Edmonton legalizes Uber.

Although Uber is operating in several Canadian cities, Edmonton has become the first to actually legalize Uber. Under the new bylaw, which legalizes Uber, both Uber and the individual drivers will have several obligations.

  1. Uber will need provincially approved insurance;
  2. Uber must register as a broker for “private transportation providers”;
  3. Uber must pay annual fees totalling $70,000 and a fee of six cents per trip; and
  4. Uber drivers will need a Class 1, 2 or 4 licence, a criminal record check, a city-issued driver’s licence and an annual mechanical inspection of their vehicle.

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/the-ins-and-outs-of-what-council-passed-for-uber-and-the-taxi-industry

The above fees and requirements seem aimed at covering basic municipal costs and protecting the consumer. From the perspective of a personal injury lawyer, a proper insurance policy is especially important to passengers using a service like Uber, as your ability to collect on damages is typically limited to the size of the defendant’s insurance policy.

Where does this leave Vancouver? Currently, various municipalities in the Metro Vancouver area have expressed interest in allowing Uber to operate, but provincial laws prohibiting ride sharing prevent them from doing so. Things seem to be moving at a snail’s pace in British Columbia. In early December, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Langley Township councils voted to ask the provincial government to reconsider the laws prohibiting ride sharing. Uber has yet to also actually apply to operate in British Columbia.

http://www.vancouversun.com/some+cities+want+uber+licensed+province+says/11589377/story.html?__lsa=e5e1-598f

Perhaps Uber’s legalization in Edmonton will result in movement by both the provincial government and Uber towards legalization in the rest of Canada.

.

Future Costs of Care

Care costs can be one of the biggest financial worries to an injured party. The cost of even simple treatments, such as physiotherapy and massage therapy, has increased dramatically. These costs can be especially burdensome to someone who is limited in their ability to earn income. For someone with a long-term or permanent injury these expenses can continue long after their case is settled. Depending on the nature of the injury, these future care expenses can be an injured party’s largest losses. Injured parties may, therefore, be entitled to awards not only for past expenses but also for expenses they are likely to incur in the future.

A recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case awarded a plaintiff a large Cost of Future Care award:

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/16/00/2016BCSC0081.htm

Here, a plaintiff suffered a whiplash type injury, which eventually developed into chronic pain and led to various psychological injuries. The courts awarded the plaintiff costs that were deemed “reasonably necessary” costs necessary  to restore the plaintiff to their pre-accident condition to the extent that is possible. All costs had to be objectively justified by medical evidence. The plaintiff, who was likely to suffer from ongoing physical and psychological injuries well into the future, was awarded $200,000 for Cost of Future Care.

The judge in this case relied heavily on the evidence of expert witnesses who stated the plaintiff required various forms of treatment to treat his ongoing injuries. This illustrates the importance of ensuring you have effective counsel who will pick and fund the retention of these medical experts.

Courts award an injured party Future Wage Losses even though his earnings increased.

The issue of future wage losses is a complicated one. It involves an assessment of future events that may or may not occur. The courts have typically quantified this head of damage by basing claims on events that have a “real and substantial possibility” of occurring.

The courts dealt with this issue in a recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case:

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/sc/15/02/2015BCSC2491.htm

This case involved a 37 year old power line technician who had been diagnosed with chronic lower back pain. After a brief period off work, the plaintiff in this case was not only able to continue working but had actually secured a new and higher paying position. His current and former employers all had excellent things to say about his work performance. The courts found the plaintiff’s ability to work was the result of his “stoic attitude to employment” and that he should not be punished for continuing to work.

The courts did find that the plaintiff did have a real and substantial possibility of having to retire three years early, and there was a 25% chance of this happening. They calculated the present value of his wage and reduced that award to 25%, to reflect the probability of the outcome actually occurring.

This case illustrates how complicated judging awards for future damages are, and why you should always have a competent and experienced personal injury lawyer represent you in any major personal injury claim. The calculation of wage losses is not a simple matter and requires an assessment of the entirety of a case and gathering multiple forms of evidence.

Compensation in personal injury cases for loss of housekeeping capacity.

Housekeeping and domestic work can be just as or more physically demanding than paid employment. Injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents can make this kind of work excruciating. Simple tasks, like scrubbing a bathtub or washing dishes, can become impossible if you’ve sustained even a moderate neck or back injury.

This work, although entirely necessary, is usually not compensated for financially. Many people, particularly those already under financial stress caused by a car accident and the resulting injuries, cannot afford to pay someone to perform these tasks for them, and ICBC will often refuse to compensate injured parties for the costs of cleaners and other paid helpers. As such, injured parties often turn to family and friends to help them with domestic tasks they are no longer able to perform on their own. There are a few ways to seek compensation for this, even if there is no actual economic loss.

An “In Trust” claim can be made for assistance provided by volunteers, such as family or friends, up to the date of a trial. This award will compensate for past losses. The courts have also recognized diminished “Housekeeping Capacity” as a legitimate head of damages, which is an award for future losses. The courts have not only compensated injured parties for future housekeeping costs in the form of estimated future expenses, but have also compensated injured parties where there are no actual economic losses. For example, where a re-organizing of domestic tasks occurs and other members of the household take on a bigger share of the domestic duties.

As stated in the case of O’Connell v. Yung:

“Accordingly, because the award reflects the loss of a personal capacity, it is not dependent upon whether replacement housekeeping costs are actually incurred.”