25 Jul Loss of Income for the Self-Employed

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, your ability to work may be affected.  Depending on who your employer is, the amount of your lost wages or loss of future income may be relatively easy to calculate.  However, these amounts can be a more complicated to quantify when a person is self-employed.

In Smith v. Evashkevich, 2016 BCSC 1228, Mr. Smith was injured while he was a passenger in a vehicle that was rear-ended.  After the collision, he suffered from neck, back and shoulder pain, anxiety, depression and headaches.  This negatively affected his work and recreational activities.

Mr. Smith worked in his family’s business.  His father owned clothing stores and he planned to take over when his father retired.  Although his injuries negatively affected his work, his father still increased his salary.  However, his father was concerned that his son might now be unable to take over the business.

Mr. Smith claimed damages for future loss of earning capacity.  He argued that his ongoing injuries negatively impacted his ability to earn future income on the basis of the capital asset approach.  The Courts may apply this approach when there is a loss “not measurable in a pecuniary way”.  In other ways, it cannot be simply calculated.

The Court recognized that Mr. Smith’s only work experience was in the family business.  His father was also injured in the collision and the economic downturn had negatively affected the business.  If the business closed, the Court recognized that Mr. Smith’s limitations would negatively impact him if he had to compete for work in the open market.  The Court awarded him $40,000 for this head of damage.

At Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota, we have many clients who are self-employed.  We understand that it can be difficult to quantify their financial losses following a motor vehicle accident.  We work with economic experts to ensure that our client’s financial losses are presented fully and clearly to the Courts.