This case affirms, despite what ICBC says to claimants without lawyers, an award for loss of future earning capacity is available in soft tissue injury cases in which claimants have suffered little or no loss of income: Hu v. Tan,2016 BCSC 908. The Supreme Court was convinced this personal injury claimant would not have considered retiring early had it not been for the whiplash injuries in the car accident concluding she would lose the last three years of her work life.
The injury claimant stopped at a stop sign near B.C. Place in Vancouver, waiting to turn left onto Pacific Boulevard, previously known as Terry Fox Drive. As the claimant was looking right to check for oncoming traffic, she was hit from behind by a sedan. The other driver testified the collision was minor.
Despite the accident did not take any time off work and continued with her normal work duties. She did, however, ask for assistance lifting any heavy boxes.
The medical evidence established the claimant suffered a soft tissue injury in the accident and continues to suffer with whiplash, neck, shoulder, and back pain.
The claimant used to like work and was happy while doing so. At trial she said after the accident she found work to be a burden and does not think she can make it to 67. This is corroborated by the medical expert who is of the opinion she will not be able to complete her employment to age 67, “the usual age of retirement, due to her injuries, coupled with the aging process.”As the judge stated:
 [the claimant], presently 41 years old, has been very stoical about the increase in her pain at work. She testified she loved working and had planned to work until age 67 but for the collision. In my view, the defendant is using [the claimant]’s stoicism in continuing to work to penalize her.
 I find therefore [the claimant] would not have considered retiring early, had it not been for the collision. I conclude it is reasonable to find [the claimant] will lose the last three years of her work life, for a present day value of $81,240
Personal injury lawyers in BC however need to be aware that there must be a real and substantial possibility of a future event leading to an income loss. IN this case it was early retirement.
The court summarized the personal injury award as follows:
|Pain and Suffering||$90,000.00|
|Future loss of income earning capacity||$81,240.00|
|Future cost of care||$192,933.00|
|Out of Pocket Expenses||$1,530.20|