Judge awards young woman $425,000 for her loss of future earnings due to her inability to pursue a law enforcement career

Ms. Bains was 27 when she was injured in a car accident in 2013. She was interested in finding a career as a law enforcement officer. This would have required her to pass challenging strength & endurance testing.

She claimed at trial 4 years later that she was no longer able to do this work due to her ongoing injuries & limitations.

 

At trial, Ms. Bains claimed that she still suffers from headaches & pain in her neck, shoulder, back & knee.

 

Ms. Bains’ lawyer hired a functional capacity evaluator to assess her ability to perform various physical tests. She concluded that Ms. Bains:

  • may require modified job duties because of her limitations,
  • could not physically perform a job that requires prolonged sitting, standing, walking, bending, pulling, pushing, or lifting, &
  • could not perform the work of a law enforcement official.

 

Functional testers do not predict the future. That is the job of medical experts. As is exceedingly common in these cases, the medical experts of each side differed greatly in their prognoses.

 

According to the:

  • orthopaedic surgeon ICBC hired,
    • there is a good chance she will fully recover from her knee injury with physiotherapy,
  •  specialist Ms Bains’ lawyer hired, a physical & rehabilitation medicine specialist,
    • she will likely continue to suffer from chronic neck, shoulder & back pain.

 

Madame Justice Young concluded that Ms. Bains:

  • had reduced physical capacity since her MVA,
  • had to work fewer hours in her current job as a registration clerk because of her injuries, &
  • her future loss of earnings in her current job would be $259,227.

 

However, the judge decided that:

  •  the chances of Ms. Bains becoming a law enforcement officer absent her MVA were about 50%,
  • she did not have the physical strength required for a career in law enforcement before the accident,
  • there are similar jobs available to her now that are not physically demanding, such as a parole officer,

and, very importantly:

  • she did not exaggerate her symptoms when she was on the witness stand &
  • she was not a malingerer (one who pretends her illness in order to avoid work or other duties).

 

In light of all this, the judge awarded Ms Bains $450,000 for her loss of future earnings.

 

The judge also awarded Ms. Bains:

  • $95,000 for her pain & suffering,
  • $25,000 for her past loss of earnings &
  • $48,105 for the cost of her future care.

 

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