What exactly is a “Personal Injury”?
According to Google, the definition of personal injury is ‘physical injury inflicted on a person’s body, as opposed to damage to property or reputation’. This is a somewhat vague description. When asked, a lawyer will define it as something like, ‘an accident that causes you injury; pain and suffering, as well as loss of income.’
While Google’s definition is quite broad, Wikipedia’s definition of a ‘personal injury lawyer’ explains what a personal injury is a little more clearly. “A lawyer who provides legal representation to those who claim to have been injured, physically or psychologically, as a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, company, government agency, or other entity.”
To date, there has been no legal definition for personal injury set in Ontario, so there is no definitive description available for those trying to classify their injuries. It is frustrating enough dealing with a personal injury, only to discover that it is difficult to find any thorough information online.
To help, we have compiled a quick overview of how personal injury claims work in Ontario.
A Personal injury may happen due to:
- Car accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian or Cyclist Accidents
- Trip/Slip and Fall
- Animal Attack/Bite
- Medical Malpractice
Injuries may include:
Brain injury, spine injury, burns, broken bones, lacerations, and contusions.
And/or emotional, psychological injuries:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of Companionship (wrongful death)
- Diminished quality of life
Personal Injury Law in Ontario
If I suffer an injury on private property, what is the owner responsible for?
Owners are responsible for providing a “safe” environment to both invited and uninvited guests as soon as they purchase the property. They must properly inform of any hazards present on the property and take the precautions required to prevent injury, or at the extreme, death.
If you are injured on private property and can prove negligence, the owner may be held liable for any damages.
TORT – Premises Liability Law
A special section of Canada’s TORT law focuses on the property owner’s obligation to provide a safe environment and high standard of care to each guest. If you have invited guests over, they are protected under the highest standards of the law.
According to premises liability law, you must inspect the house and resolve any potential safety threats before your guests arrive. If for some reason you cannot repair the problem, you must warn your guests or risk being held liable should an injury occur.
“Licensees” also have rights under TORT law. As they visit a property to benefit from rendering a good or service, the property owner is only obligated to fix any obvious hazards to avoid being held liable for any injuries. For example, a loose wire is an obvious hazard, whereas a carbon dioxide leak is not.
How do I make a personal injury claim and what does it cover?
In order to hold someone accountable to premises liability, you will need proof of their negligence. In other words, proof that the property owner breached the law by failing to repair all safety hazards in time.
It can be difficult proving a personal injury case, so it is recommended that you seek advice from a personal injury lawyer who is experienced helping victims in different personal injury situations provide proof of negligence.
If you have suffered a personal injury and are making a claim against the liable party, you may be entitled to:
- Recovery of lost income and loss of earning ability
- Accident benefits and benefits from other sources such as workplace disability plans will be subtracted from the court awards.
Recovery for health-care expenses is available to people who have sustained permanent serious disfigurement, or whose personal injuries are deemed to be a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental, or psychological function.
What is meant by “Verbal Threshold”?
To sue for pain and suffering, the personal injury must result in death, permanent disfigurement, or permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental, or psychological function. This is referred to as the “verbal threshold”.
Loss of Guidance, Care, and Companionship
Where the personal injuries of accident victims meet the “verbal threshold”, family members may be eligible to sue for loss of guidance, care, and companionship under the Family Law Act.
Pain and Suffering
Seriously injured accident victims whose personal injuries meet a legislated “verbal threshold” test may sue for pain and suffering, which is a non economic loss.
Read our personal injury overview for more personal injury claim information and advice.