UBC Faculty of Law: Law 433C.001

Personal Injury Law

The statistics for personal injury and trauma in Canada are daunting: most individuals will suffer a significant personal injury during their lifetime, injury is the leading cause of death for children and young adults, and injury is the dominant cause of disability for Canadians. 

Personal injury litigation continues to be prevalent and accounts for nearly 25% of all civil pleadings filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court.  With the number of motor vehicle actions slowly diminishing with the introduction of no-fault by ICBC, other types of personal injury civil actions are on the rise, including for medical malpractice, occupier’s liability, and historical sexual abuse. Personal injury is more than motor vehicle accident injury claims: it is the pursuit of justice for a vulnerable litigant of any kind who is injured or traumatized through the fault of another person or corporation.   

This course examines the structure of personal injury claims and is focused on personal injury advocacy. The first half of the course is devoted to an overview of personal injury claims, the different legislative regimes governing personal injury claims in Canada, the key elements of personal injury claims and the various categories of damages for personal injury claims (non-pecuniary damages, wage loss, future loss of earnings capacity, special damages, future cost of care, and punitive damages). 

The second half of the course focuses on case studies. Specifically, you will have an opportunity to meet real clients and walk through a real case from client intake to post-judgment. We will dedicate a class to each topic area, including motor vehicle, occupier’s liability, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse claims.  



Course Objectives

The course is designed to give students a thorough understanding of personal injury claims, to engage students in reading the relevant case law and drafting legal arguments to advance the interests of their client, and to develop the advocacy skills required in personal injury claims. 

By the end of the course, students should understand:

  • The relevant statutes and key judicial decisions governing personal injury claims in British Columbia and in other Canadian jurisdictions. 
  • The structure of a personal injury claim including the various heads of damage, the anatomy of a personal injury claim, and defences to a personal injury claim. 
  • The advocacy skills required to pursue a personal injury claim. 
  • The strong sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfilment that can be achieved in this area of practice.

Required Reading Materials

The following readings are required for LAW 433C.001 Topics in Tort Law: Personal Injury Advocacy. 

  • Case law distributed electronically. 
  • Select excerpts and paper distributed electronically


Course Evaluation

The course evaluation is comprised of two factors that are meant to ensure substantive knowledge, written advocacy and oral advocacy in personal injury claims. 

  • Final Exam (75%) 
  • Class Participation (25%): students will attend class, participate in class discussion, and email “weekly reflections” commenting on the lecture. 


We enclose the following information for students (current and prospective) regarding the Personal Injury Law course:

Lecture Notes & Reading