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POL- Oct8.doc

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Western University
Philosophy 2080
Jeannie Gillmore

How do you pick a number for non-pecuniary damages? -Judges pick an arbitrary number that they feel is appropriate -Damages are awarded based on present circumstances (i.e. not based on possible cures, possible job loss, etc) -Numbers a lot higher in the United States than in Canada -Money based on principles of law as presently established “No fault insurance”: a no-fault insurer gives you financial support while waiting for trial Purpose of damages in negligence/tort law: to put the plaintiff in a situation similar to what they were before the incident; to compensate Case Study: Andrews vs. Grand and Toy -21 year old man in accident where he suffered injuries crippling him for life; court deemed him almost entirely disabled, still has all mental function -Andrews won a significant award at trial, but defendant appealed to the court on the basis that the plaintiff could receive hospital care at a significantly lower cost than home care. -Appellant court agreed that home care would be much better for the plaintiff, but since it is the choice of the respondent to live in his own home it is considered a “luxury”, not a necessity. -Damages are calculated based on established loss. Can not base damages based on what he could do with it (i.e. trip to Vegas?) -Insurance proceeds are available, so financial sources are not an issue -“Is it reasonable to be compensated to be put in a position that the plaintiff would enjoy?” (i.e. home care) -On the appeal, Andrew’s award was reduced from $4000 a month to $1000. Contingencies: things that may or may not happen that might save the defendant money (i.e. plaintiff might die early), and so reduce the damages by a percentage; arbitrary -Original damages were accepted, and the plaintiff was allowed the $4000 to live in his home, but contingencies were still allowed Non Pecuniary Damages -Conceptual approach: “a thumb is worth $500…” etc -Personal approach: taking a person’s situation into account “a trumpet player would suffer more from a lost thumb, so they get more money…” -Money is not meant to replace happiness, but is meant to provide solace for the person suffering the loss -Cap in Canada
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