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Ask Our Car Accident Lawyers: Is There a Deductible on Pain and Suffering Awards?

When it comes to insurance claims, most people are familiar with the concept of a deductible. If the loss or damage in question is covered by your insurance policy, the deductible is the amount that you must pay in the event of a claim. You are responsible for the deductible, and your insurance covers the rest.  


Vehicle damage claims likely came to your mind when thinking about deductibles. But did you know that there is also a deductible that applies to the damage award for pain and suffering following a car accident? There is—and it is hefty. Here’s what you need to know.  


Damages for pain and suffering  


deductible pain and suffering

If you’ve been seriously hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s fault or negligence, you have the legal right to bring a personal injury lawsuit against them. In your lawsuit, you claim compensation for different types of damages such as lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, and your pain and suffering.  


Damages for pain and suffering—which are also known as general damages or “non-pecuniary” damages—are to compensate you for the physical and psychological pain and loss of enjoyment of life you suffered because of the accident injuries.  


Deductible on damages for pain and suffering 


In recent years, the Ontario government changed the provisions of the Insurance Act with respect to deductibles. It imposed a deductible on non-pecuniary damage awards that increases every year, to the benefit of auto insurance companies and the detriment of accident victims. The purpose of the deductible is to reduce costs for auto insurers, but as you will see, it robs accident victims of the full value of their claims.  


Amount of the deductible in 2024 

The deductible on damages for pain and suffering is a whopping $46,053.20. That deductible applies to any non-pecuniary damage award made between January 1, 2024 and December 31, 2024. The deductible increases every year to adjust for inflation. As far as our team of car accident lawyers know, this is the highest such deductible in the world.  


How the pain and suffering deductible works  

The deductible applies to the award of non-pecuniary damages. So, for example, if a judge or jury awards you $60,000.00 for pain and suffering for a severe whiplash injury that leaves you partially disabled, you will receive just $13,946.80. If you are awarded damages just higher than the deductible, you essentially end up with zero compensation for your pain and suffering.  


Here’s where it gets really scary: if you’re awarded damages for pain and suffering that are less than the deductible, you recover none of the damage award and you may be on the hook to pay the legal fees and disbursements incurred by the insurance company to defend the claim. Worse still: your personal injury lawyer is not allowed to tell the jury about the deductible. The jury is kept in the dark and has no idea of the hidden injustice.  


Ontario’s “Vanishing Deductible Limit” 


If you are severely injured and your pain and suffering award exceeds a certain threshold, the deductible is waived. The monetary threshold also increases year-by-year. For 2024, the threshold (a.k.a. the “vanishing deductible limit”) is $153,509.39. So, the deductible does not apply at all if your non-pecuniary damage award exceeds $153,509.39.  


How to protect yourself and maximize your claim 


The deductible creates a lot of risk for accident victims, but you should not let it stop you from pursuing the financial compensation you deserve. It’s highly recommended that you reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer for help with your claim.  


One of our skilled car accident lawyers can evaluate the dollar value of your claim based on the severity of your injuries, allowing you to make an informed decision about how to proceed. We can also help build your case and negotiate strongly on your behalf to demonstrate the full extent of your pain and suffering, thereby achieving the highest possible award.  


GET TRUSTED ADVICE FROM A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER 


Our experienced team of car accident lawyers is committed to representing our clients with the utmost professionalism and dedication. Let us help you navigate the legal system so you can focus on your recovery. 


​Please either call our office or complete this form for a free consultation. Our team meets every Monday morning to review all new potential cases. If your needs are urgent, please call 705-945-8901 or 1-800-309-4445 and speak to one of our accident intake specialists.   

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