Is a plaintiff entitled to claim for lost income as a result of her injuries?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from J.J. v Barton, 2017 BCSC 1196 (CanLII):

In Rowe v. Bobell Express Ltd., 2005 BCCA 141 at paras. 30-31, the court explained that a claim for what is often described as past loss of income is actually a claim for past loss of earning capacity — a claim for the lost value of work that the injured plaintiff would have performed but for her injuries — which may be valued in different ways: for example, by actual earnings the plaintiff would have received, by a replacement cost evaluation of tasks that the plaintiff is now unable to do, by an assessment of reduced company profits, or by a shared family income loss.

It is beyond dispute that the plaintiff experienced a near-total loss of income earning capacity in the year or so after the accident, giving rise to a hypothetical pecuniary loss that must be assessed on the basis of relative likelihood: see Smith v. Knudsen, 2004 BCCA 613 at paras. 36-37. I will say at the outset that I consider it likely, at the very least, that the plaintiff would have carried on working at the cheese processing plant whenever she had time. The manager of the facility testified that she was a valued worker who could have taken as many shifts as she wanted.

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