The injury claimant was an accounting student at the time of this head-on car accident(Pisani v. Pearce,2012 BCSC 1118). One of the key issues related to the extent her symptoms may impact her plan to become a chartered accountant.
The claimant was driving downtown Vancouver and was returning home to their mother’s home in Coquitlam. The claimant entered the intersection east bound on Como Lake Avenue at Porter Street in Coquitlam when suddenly she was struck by a west bound sport utility vehicle. Immediately before the head on collision the claimant braced herself on the steering wheel and slammed on the brakes. She felt her body jerk, the seat belt constrain her, and the air bags deploy.
She sustained soft tissue injuries to her shoulder, neck, and back and will likely suffer flare ups from time to time for the rest of her life.  Her medical expert stated  that her plan to become a chartered accountant was a good fit for her physical capacity but  prolonged use of a computer or sitting at her desk could cause flare ups of pain. The injury claimant therefore made a claim of $125,000 to $150,000 for loss of earning capacity. The judge did not think any employer will complain if she takes periodic breaks to stretch or that taking mini-breaks will affect her income earning ability. In denying her claim for loss of earning capacity the judge gave the following reasons:

[94]  While Ms. Pisani argues that the facts in Mayenburg are distinguishable, I find they are similar. Mr. Justice Myers stated in Mayenburg at paras. 54 to 58.

[54] The real question, therefore, is whether Ms. Mayenburg’s ability to earn income as an accountant or similar job is impaired.  I do not think that is the case.

[55]Ms. Dobbin’s finding with respect to sitting was based on testing Ms. Mayenburg in a sitting position over the course of two hours and 25 minutes in a non-supportive chair.  Furthermore, Ms. Mayenburg was able to sit in a classroom for two hour lectures.

[56]In the absence of evidence to the contrary I think I can assume – whether as a matter of judicial notice or common sense – that an accountant or similar professional is not tied to his or her seat for any fixed duration.  Ms. Mayenburg will be free to get up and stretch as she wishes.  Similarly, I do not think that a prospective accounting firm or similar employer would balk at hiring Ms. Mayenburg if she told them that she would have to get up and stretch periodically.

[57] Just as Ms. Mayenburg was able to complete her studies successfully, there is no reason to think that her injuries will impede her ability to be a successful accountant.  She might suffer some discomfort while performing her job, as she does when hiking and running, but that is what the general damages are meant to compensate.

[58] These comments apply with greater force to prospective self-employment as an accountant or similar professional.

[95]  I am not satisfied that there is a real and substantial possibility that she will suffer an income loss as a result of her injuries. I decline to make an award to Ms. Pisani under this head of damages.

The court went on to however to award  the claimant the following:

Pain and Suffering $80,000.00
Delayed Entry into the workforce $35,000.00
Loss of Housekeeping Capacity $5,000.00
Cost of Future Care $3,000.00
Out of pocket expenses $997.95
TOTAL $123,997.95

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

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