In this loss of farm earning capacity car accident case(Verge v. Chan,2012 BCSC 876) the claimant’s vehicle was hit head-on at the intersection of Summit Drive and Chilcotin Crescent in Kelowna. The injury claimant suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck and back, a fractured right talus, bruising to and pain in her chest, and pain in her left shoulder, both knees, and hip. At the time of the trial she continued to suffer from her ankle injury, sleep disturbance, headaches, stress, anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder,  depression and chronic pain.
Her and her spouse owned a farm and she played a significant role in the farm operations.  She kept 35 chickens, and assisted feeding the horses and cows in the evenings and on weekends.  She also assisted with the moving of irrigation pipes in the fields during the growing and summer season in the evenings and on weekends.  She assisted  building fences and with many other jobs about their property.  She kept a vegetable garden which was used for family consumption.
In addition, she worked full time at a job as a receptionist.   Notwithstanding her rigorous work schedule, the evidence established she enjoyed her rural lifestyle.
In making an award of $125,000.00 for loss of farm earning the judge commented,

[84] In my view, this case engages the capital asset approach discussed in Brown v. Golaiy (1985), 26 B.C.L.R. (3d) 353 at para. 8 (S.C.).  It is clear Ms. Verge meets the criteria:  she has been rendered less capable of earning income overall as a result of the accident; she is less marketable as an employee as a result of her ankle injury; she has lost the ability to take advantage of all job opportunities which were formerly open to her; and she is less valuable to herself as a person capable of earning income in a competitive labour market…

[91] I conclude Ms. Verge is entitled to compensation for loss of future earning capacity in two areas:  loss of future farm earning capacity and future loss of earning from employment.  There will be some deductions for future contingencies.

The court made the following personal injury award:

Pain and Suffering $125,000.00
Past loss of earnings/Farm labour $45,000.00
Loss of future earning capacity  
– Loss of farm earning capacity $125,000.00
– Loss of future income from employment $100,000.00
Costs of future care $82,367.00
Out of pocket expenses $4,257.39
TOTAL $481,624.39

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness B.A., LL.B.

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