The B.C. Supreme Court recently made comments and decided a case which reviewed the way some Courts consider the significance of a Plaintiff’s work history on claims for loss of earning capacity. In Riding-Brown v. Jenkins, 2014 BCSC 382, the Court provided a good analysis of the balance between past work history and the reasonableness of claims for future income/earnings losses.
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The plaintiff was injured while riding a bicycle that was hit by a motor vehicle which was driven by the defendant. The plaintiff suffered significant permanent orthopedic injuries, particularly to his left knee and tibia. He required several surgeries. He was left with a pronounced limp and ongoing persistent pain. At trial, the Judge found that the plaintiff’s injuries "materially compromised his enjoyment of life".
At trial, one of the contentious issues was the plaintiff’s claim for past and future loss of earning capacity. The plaintiff sought damages over 2 million. The defence believed the losses were closer to $400,000. At issue was the plaintiff’s pre-accident work and employment history.
The Court commented in its reasons that while the plaintiff was "clearly a person of considerable intelligence, charm and employability", his work history since high school was not impressive. The plaintiff was 32 at the time of trial and the trial Judge said that by that point "most young men of the Plaintiff’s potential are well settled in their career paths or working lives."
The Court concluded that the plaintiff’s claim for future earning loss was "grossly overstated" and awarded him $450,000 for loss of future earning capacity.
The Courts will look quite closely at a plaintiff’s past work and employment history as a predictor of likely future work and employment history and income earnings. Predicting future losses is a difficult task for any Judge. Every case must be decided on their own particular facts. It is important to be realistic when it comes to future losses claimed and past work and employment history will be considered when assessing claims for future loss of earning capacity.
If you have suffered injuries as a result of any accident and find yourself dealing with losses and unable to navigate yourself through the insurance system, contact one of our Ottawa accident and injury lawyers for a free consultation. Our lawyers work on a no fee until you win basis. Call us at 613-315-4878 or 613-563-1131.