Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from spine injuries below the neck as a result of an accident is between $59,869 – $166,837 [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
Cumberbatch v. Toronto (City), 2015 ONSC 4859
- The 72-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall. She fractured vertebrae in her back when she fell backward on a snow-covered street while walking her grandchildren to school. She immediately underwent surgery to her back. She was awarded $80,000 in general damages.
Allen v. Wal-Mart Canada Inc., 2009 NLTD 79
- The plaintiff, a 45-year-old home care facility owner and operator, suffered injuries as a result of a trip and fall. The plaintiff was pushing a shopping cart on a moving conveyor belt at the defendant’s store when the cart got caught in the belt’s mechanism, causing it to lurch to one side. The plaintiff was trapped between the cart and the side of the belt. She fell and was moved along with the belt for a short distance before someone stopped it. She suffered a moderate soft tissue injury to her cervical and lumbar spine. She was left suffering from chronic pain that was expected to continue for the rest of her life. Prior to the accident, she was suffering from degenerative disc disease, a neuromuscular disorder, and headaches. She was awarded $90,000 in general damages.
Prowse v. Stockley, 2009 NLTD 90
- The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff was standing outside his truck on the side of the road when he saw defendant’s truck coming toward him at full speed. The plaintiff dove into the cab of his truck, striking the console between the two front seats. He sustained injuries to his right shoulder and thoracic spine as a result of his body hitting the console. He experienced ongoing pain and suffered from reduced mobility and interference with his ability to work. He was awarded general damages in the amount of $45,000.
Kenney-Lindsay v. Chamberlain, 2008 NBQB 66
- The plaintiff, a nurse, was injured when her vehicle was struck from behind. She suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and fractured two discs in her spinal column. She also experienced exacerbation of pre-existing pain in her elbow, with new pain radiating into her right forearm, wrist and fingers. As a result of the injuries, she was unable to work for five years. When she finally returned to work, her condition had to be accommodated, and she was only able to work on a part-time basis. She was awarded $50,000 in general damages.
- The 36-year-old plaintiff’s vehicle was struck in an intersection, resulting in injuries to her neck (WAD II) and cervical spine, lumbar strain, and a rib fracture. She suffered ongoing chronic myofascial back and neck pain, which interrupted her sleep and had a severe negative impact on her ability to partake in recreational activities. Her prognosis was poor, and her condition was expected to deteriorate. She received $50,000 in general damages.
Yovanovich v. Windsor (City), 2007 CanLII 19799 (ON SC)
- The plaintiff, a 56-year-old surgeon, was injured when he fell from his bicycle after hitting a raised catch-basin. As a result of the fall, he suffered a separated left shoulder, a mild compression of a nerve in the neck with symptoms in his right hand, and a compression injury to his S1 nerve root on the right side which resulted in sciatic numbness and burning in his right leg. At the time of trial, five-years post-accident, the plaintiff continued to experience various problems with his shoulder injury and nerve root injuries. These injuries were serious and would be permanent. He was forced to reduce and modify his exercise regimen and would have to reduce his workload five-years earlier than he otherwise would have done. He was awarded $100,000 in general damages.
- The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of a fall from the first floor of a home to the basement. He fell through a hole in the floor intended for construction of a staircase. He suffered a serious fracture to his back and was left with no feeling in his legs. His spine was stabilized using a bone graft from his hip. Rods and screws were inserted for internal fixation. He was in hospital for 12 days and suffered considerable pain during his recovery. The fractures healed within approximately six months, and he went back to work full-time at that time. However, he suffered ongoing pain, stiffness and limitation. His ability to participate in activities was impacted. He was awarded $75,000 in general damages.
Hendry v. McGrath, 2003 CanLII 7645 (ONSC)
- The plaintiff, a land surveyor, was injured when the roof that he and the four defendants were lifting slipped out of their grasp and fell on the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered a significant fracture at the L2-L3 level, burst vertebrae at the L2-L4 level. The vertebrae required fusion. The plaintiff underwent intensive physiotherapy and was left with chronic pain. He faced the prospect of further injury because of the increased force exerted on the disc space above the fusion, and faced the prospect of further surgery. He had to give up his job as a land surveyor and seek a more sedentary position, resulting in decreased income potential. He received $112,500 in general damages.
Landry v. McCormick Estate, 1997 CanLII 15023 (NSSC)
- The 24-year-old plaintiff suffered a moderate strain of the thoracic spine. She was suffering from chronic pain 3 ½ years post-accident. Her condition was described as mild to moderate fibromyalgia. She gave up bowling, ice skating and dancing and her household activities were curtailed. General damages were fixed at $38,000.
Newman v. Lamarche, 1994 CanLII 4075 (NSCA)
- The 15-year-old plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of the thoracic spine following a motor vehicle accident. The initial diagnosis was paraplegia, but the plaintiff made a remarkable recovery. She was left with pain and limitation of movement in her back and legs. There was a likelihood of degenerative changes developing in the area of the injury, which could well be functionally limiting in the future. She was awarded $53,000 in general damages.
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