Pain and suffering damages are also sometimes referred to as “non-pecuniary damages” or “non-economic damages”. Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate injured people for their loss of enjoyment of life. Anyone in Canada who is injured due to the negligence of another party is entitled to pain and suffering damages from the party who injured them. When deciding how much to award, judges will take into account what other judges awarded in similar cases. If a case is decided by a jury, the jury must decide the amount to award without reference to other cases. Pain and suffering damages in Canada were capped at $100,000 in the year 1978 by the Supreme Court of Canada. The cap varies with inflation and equates today to almost $400,000. People who have suffered catastrophic life altering injuries cannot be awarded more than the amount of the cap. People who have suffered less significant injuries are awarded lesser amounts for pain and suffering.
It is important to remember that although there is a limit on pain and suffering damages in Canada, there is no limit on the amount that can be awarded for past income loss, future income earning capacity loss, out of pocket expenses, and future care.