Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from lower back injuries as a result of an accident is between $36,614 – $70,977 [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
Hickey c. Savoie, 2012 NBBR 120
- The 45-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries when her motor vehicle was rear-ended. She suffered a whiplash injury and shortly thereafter complained of severe lumbar pain. She had pre-existing issues with her lower spine resulting from degenerative disc disease and had undergone herniated disc surgery a few years prior to the accident. The accident significantly aggravated her lumbar pain. Prior to the accident, she was able to work despite her limitations. The injury aggravated her pain to the point that she was no longer able to work, even in a sedentary capacity. This caused her to suffer from depression. She was awarded $50,000 in general damages.
Meady v. Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp., 2012 ONSC 657
- The 38-year-old plaintiff was injured in a bus accident. She suffered a compression fracture of the lower back and soft tissue injuries to her upper middle and lower back, as well as some anxiety. She was left with moderate, permanent chronic pain. She received $55,000 in general damages.
Davis v. Shields, 2010 NSSC 80
- The 46-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries when his vehicle was struck from behind. He immediately experienced a severe headache that worsened in the hours after the accident. He was diagnosed with Grade II whiplash associated disorder, with pain in his lower back and down into his left leg, left buttock, and groin. He was significantly disabled by his ongoing symptoms, and would never return to physical work. At the time of trial, seven-years post-accident, he remained seriously disabled due to the pain in his lower back. However, he could have seen significant improvement in his symptoms, and may have returned to full functioning had he pursued recommended treatments. Because of his failure to mitigate, his assessed damages of $56,000 were reduced by 50% resulting in an award of $28,000.
Tapper v. Mcgaghey Estate, 2005 NBQB 471
- The plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He suffered a minor soft tissue injury in his neck as well as a severe and prolonged lower back injury which caused him chronic pain and weakness in his right leg which gives out on occasion due to pain. Since the accident, the plaintiff has developed a severe case of depression. He received $50,000 in general damages.
Gommer v. McKinnon, 2004 NBQB 412
- The 37-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Her primary injury was to her lower back. The pain increased over time, and it was discovered that she had suffered from two herniated discs. She underwent surgery to repair the herniated discs. She was left suffering from chronic low back pain. Her symptoms were not expected to improve over the next five to ten years. She was awarded $30,000 in general damages.
Kelly v. Barnett et al., 1997 CanLII 9537 (NB CA)
- The 38-year-old plaintiff was rear-ended while driving and suffered a knee injury and a herniated L-5/S-1 disc requiring a discectomy. The plaintiff suffered acute pain and severe anxiety attacks, along with continual occasional back pain and curtailment of physical activities. The plaintiff received a general damage award of $30,000.
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