In Quebec, a person who believes they have been wronged cannot sue unless they have suffered an injury. There are three possible types of injury: personal, moral and material.
In this article, our lawyers who specialize in representing healthcare system users provide an overview of two of the three types of injury: personal and moral.
What is personal injury?
Contrary to popular belief, the definition of personal injury is not limited to an attack on a person’s physical integrity. According to the Civil Code of Quebec, damaging a person’s psychological integrity can also be considered personal injury.
However, it’s important to note that an act must directly harm the victim’s physical or psychological integrity in order to be considered a personal injury. Simply affecting the victim’s health is not enough.
For example, intellectual property infringement and attacks on a person’s reputation are not considered personal injuries, regardless of the significant consequences they may have on the person’s physical and mental health. Rather, these are considered moral injuries.
Compensation for personal injury
You can be compensated for any current or future personal injury, as long as it is a certainty.
That being said, when a victim seeks help from a personal injury lawyer and decides to take their case to court, absolute certainty is not required. Generally, it’s enough for the victim to demonstrate that the personal injury they are seeking compensation for will most likely occur.
For personal injuries, victims can claim compensation for complications that are likely to arise due to the trauma they have suffered. For example, victims of medical malpractice may be able to get compensation for resulting complications that are likely to occur in the future and significantly impair their quality of life.
However, every situation is unique, and the potential for further personal injury must be evaluated on a case by case basis. The court will consider the evidence and make an assessment.
Pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages
A victim of personal injury can claim compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Pecuniary damages are generally easier to assess, because they have a monetary value that can be calculated fairly accurately. Pecuniary damages can include expenses such as the victim’s health care costs.
Here are some examples of pecuniary damages for personal injury:
- Medical expenses
- Cost of prescription medication
- Costs associated with retrofitting the victim’s home
- Transportation costs
- Loss of past and future income due to the injury
Assessing non-pecuniary damages can be much more complex, because their monetary value is difficult to quantify.
Here are some examples of non-pecuniary damages for personal injury:
- Physical and psychological suffering
- Aesthetic changes to the victim’s body
- Loss of the ability to enjoy life
As mentioned above, people often confuse moral injury with psychological damage resulting from personal injury. Here are a few clarifications to help you tell the two apart.
Moral injury is the term used to describe a pesonality rights violation. For example, a person’s reputation being damaged due to defamatory statements is considered moral injury, while emotional suffering following a dog bite constitutes personal injury.
Med Légal: asserting your rights after a personal injury
Has reading this article made you realize that you want to file a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation for the damage you have suffered? If so, we encourage you to contact us. Our firm offers a legal service dedicated specifically to personal injury and we are very familiar with this type of legal action.
If you are interested in law and justice, don’t hesitate to check out the blog section of our website for more information about the field!