Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from back injuries as a result of an accident is between $22,245- $90,743 [adjusted for 2022 inflation rates]. The general damage award amounts for each individual case below have not been adjusted for inflation. For your convenience, the Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator can be accessed here.
As described in our General Damages Guide, these awards are only for general damages which compensate you for your pain and suffering. There are other types of damages that you may be entitled to claim, such as lost income and medical care costs, depending on the circumstances of your case. To assess the total value of your injury claim, try our Injury Claim Calculator or book a free consultation.
The Case Law
Randall v. Ramia, 2006 NSSC 291
- The plaintiff was injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident. He suffered a moderate injury to his shoulder and back. He had significant pain with limitation of movement in his back. The Court found that the plaintiff failed to take adequate steps to mitigate his damages. He was awarded $18,000 in general damages.
Ouellette v. Chiasson, 2003 NBQB 427
- The plaintiff suffered injuries to her lower back as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Her injuries caused her to experience disturbed sleep, pain radiating into her neck, and headaches. The pain in her neck and the headaches resolved by the time of trial. Her ongoing problem was chronic mild mechanical low back pain. She learned to live with the pain and was able to carry out her work and activities of daily living, although the injury caused restrictions in her physical abilities. Her injuries were assessed at the higher level of a mild soft tissue injury at $18,000.
Richardson c. Comeau, 2003 NBBR 223
- The 57-year-old plaintiff suffered headaches and backaches after the defendant’s van collided with his vehicle. He fainted at the scene, however was able to drive home half an hour later. He suffered headaches for about ten days after the accident, after which he suffered from intermittent dorsal pain between his scapular blades and dorsal spine. However, he did not undergo physiotherapy or massage therapy, nor had he seen a doctor for his condition in over three years. With a few exceptions, he remained quite active. He was awarded $15,000 in general damages.
- The 29-year-old plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. She suffered a soft tissue injury and developed chronic pain syndrome in her neck, shoulders and upper and lower back. The upper body chronic pain was moderate to severe, but not totally disabling. The post-accident chronic pain became totally disabling when her lower back condition was aggravated by post-accident medical events. The accident was a major contributing factor to her employment disability. Prior to the accident, she was an energetic person who loved her job and liked to be busy. She was unlikely to ever resume her former employment or engage in any other form of gainful employment. General damages were assessed at $60,000.
Tidgwell v. Browning-Ferris Industries Ltd., 2001 NSSC 52
- The 53-year-old plaintiff was unemployed when he suffered a lateral flexion sprain which produced impaction of the lumbar facet joints, leading to back pain and protective muscle spasms, as a result of a motor vehicle accident. This injury was superimposed on degenerative changes in the lumbar area. His continuing pain resulted from the degenerative changes and was not attributable to the accident. Moreover, it was correctable through exercise and conditioning, which the plaintiff avoided. General damages were assessed at $22,000.
Caron c. Steeves, 2000 CanLII 1959 (NBQB)
- The plaintiff, a 39-year-old nurse, suffered injuries to her shoulder, back and lumbar region when a motor vehicle collided with her bicycle. Six years after the accident, she still suffered debilitating back pain for which she underwent treatment such as acupuncture, physiotherapy, cortisone injections, injections in her ligaments, the wearing of a corset and the use of medication. Some, though not all, of her athletic pursuits were curtailed. She complained of pain-related insomnia and suffered from anxiety. There was some evidence of pre-existing degenerative disc disease. She was unable to resume employment as a nurse. She was awarded $50,000 in general damages.
CBS Taxi Ltd. v. Gosse, 2000 NFCA 16
- The 22-year-old plaintiff suffered permanent degenerative disc disease in his neck and back as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Walking any great distance or sitting for more than 30 minutes was difficult. He was able to manage the pain but it affected his lifestyle and he had to refrain from athletic activities. Other problems included sporadic blurring of vision associated with headaches and lack of attention. Damages for pain and suffering and loss of amenities were assessed at $75,000. On appeal by the defendant, the Court of Appeal noted that the range of damages awarded for back injuries in Newfoundland appeared to be from $20,000 to $80,000. The award of general damages was reduced to $40,000.
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