Cross Border Law
Request a Consultation 800-222-6332

Comparing Personal Injury Law in the US and Canada - A General Overview

In both the US and Canada, personal injury law, a subset of the law of Negligence, is based on the English system of Torts. While much of the procedural law governing personal injury litigation, including the types of damages recoverable, is controlled by the laws of individual states and provinces, the two countries share much of the same substantive law.

Notwithstanding there are some cases governed by strict liability (which will be discussed in a future blog), the law of Negligence requires a showing that a defendant owed a DUTY to someone to behave in a particular way, that the defendant BREACHED that duty by failing to act in that particular way, that such breach CAUSED someone to be injured, and that the person thereby incurred DAMAGES, either to his person or to his property. These four elements must be proven in every civil lawsuit involving personal injury, whether the lawsuit proceeds in the US or Canada.

For example, Driver Alan is proceeding down Broadway and crosses Pine Street on a green light. As he drives through the intersection, Driver Barbara, proceeding in the opposite direction down Broadway, suddenly turns left in front of him, causing Alan to smash his vehicle into her, and causing Alan himself to lurch forward, striking his head on the windshield in front of him. Alan suffers a brain injury and is no longer able to work as an accountant.

Whether on Broadway and Pine in Vancouver, BC or the same intersection in Seattle, WA, the elements which Alan must prove are the same-that Barbara owed other drivers a DUTY to heed the rules of the road, including yielding the right of way to a "favored" (US) or "dominant" (CDN) driver; that Barbara BREACHED that duty by turning her vehicle directly into the path of the oncoming driver; that, as a direct and foreseeable consequence of her action, Barbara CAUSED Alan to be injured and his vehicle damaged; and that Alan suffered DAMAGES, in this case including loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Schedule A Consultation

For many people, contacting a lawyer can seem like an intimidating task. At Cross Border Law, we make every effort to be approachable and personable. We understand the stress and worry that injured individuals face. Call or email either of our offices to schedule a free consultation.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an lawyer-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Our Vancouver Office

Our Vancouver office is located just five minutes from downtown, near Granville Island.

Vancouver Office
Suite 204-1730 West 2nd Ave
Vancouver, BC V6J 1H6

Toll Free: 800-222-6332
Phone: 604-742-4242
Fax: 604-742-4243
Vancouver Law Office Map

Seattle Office
3214 W. McGraw Street
Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98199

Phone: 206-858-9990
Fax: 206-858-9991
Map & Directions

Our Seattle Office

The Seattle office is located just 10 minutes from downtown, in the Magnolia Neighborhood.