An injury caused by a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, or other type of accident can have serious and far-reaching consequences on your life. In addition to the pain and suffering resulting from the injuries sustained in the accident that begin immediately or soon after the accident, there exists the possibility of long-term, chronic pain and impairment that can reach well into the future. If a negligent driver is to blame for an accident that causes injuries and impairment that affect work and income, or a negligent property owner or maintenance company failed in its duty to keep its property safe for visitors, and that failure resulted in a slip and fall accident causing injuries or impairment that affects one’s ability to work and earn income, then a legitimate claim for income loss – both past and future – may exist.
Injury claims include compensation for pain and suffering, but also for other damages that you suffer, including the loss of income you experienced because you could not work, and the loss of future income that will occur because of your ongoing injuries and decreased ability to work. The loss of earning capacity accounts for the loss in your ability to work and earn income, whereas past loss of income is the more readily observed loss of income that has occurred or continues to occur because you were not able to do the work that you would have done had you not been injured. The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed that victims of negligence are entitled to both of these kinds of losses.
For example, an individual is involved in a car accident and experiences neck and back injuries that render him or her unable to work. The individual loses out on days, weeks or months of work – this loss of income will be part of the claim for compensation. The individual might also develop chronic pain or otherwise become permanently impaired. In this case, the individual’s ability to earn income is forever diminished – he or she can no longer earn the same amount of income going forward into the future because the ongoing pain and impairment prevents him or her from working the same hours or with the same energy and intensity as they did before the accident. It may even completely prevent the person from working that same job. One thing is certain: ongoing pain and injuries equate to less productivity and less income.
If an accident causes an injury and you miss time from work, or you otherwise lose income because of an accident or the resulting injuries, you are entitled to compensation for the loss. Likewise, if an accident has resulted in injuries that have permanently impaired, or are likely to impair, your ability to work your pre-accident job in any way, you are also entitled to compensation for the loss of earning capacity and the loss of future income.
Insurance companies seem to be more inclined to provide compensation for past loss of income than for the loss of earning capacity. This is most likely for two reasons: 1. A loss of income claim is more easily proven than is a loss of earning capacity, and 2. A loss of earning capacity is often a much larger loss than the past loss, since years and even decades of future income have to be taken into account.
If you think you have a right to this type of compensation as a result of an accident, it is important to consult a lawyer to fully understand your claim and to obtain all of the compensation you deserve.