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What Happens If Your Injuries Affect Your Ability To Advance In Your Career?

When a Langley car accident injury victim is badly hurt they suffer emotional and physical pain. But what if they are hurt so badly their ability to earn money to support themselves and their loved ones is compromised?

Our Langley ICBC Personal Injury Lawyers routinely ensure Langley car accident injury victims get justice when dealing with ICBC. Our experienced and skilled Langley and Surrey ICBC personal injury lawyers can be reached at 604-576-5400.

Our Langley ICBC Personal Injury Lawyers Protect Your Career After A Car Accident

Lorne MacLean, QC founder of MacLean Personal Injury

Lorne MacLean, QC founder of MacLean Personal Injury

In the recent 2013 Supreme Court of British Columbia decision of Johal v Meyede, the plaintiff Lisa Johal, was a thirty-year-old woman who appeared to be ideally suited to the hospitality industry.

She had a warm and engaging personality together with a drive to succeed in her chosen career.

In 2007, the plaintiff became an employee of her current employer, working at a hotel in Vancouver.

It was apparent that her employer recognized the plaintiff’s attributes and she again received a series of quick promotions to become an assistant front office manager at the Vancouver hotel.

On December 6, 2010, the plaintiff’s car was rear-ended. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries mainly to her neck, right shoulder and right arm, resulting in significant pain and headaches.

For the most part the injuries and their sequelae had not resolved and it was highly probable that the plaintiff would suffer pain and headaches for the rest of her life.

In 2011, in order to further her career, the plaintiff sought a lateral transfer to one of her employer’s hotels in Ottawa.  The Ottawa hotel was new to her employer’s hotel chain and provided more opportunity for career advancement.  She started as an assistant front office manager and at the time of trial was currently the front office manager.

Prior to the accident, the plaintiff aspired to become the general manager of one of her employer’s hotels.  She still aspired to do so, but undoubtedly, as described below, the path was now more difficult and less certain.

In order to progress further to operations manager, and eventually general manager, the plaintiff would likely need to serve as the director of housekeeping.  This role was more demanding physically than the front office manager position.  For example, when the hotel is busy and a quick turnover is required, it is likely that the director of housekeeping will be stripping and making beds just like the others on his or her team.

The Plaintiff’s sought damages for her inability to advance in her career.

Our Langley ICBC Personal Injury Lawyers Summarize The Judge’s Reasons

In rendering his decision Mr. Justice Funt indicated the following:

As noted above, I have found that the plaintiff’s career path has been impaired.  As described by Dr. Caillier, the plaintiff has chronic neck, upper back and shoulder pain, coupled with headaches.  Also, as described above by Ms. Craig, the plaintiff’s limitations/abilities are:

Ms. Johal is limited to light with some capacity for medium strength demand tasks (lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling). Ms. Johal is limited for repetitive right upper extremity use at all levels, more significantly at upper levels.  She shows reduced tolerance to work intensive sitting, an essential job demand.  She is limited for reaching in stooped posture and in low level work postures. She does not tolerate weight bearing on the right upper extremity in a crawl position.

On the evidence, in order to become an operations manager and then a general manager of a hotel, the plaintiff would probably have had to serve as director of housekeeping, which is a more physically demanding job than her current position.

With her limitations, in my view, the plaintiff would have a significantly reduced chance of being hired by a competitor.  If hired, she would still be burdened by her limitations.

Using the economic multiplier provided by Mr. Benning and basing his findings on actuarial and economic contingencies associated with a woman of the plaintiff’s age, living in British Columbia, plaintiff’s counsel first calculated the present value of the lifetime earnings of a front office manager of the plaintiff’s age working until age 65 to be $1,023,062.

Our Langley ICBC Personal Injury Lawyers Explain “Capital Asset” Approach

In looking at the capital asset approach, I note that the four key factors listed by Justice Finch (as he then was) in Brown v. Golaiy, [1985] B.C.J. No. 31, and cited with approval in Perren, are all readily met and would also be generally consistent with the award.  The four factors are:

1.      The plaintiff has been rendered less capable overall from earning income from all types of employment;

2.      The plaintiff is less marketable or attractive as an employee to potential employers;

3.      The plaintiff has lost the ability to take advantage of all job opportunities which might otherwise have been open to him, had he not been injured; and

4.      The plaintiff is less valuable to himself as a person capable of earning income in a competitive labour market.

With modification, Mr. Justice Funt adopted plaintiff’s counsel’s approach indicating the following:

“I will assign a larger percentage to other contingencies than he has done.  For example, it is possible that, even if healthy, the plaintiff would not achieve her career goal of becoming a general manager.

Similarly, there is some chance, and I am not optimistic, that the plaintiff, despite her health, will achieve her career goal.  I will use a one-third discount. Accordingly, the award is $611,000 ($916,433 x 0.6667 = $610,985.88 rounded).”

MacLean Personal Injury’s Langley ICBC Personal Injury Lawyers are immediately available to help you get the justice you deserve and to obtain a proper financial settlement that you and your family justly deserve.

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