Judge awards $150,000 for loss of future earning capacity

Mr. Grewal was a mobile security guard who was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Langley. He sustained severe injuries. They included broken ribs, chest abrasions and chronic pain in his shoulders and knees. He also experienced recurring bouts of depression. Mr. G finally went to trial for compensation for his injuries eight years after his accident.

As a result of the accident, Mr. G took 6 months off of work. He gradually returned to work sporadically; but his employers testified that he was not capable of being a mobile security guard. His hours were cut back; so his gross annual income in the years after the accident was minimal.

In 2013 Mr. G. decided to switch career paths and trained online to become a financial advisor. He was employed as an advisor briefly before the company he worked for went bankrupt. He had not worked in the 18 months prior to his trial date.

On July 3, 2015 Mr. Justice Masuhara released his reasons for judgment in Vancouver. The judge found that the claimant’s desire and motivation to become a financial advisor was very clear to him. He concluded that there was a real and substantial possibility that Mr. G would eventually have had a successful career as a financial advisor absent his accident.
The judge was assisted by an expert report from a labour economist commissioned by the claimant’s lawyer. He detailed the projected earnings of a BC man earning the average income over a career as a financial advisor. Based in part on these projections, the judge awarded Mr. G $150,000 for his loss of future earning capacity.

Loss of future earning capacity awards are given to claimants who lose at least some ability to work in the future where this will be reflected in the reduced amount they will earn. Even though Mr. G decided to become a financial advisor after his accident, the judge was satisfied that this would have been his chosen career path and awarded damages based in part on the average earnings of a financial advisor. This was a good outcome for Mr. G because if the judge had awarded damages based on the projected earnings of a security guard, it is likely that the claimant’s compensation would have been much lower.

See Grewal v Naumann, 2015 BCSC 1147