This BC Court of Appeal case reiterates the distinction between loss of earnings and loss of earning capacity(Ibbitson v. Cooper, 2012 BCCA 249) in BritishColumbia personal injury cases:
While in many cases the actual lost income will be the most reliable measure of the value of the loss of capacity to earn income, this is not necessarily so. A hard and fast rule that actual lost income is the only measure would result in the erosion of the distinction made by this Court in Rowe: it is not the actual lost income which is compensable but the lost capacity i.e. the damage to the asset. The measure may vary where the circumstances require; evidence of the value of the loss may take many forms (see Rowe). As was held in Rosvold v. Dunlop, 2001 BCCA 1 at para. 11, 84 B.C.L.R. (3d) 158, the overall fairness and reasonableness of the award must be considered taking into account all the evidence. An award for loss of earning capacity requires the assessment of damages, not calculation according to some mathematical formula.(paragraph 19, Garson J.A.)
The injury claimant was a helicopter logging faller and was driving home from work in Prince George when he was broadsided by a car that run a stop sign . The claimant’s pickup truck was pushed into the opposing traffic and hit head-on by an oncoming tractor. The claimant provided a statement to ICBC mentioning pain in his neck and down his back. He also filled out an ICBC Accident Benefit Application form stating he had pain in his upper back, neck, chest, knees.
In assessing compensation the trial judge awarded the claimant $125,000 for loss of income earning capacity divided into $105,000 for past and $20,000 for future earning capacity.The claimant could not continue to work as a heli-faller because of the accident. Apart from the three months following the accident, he continued working in the forestry industry. He worked as a heavy equipment operator. He was successful in replacing his income but it required him to work longer shifts at a lower hourly rate.
The Court of Appeal upheld the award finding that the claimant had clearly suffered as a result of the accident as he can no longer perform the job he was engaged in prior to the accident, although he suffered no income loss. Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness B.A. LL.B.