You do not have to be totally disabled from work to make a claim for wage losses in a personal injury lawsuit. In this recent case from the Supreme Court of British Columbia, a lawyer who continued to work full time hours was given an award of $375,000 for Future Income Loss:
Here, the courts found that after being injured in multiple car accidents and, as a result, suffering from chronic pain syndrome and psychological injury, the plaintiff, although able to work full time, would be unable to work at full capacity and at risk of retiring earlier than normal. The issue was although the plaintiff was working full time, when he did work, he was not able to do so with the same intensity as before.
Many of my clients do not realize that significant claims for wage loss (both past and future) can be made despite not actually missing work. When negotiating with ICBC it is important to not only take into account what you have lost but what you might lose in the future. As it is impossible to predict how an injury will progress in the future, a claim should never be settled too early. You should not settle your personal injury claim until significant time has passed to get some idea of how your injuries will progress into the future. The four factors the courts will look at when assessing a claim for future income loss are:
- whether the plaintiff has been rendered less capable overall from earning income from all types of employment;
- whether the plaintiff is less marketable or attractive as an employee to potential employers;
- whether the plaintiff has lost the ability to take advantage of all job opportunities which might otherwise have been open to him, had he not been injured; and
- whether the plaintiff is less valuable to himself as a person capable of earning income in a competitive labour market.
This law extends awards for income loss to not only a plaintiff’s present job but jobs they may take in the future. Even though an injured party is able to continue working in their current role, if they may be limited in future roles, they are entitled to compensation for this impairment.