Frequently Asked Questions: Personal Injury

What amount of compensation could be recovered by a civil action?

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.

What damages can be recovered for fatal injuries?

Where the injury is fatal, pecuniary damages can be awarded for: 

  • travel and accommodation expenses incurred in visiting the patient between the time of the injury and death

  • fees for grief counseling provided for the benefit of the patient’s spouse, adult interdependent partner, parent, child, brother, or sister
  • expenses for the funeral and disposal of the patient’s body

  • loss of financial support and household services to the patient’s dependents (or, for deaths that occurred before November 1, 2002, loss of income to the patient’s estate)


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:

  • To the spouse or adult interdependent partner of the deceased; or to the parents of the deceased:

    ◦ $82,000.00 or $49,000.00.




Does interest accrue for damages?

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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