Based on the following sampling of case law, the range for general damages awarded for suffering from whiplash as a result of an accident is between $18,610 – $92,973 [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
Chiasson c. Thériault, 2018 NBQB 177
- The 30-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries when the vehicle in which she was a passenger was struck from behind. She suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck with WAD-like symptoms and experienced cervicogenic headaches. She was unable to successfully return to work. Four years after the collision, she began undergoing cortisone facet joint injections to address her complaints of ongoing pain. At the time of trial, nine years after the collision, her symptoms continued. She had been diagnosed as suffering from chronic pain syndrome, with symptoms that would be permanent. She was awarded $75,000 in general damages.
Gordon v. Sexton, 2013 CanLII 104947 (NL SC)
- The plaintiff, a 42-year-old snowplow driver, suffered injuries when the snowplow he was driving was struck from behind by a tractor trailer. He suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck and shoulder area and was diagnosed with Grade 2 whiplash. Despite undergoing several different treatments, his symptoms did not resolve, and he was diagnosed with chronic myofascial pain syndrome. He was largely unable to return to his previously physically active lifestyle. He also suffered from depression due to financial stresses resulting from the impact of his injuries on his ability to work as a snowplow operator. He was awarded $75,000 in general damages.
Furlotte v. Elward, 2011 NBCA 95
- The plaintiff, a 46-year-old lawyer, was involved in a minor motor vehicle accident and suffered a whiplash injury as well as an aggravation of pre-existing symptomatic degenerative changes in his lumbar spine. The aggravation ceased 2 years post-accident. He received $30,000 in general damages.
Terry v. Mullowney, 2009 NLTD 56
- The plaintiff, a 24-year-old mechanic, was injured as a result of two motor vehicle accidents. In the first accident, his vehicle was struck from behind. The collision was fairly violent, causing his vehicle to move forward about 70 feet from the point of impact. He suffered a moderate whiplash injury, which caused him neck and back pain for about eight months. In the second accident, his vehicle was struck lightly from behind. In that accident, he suffered a less serious whiplash injury, which caused discomfort for a few months. Both accidents exacerbated his pre-existing thoracic outlet syndrome, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis for approximately two months. His ability to work as a mechanic was not impaired by his injuries. He was awarded $40,000 in general damages.
Nilsson v. Mather, 2008 NBQB 65
- The plaintiff, a 34-year-old call centre employee, suffered injuries when the defendant made a U-turn into her path of travel, causing a collision. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was off work as a result of a prior surgery. After the accident, she was transported to the hospital by ambulance where she was diagnosed with Grade 2 whiplash, post-traumatic stress disorder, reactive depression, chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia-like syndrome, and temporomandibular disorder. She was left with pain, numbness, and tingling in her hands and feet, and jaw pain. She also developed symptoms of anxiety and depression, and her sleep was interrupted. She was awarded $45,000 in general damages.
Grundy v. Boudreau, 2006 NSSC 223
- The 32-year-old plaintiff suffered injuries when his vehicle was struck from behind, pushing his vehicle into the car ahead. He had suffered a Grade 2 whiplash, which caused him to develop headaches, stiffness in his neck, and a tingling sensation under his chin and over both cheeks. The plaintiff had a long medical history, both physically and psychologically, including a possible personality disorder. He failed to mitigate his damages by failing to follow recommendations of his health care specialists. Accordingly, it was appropriate to reduce his general damages award by 25%. After reducing by 25%, he was awarded $45,000 in general damages.
Cormier v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co., 2005 NBQB 482
- The 29-year-old plaintiff suffered a whiplash-type injury following a motor vehicle accident. She experienced pain in her left neck, left shoulder, left arm, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and some tingling and numbness in her fingertips. This was expected to resolve with treatment. She received $35,000 in general damages.
Berthier v. Horton, 2003 NSSC 198
- The plaintiff, a 47-year-old office manager, suffered a whiplash type injury when her car was struck from behind. She received treatment from her family doctor and underwent physiotherapy treatments for a number of months. She did not improve, and consequently developed chronic pain syndrome. At the time of trial, she was not able to enjoy the life that she did prior to the accident. The court held that the plaintiff failed to mitigate her damages by not seeking medical attention. She was awarded $45,000 in general damages.
- The 21-year-old university student suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and back in a motor vehicle accident. At the time of the trial, she was still experiencing considerable discomfort, but her studies and career plan were not interrupted. In addition to that injury, she suffered an exacerbation of her pre-existing temporomandibular joint disorder. The plaintiff took over-the-counter pain medication and was required to wear a maxillary anterior guided orthotic. While not disfiguring, the orthotic was noticeable and was a cause of self-consciousness for plaintiff. She was awarded $12,000 in general damages for the whiplash injury and $48,000 for the TMJ injury.
Miller v. Folkertsma Farms Ltd., 2001 NSCA 129
- The plaintiff, an assistant bank manager who was 46 years old at the time of the accident, suffered a whiplash injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident. She commenced a course of physiotherapy following the accident. She missed about 3 months of work. She continued to complain of neck pain, muscle spasms, headache, non-restorative sleep and fatigue. She had planned to work until she was 65 years old, but was unlikely to work past the age of 60 because of her injuries. She was awarded $45,000 in general damages.
Have questions for our team?
MacGillivray Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We serve clients all across Canada.
If you cannot travel to one of our offices, we will accommodate your circumstances and travel needs. We can provide a consultation by phone, Zoom, or FaceTime, or travel to meet you in your home when required.
If you would like to learn your legal options at no obligation, contact us today to set up a free consultation.