Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from psychological injuries as a result of an accident is between $54,489 – $349,601 [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 27-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a motor vehicle collision. She suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck, shoulder area, back, hip, headaches, and suffered an injury to her jaw. She was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Her soft tissue injuries, temporomandibular joint syndrome, and psychological conditions were chronic in nature. Her failure to undergo psychiatric consultation, take medication, and follow an exercise routine delayed her recovery, and amounted to a failure to mitigate her damages. After reducing by 10%, she was awarded $90,000 in general damages.
- The 54-year-old plaintiff, on long-term disability for four years prior to the accident, suffered injuries when he was struck by the defendant’s vehicle. Prior to the collision, he suffered from numerous pre-existing medical conditions including a myocardial infarction, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, melanoma, sarcoidosis and chronic pain. Despite his many diagnoses, he managed his condition on a day-to-day basis. As a result of the collision, he suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. He also developed somatic symptom disorder, a disorder involving a “vicious cycle” of psychological symptoms. He also suffered from adjustment disorder, and a recurrence of depression that had been in remission prior to the collision. As a result of his injuries, he was no longer able to manage his pre-existing conditions and was far more impaired and in need of a greater level of assistance with activities. After reducing by 25% for the contingencies related to his pre-existing conditions, he was awarded $142,500 in general damages.
- The plaintiff was injured as a result of a slip and fall. She landed on her knee and suffered a fractured kneecap. She required surgery to repair her injury and underwent a second surgery one year later. She required extensive physiotherapy and was unable to return to work for a period of six months. Her injuries caused her to experience prolonged periods of depression. She was awarded $100,000 in general damages.
- The 50-year-old plaintiff was involved in a series of collisions with both guardrails and another vehicle after being cut off and taking evasive action to avoid a collision. He suffered a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury including a diffuse axonal injury, a cerebral hematoma, head laceration, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and soft tissue injuries to his neck, shoulder, and lower back. As a result of these injuries, the plaintiff dealt with chronic pain, dizziness, poor vision, balance and coordination issues, slowed gait, and many other psychological and cognitive difficulties which left him markedly impaired in every facet. His injuries were deemed permanent and unlikely to improve. He received $290,000 in general damages.
- The 22-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a motor vehicle collision. She and two friends were walking along the side of the roadway after their vehicle broke down. As they were walking, a transport truck struck the plaintiff’s two friends, killing one of them instantly and injuring the other. While the plaintiff was not physically injured in the collision, the collision was traumatic to her, and she suffered psychological difficulties that did not resolve. She was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. She tended to avoid people who reminded her of the collision, and became more socially isolated as a result. Her psychiatric injury resulting from the collision was significant and persistent. She was awarded $75,000 in general damages.
- The plaintiff, a 40-year-old self-employed flooring installer, suffered injuries when his vehicle was sideswiped. He suffered from pain in his right arm, right hand, right shoulder, lower back, and left knee. He underwent physiotherapy and took pain medication. Although he returned to work as a flooring installer, his injuries impacted the efficiency of his work. He complained of symptoms of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, weight loss, and loss of energy. His symptoms improved with the use of medication, but he complained of some ongoing depression and occasional lack of energy. He socialized less and his ability to participate in recreational activities was impacted. He was awarded $65,000 in general damages.
- The 32-year-old plaintiff was injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident. She suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and shoulder. She later developed chronic pain, and was forced to leave her employment because she could not perform physically demanding tasks. Prior to the accident, she derived great satisfaction from her employment; after the accident and after leaving her employment, she became increasingly depressed. Her depression did not wane, despite extensive treatment. She was left in a precarious financial situation, which aggravated her anxiety. She was deemed incapable of performing even sedentary part-time employment. She was awarded $40,000 in general damages.
- The plaintiff suffered injuries to his neck, arm, leg, back, head, and a brain injury, as well as memory loss, anxiety, depression, and deficiencies with the arranging and processing of information as a result of a motor vehicle accident. At trial, medical experts opined that he had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. The jury heard evidence of the direct causal relationship of his cognitive deficits and adjustment disorder, including depression and his partial disability, to the motor vehicle accident. Expert evidence was presented that major depressive illness was known to be able to be caused by trauma, and that the temporal sequence of the accident, leading to cognitive deficits, to depression, to a major depressive episode, and to psychosis, was typical of a traumatic brain injury. The jury awarded him $150,000 in general damages.
- The 23-year-old plaintiff was injured when her vehicle was struck from behind. She suffered injuries to her neck, back and hip, and inner ear. She was left with chronic and permanent pain in her neck, back, shoulder, and hip. She also suffered a permanent moderate loss of hearing and a permanent loss of balance due to the injury to her inner ear, both of which would have a serious effect on the plaintiff’s future life. As a result of her physical injuries, she developed a psychological injury consisting of a major depression and adjustment disorder. There was a significant possibility that her ability to find and maintain employment would be compromised. She was awarded $125,000 in general damages.
- The plaintiff, a 36-year-old bricklayer, suffered injuries when his vehicle was struck from behind. He was taken to hospital with complaints of pain in his neck and back and was diagnosed with a whiplash injury. In the days following the accident, he was in pain and could not get out of bed. At the time of trial, almost four years post-accident, he had still not returned to work. He had also developed significant psychological problems, which culminated in a serious suicide attempt. Prior to the accident, he enjoyed good health. Since the accident, he suffered from headaches, anxiety attacks, and spent most of his time in bed. He had developed a major depressive illness, but his prognosis was good. He was awarded $45,000 in general damages.
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