Claimant seriously injured at age 16 – judge challenged to value her loss of earning capacity over her lifetime

In order to do this, a judge uses a monetary award to put the claimant in a financial position as close as possible to what she would have been in absent her accident. This involves comparing her working life “absent the accident” to it “as a result of her accident”. This is no easy task with a young claimant who had not even completed secondary school when her accident occurred. The judge awarded Ms Ellis $730,000 for this category of her damages. 


In this case, the judge considered various educational & career options Ms Ellis would have had and will now have. 


He concluded that there was a real & substantial possibility that:

  • Ms E would have likely trained for a career in graphic design such as teaching it or obtaining a master’s degree in graphic design;
  • she will now be very restricted from occupations that require a significant physical component such as prolonged sitting or standing and
  • her chronic pain, anxiety, depression & lack of confidence mean she will likely not be able to fulfil her potential. 


It was very important for the judge to determine Ms E’s likely educational level absent her accident because a person’s level of education is very highly correlated with her lifetime income.


The judge also concluded that:

  • Ms E’s physical limitations makes her less employable to potential employers &
  • she has also lost potential job opportunities due to her reduced self-confidence.


After taking all these factors into account, the judge found $730,000 to be a fair and reasonable measure of Ms E’s loss of future earning capacity.


See: Ellis (Litigation guardian of) v. Duong, 2017 BCSC 459


And see:  “Judge awards $220,000 for pain & suffering for lifelong pain & PTSD” re Ms. Ellis at