How is pain and suffering calculated?
People often refer to pain and suffering as a type of damage that they might receive in a personal injury lawsuit. Another term for pain and suffering is general damages. The reason it is referred to as general damages is because it is meant to generally compensate a person who suffered an injury for the loss of amenities of life and other inconveniences that they have to endure because of their injuries.
In Canada and in Ontario, the Supreme Court of Canada set a cap meaning a limit or maximum on the amount of pain and suffering that anybody can receive in a personal injury claim. They set that cap at $100,000 almost forty years ago. This amount has been adjusted for inflation since then and now stands at around $350, 000 as the maximum anyone can ever receive for pain and suffering.
So if you imagine the most seriously of injured persons, catastrophic brain injury or lost limbs, they may receive the maximum or somewhere close to the maximum and then moving down depending on the injury, general damages or pain and suffering damage awards tend to keep going down.
A lot of people think that damage awards in the United States are out of control because of million-dollar damage awards. The main reason for that is because many States in the United States do not put a cap or maximum amount on general damages (or pain and suffering damages)and as a result judges and juries can award much more than what we conservatively award in Canada at a maximum of about $350,000.