Legal Guide

What is the Largest Personal Injury Claim in Canada?

While we often view our neighbours to the south as lawsuit-crazy, we Canadians believe in the power of the law as well. One of the ways that individuals engage with the legal system is through personal injury claims, usually, with the help of an injury law firm.

Personal injury law enshrouds many different instances, such as car accidents, workplace incidents, repetitive stress injuries, and many more. A typical personal injury case begins with the accusation that a responsible party did not act according to their best judgement or within the confines of the law. Settlements can vary from these cases and will often fluctuate depending on the specific circumstances of the suit.

However, overwhelmingly, there appears to be a case considered the precedent for large sum payouts. Below, you can learn about MacNeil v Bryan, the largest settlement involving a injury law firm in Canada.

The Plaintiff

The chief plaintiff in the case was a woman named Katherine-Paige MacNeil. At the time of the incident, she was only fifteen years old and riding in the back seat of a 1989 Ford Tempo when tragedy struck.

The driver of the vehicle, Trevor Bryan, went through a stop sign in the Adjala-Tosorontio Township north of Ontario, careening into a ditch and eventually coming to a stop in an open field. The vehicle was severely damaged, and the passengers also received injuries.

Katherine-Paige received severe injuries, including a skull fracture and multiple brain injuries. However, she was not the only plaintiff in the case. Her parents, Gordon and Katherine MacNeil, and her brother, Jamie, were also considered plaintiffs for the case because of the constant care they now needed to provide to Katherine-Paige.

The Defendant

The defendants in the case included Trevor Bryan, the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident, and his grandmother, Delores Dekoning, who owned the Ford Tempo. Additionally, the insurance companies for Delores, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company were part of the defending parties. Finally, the Province of Ontario, represented by the Minister of Transportation, rounded out the defence.

The Judgment

Throughout the multi-day hearing, the Honourable Justice P.H. Howden presided over the proceedings. Ultimately, the rulings were favourable for the plaintiffs, and their award was over $18.5 million in total compensation. Additionally, the judge ordered a 6% interest rate on the funds effective after the closing of the trial.

The payout for this case is unprecedented in Canada and remains the largest settlement of its kind ever since. Unfortunately, the family felt little happiness regarding the judgement as it would do nothing to restore their daughter's quality of life. For more information about the largest payouts from personal injury lawyers, look out for our upcoming post about the second-largest payouts. In this forthcoming article, you can learn about how a jury was involved in the decision to award a Toronto man with upwards of 15 million dollars for the injuries he received in a vehicle collision.

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