06 Mar A Tradesman’s Reputation Has a Dollar Value

A tradesman’s reputation has value. It leads to job opportunities and repeat business. However, a tradesman’s reputation can quickly change if they are no longer able to do quality work. 

In a physically demanding trade, one of the biggest reasons for a decrease in workmanship is a person’s health and well being. And as seen in the case below, a car accident can change one’s health, resulting in potential financial losses which ICBC may deny. 

 In Larsen v. Moffett, 2015 BCSC 222, the plaintiff was a skilled painter and dry waller. The Plaintiff obtained his work through bidding and competing with other contractors, and generally worked on a fixed-price basis. However, he had built up a reputation as a highly skilled tradesman and although he hired others to help him with his projects from time to time, a number of his customers wanted his skill rather than the skill of his employees. 

 The plaintiff was involved in two motor vehicle accidents and suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck, shoulder and back, as well as headaches. As a result, his workmanship decreased.  He was unable to work the same number of hours or perform the heavy work he did before the two accidents. 

 At trial, the plaintiff’s co-workers testified that the plaintiff could no longer physically or economically compete with his competitors.  He had become known as someone who struggled with his work and so only smaller, less demanding projects were available to him.  As such, the plaintiff claimed he would not be able to earn as much money in the future as he had before the accidents. The Defendant, ICBC, took the position that there was no justification for this or, in the alternative, a modest award was appropriate.

The judge found that as a result of the accident, the plaintiff was less capable from earning income from all employment, was less marketable as an employee, had lost job opportunities that were available to him before the accidents and was less valuable to himself and as a person capable of earning income in a competitive market.

The judge found the plaintiff’s loss of future earning capacity to be $285,845.00 

We have been working hard to get this head of damage recognized as far back as 2007 in the case of Adamson v. Charity, 2007 BCSC 671. That case was unusual because the plaintiff had very little reported income. However, we were able to get Mr. Adamson an award of $925,000.00 under this head of damage.