Usually, there is no amount of damages that could be recovered to adequately compensate for the results of personal injury, particularly when the patient is severely or fatally injured. The amount of damages recovered by a judgment is limited by principles of the common law, and in some cases by legislation. The actual amounts of damages awarded at trial are based on agreements between the parties, or are determined by the trial judge on the basis of evidence presented at trial.
In many actions, counsel for the plaintiff and counsel for the defendant negotiate a settlement, based on their combined assessments, on the probability of the plaintiff obtaining judgment, and the amount of damages that would likely be awarded by the judgment. In other actions, the settlement is reached by mediation conducted by a mediator, or by judicial dispute resolution conducted by a judge.
Where the injury is fatal, pecuniary damages can be awarded for:
The Alberta Fatal Accidents Act provides that damages can be awarded for grief, and loss of guidance, care and companionship of the deceased (without evidence of damage) as follows:
Pursuant to the Judgment Interest Act, interest is almost always awarded on non-pecuniary damages for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, loss of the ability to perform household services, and on pecuniary damages for expenses that have been incurred and for past loss of income and household services.
The interest is calculated at the rate of 4% per year on non-pecuniary damages and at the rate prescribed by regulation on pecuniary damages. The interest is not compounded.
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