Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from paraplegia as a result of an accident is between $194,380 – $448,790 [adjusted for 2023 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
- The 50-year-old triathlete was catastrophically injured while cycling. As a result of a driver crossing the yellow line, the plaintiff was forced to take evasive action and hit a patch of gravel, making it impossible to brake in time and hit a metal guard rail. He suffered a spinal cord injury which resulted in him having almost no sensation from the chest down, including no use of his arms and chronic neurogenic pain. He also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. After the accident, the plaintiff required permanent personal care assistance. He received $311,000 in general damages.
- Two plaintiffs, both aged 22, suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Neither plaintiff was wearing his seat belt, and both were thrown from the vehicle. Plaintiff #2 was left a paraplegic and had no feeling below the T5-T6 level of his spine. He underwent surgery to repair his spinal fractures. Rods were inserted to brace his spine. He had loss of bladder and bowel control. He worked extensively on a tremendously aggressive rehabilitation program. His limitations would put heavy demands on any prospective employer to adjust workplace environments to accommodate him. He suffered spasticity as a regular complication of his attempts to move. He was at risk of long-term kidney damage and deep vein thrombosis, as well as osteoporosis. The court awarded plaintiff general damages in the amount of $310,000.
- The 39-year-old plaintiff fell off a ladder while working on a light fixture. He fractured his back resulting in incomplete paraplegia which required surgery. Over a period of a few years, he graduated to walking with one cane. He suffered chronic pain, required a catheter to void, and had issues with sexual dysfunction. His social and family participation was severely negatively affected by the injuries suffered in the fall. He was awarded $130,000 in general damages.
- The 15-year-old plaintiff suffered severe injuries to his spinal cord in a motor vehicle collision, leading to complete paralysis below the chest and left him permanently confined to a wheelchair. He had no sensation or voluntary movement in his lower extremities, loss of function in his left arm and hand, no control of bowel or bladder and sexual dysfunction. He was able to do some personal care and housework after months of rehabilitation. He was awarded $293,000 in general damages.
- The plaintiff was a college student who suffered a compression fracture of T12-L1 vertebrae with paraplegia from levels T10-T11 in a motor vehicle accident. His academic prospects post-accident were deemed to be poor. He was awarded $256,000 in general damages.
- The 17-year-old plaintiff was body checked from behind in a hockey game resulting in a broken neck. The plaintiff lost the use of his legs and had practically no use of his arms and hands. He was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and required constant care. He was awarded $238,000 in general damages.
- The 41-year-old plaintiff was injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident. She sustained fractures of the C5 and C6 vertebrae in her neck, T12 vertebrae in her back, ribs, collarbone and jaw. Following surgery, the plaintiff was left with progressive permanent impairment of her spine, balance, right forearm, and incontinence. She was awarded $115,000 in general damages.
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