 2015

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